Resolutions don’t typically work, because making drastic changes are a set-up for failure. Small changes over time are the way to go, so we’ve reworked those so-called resolutions to make sure they last all the year through.
Can’t lose weight?
Get off the treadmill! Fitness expert Jim Karas says that if weight loss is your long-term goal, then there is only one way to achieve it, and that is with strength training. Incorporate a workout regimen like calisthenics into your routine, and introduce weights into the program for more of a challenge. If you weren’t a gym member in 2013, you won’t need to be in 2014 — your body and a few dumbbells are all you need.
Eat like the Greeks
They invented the alphabet and democracy, and they also created a healthy way to eat. A Mediterranean diet consists of mostly plant-based foods, fish and poultry, uses olive oil rather than butter and favours herbs and spices over salt for flavouring. The Mayo Clinic reports that an analysis of over 1.5 million healthy adults maintained that a Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of heart disease and cancer-related deaths in addition to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. You’ll look and feel like a goddess in no time!
Track your progress by monitoring what you’re ingesting with a food journal, and tape it to the fridge.
Saving seems nearly impossible with all the expenses that add up, but skip out on that latte at least once a week, and put that money in a jar. Save your receipts, see where your money is going, and assess where you can make cuts. But best of all, plan out your spending with a budget. Financial guru Dave Ramsey says, “Spend every dime on paper before the month begins.” You’ll have a clear idea of where every dollar needs to go and realize there might be a little left over for your rainy-day fund.
Get social (and save a life)
Not online, but the old-fashioned way — surround yourself with friends and family. Make it a point to spend time with those who matter to you. According to Scientific American, the health benefits of social relationships and increased contact with loved ones include a decreased risk of death in young women with breast cancer. So stop saying you should hang out, and have Siri block off a day and time in the ol’ iPhone.
Become a frequent flyer
Make like George Clooney in Up in the Air, and start earning travel rewards by travelling. The excuse of no money, while valid, is still just an excuse. Don’t wait for the right time, because there will always be a reason not to do something. So start packing, because your vacation awaits thanks to SheKnows’ thrifty travel tips. But first, head to the bank, open up a savings account specifically for travel, and arrange for a portion of your paycheque to automatically be deposited.
Turn off the TV
Have you been PVR’ing a show just because you’ve been a fan forever, but you’re not really into it? Give up one show, and gain 30 to 60 minutes each week. The more time spent in front of a screen means less physical activity, which increases your chances of becoming overweight and developing type 2 diabetes. A recent study found that those who watched more than two hours of TV a day ate more (and usually not carrots, but the other C-word: chips and other processed snacks). The average Canadian spends 30 hours a week watching TV, which makes cutting back to 29.5 entirely doable.
Try something new
The unknown can be daunting, but once you commit to an idea, you’re halfway there. Been meaning to try yoga but just can’t muster up the courage to attend in all your spandex glory? Then buy a DVD, and sweat it out from the comfort of your home. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” Jefferson sounds much like a yogi to us.
Volunteering decreases depression
Spend time helping others, and reduce your risk of depression. Volunteering keeps you social and interacting with others while developing a strong support system, which in turn protects you against stress and depression when you fall upon tough times, say the experts at helpguide.org. Go on down to your local soup kitchen, animal shelter or retirement community, and see how you can lend your skills and be of service. Better yet, grab a friend or the whole family, and band together to do good.
Reading equals more brain power
Maybe you can’t get away right now, but you can go on an imaginary journey. Read your way to an exotic location. Draw a bath, light a few candles, and escape from the every day. Not only does reading do wonders to calm the mind, but researchers claim it helps to preserve those brain cells and memory into old age.
Mandatory date night
Perhaps you once scoffed at the idea of having to make time for each other, but with the kids’ after-school programs and weekend activities, once a week is unrealistic. The first Friday of every month (or any day of the week that’s convenient for you) is now your designated date night. Go with your partner to a new restaurant in the city, and enjoy alone time, talking about adult things with your spouse.
We would like to wish you all the best for the coming year, and hope this list helps you be bold and get noticed in 2014.