Every new year is a chance for all of us to make it our best year yet. It is up to us to build our habits, change our routines and put in all the work. If we want to be happy, we need to make some adjustments to our existing habits and invite change into our lives. Do this for you and you only.
Say something nice when you wake up
Your thoughts find a way to influence your day. If you’re positive, it’ll be visible in your eyes and your smile. If you’re grumpy, you’ll feed that negative energy and show off that vibe. When you wake up, try to say something positive instead of yawning with anger to the sound of the alarm.
The way you start your day will have an impact on the entire day. If your first thought of the day is, “Noo, I don’t want to…” hold that thought. Don’t allow yourself to start the day with negative thoughts. Once you hear the alarm, stand up, do a bit of neck exercise, easy stretching and say something nice out loud. “This will be a great day, I can just feel it!”
Breakfast, lunch, dinner and properly timed snacks in between fuel your day for success. Even though we say that this time we’re gonna pay more attention to our diet, we get easily distracted. Maybe your colleague is munching on a third Snickers bar already and you start to feel tempted as well. But don’t. Just say no. Take a walk instead so you won’t have to look at your colleague while he’s eating candy. Learn to meal prep and include protein, veggies, healthy fat, fiber and fruit in your diet. Have all you need to make a healthy smoothie in the morning instead of eating a store-bought pastry. Eat well to feel good, healthy and full of energy.
Eliminate one bad habit
We are all driven by the saying “new year, new me,” so we try to make radical changes. We say that we’re definitely ditching all bad habits this year and turning to healthier ones. But, eliminating one bad habit at a time leads to truly adopting one healthier habit. When you focus on one thing at a time, you reduce the chance to relapse into your old ways.
If you wish to stop smoking, reduce caffeine, or limit processed sugar intake, pick only one and take one step at a time. Don’t just stop drinking coffee because you’ll trigger withdrawal symptoms. For a week, try drinking two coffees instead of three. Drink tea instead of a third cup of coffee. This way you’ll gradually give up a bad habit by slowly adopting healthier options. You’ll give your body a chance to adapt and limit withdrawal symptoms.
Don’t procrastinate, act
Each time you postpone a decision, you make the beginning harder than it should be. So, stop procrastinating and start acting now. But, be mindful of your decisions so start small. Take one day at a time and do your best to at least take one step toward your goal. Remember, each amount of effort counts in the long run. For example – If you want to lose weight, but can’t make it to the gym, exercise at home. Find a way to fulfill your goals, don’t find excuses.
Find an accountability buddy
You probably have at least one friend that struggles with the same issues as you do. Maybe your friend wants to eat healthier this year as well and could use support to adopt healthy eating habits. Make each other accountable for your health decisions and be each other’s support system. Write down your daily meal plan in a shared Google Doc and compare notes. Hold each other accountable for each time you slip up and push each other to keep up when those sugar cravings hit.
Also, share your weekly plan (diet and workout goals) with each other and review each accomplishment and progress together. Brainstorm meal ideas over a weekly get together. Use these dates to discuss new workout routines or easy-to-make recipes. If you weren’t strict with your diet, be honest about it and talk it out loud with your accountability buddy. Talk about your triggers and discuss ways to change your trigger response.
Block out time for one activity that makes you happy
During the workweek, we live by a certain routine that is repetitive and structured. Our time is divided into the time we spend working and outside of work. We’ll put our focus on the way we spend our time after work. Playtime is as important as anything else, so we should block out time every day or every two days for an activity that makes us happy. If riding a bike leisurely is your thing, block an hour in your day for this activity. You can also use an affordable e-bike to commute to work every day, so you can squeeze this activity you love before and after work. When we do the things we love, our brain is filled with happy hormones which have a positive effect on our motivation and productivity.
Sleep for better energy
Sleep is one of the ultimate stress-relieving activities. Less stress in your life means more opportunity to be happy. So, instead of wasting your time continually stressing over one thing, redirect your focus and energy on developing a sleep routine. Try to calculate the best time for you to go to sleep so you can get some quality eight hours of shut-eye. Then, work on your wind-down routine at least two hours before going to sleep. Limit any tech because the blue light can trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime. Instead, make yourself busy by reading, meditating, drinking a bedtime tea and relaxing in a hot bath. This will relax you enough so you can fall asleep easily and be relaxed enough so you can get a long deep sleep phase. Deep sleep is essential to feel energized and well-rested.
Learn to put yourself first this time around the sun. By doing this, you will prioritize self-care and find time for things that make you happy. Love yourself more by not comparing yourself to others. You are unique and that is your power. We are lovable just the way we are, we don’t have to copy someone else. Just do things that make you happy and work on goals that make you happy.
Text neck is a real thing
Take a closer look at your day. How much time do you spend over your phone with your head bowed down? You can probably feel the strain in your neck as you read this. This problem is called a text neck. There are two ways to reduce the strain in your neck caused by spending too much time on your phone. First, try to do it less. Don’t spend your day glued to the screen of your phone. Life happens beyond social media so try to reduce the time spent on the phone. Second, when you do spend time on your phone, lie down on a flat surface so your neck is not under pressure. Hold your phone in front of your face while lying down. Lastly, make sure you do some light neck stretches when you wake up, in the middle of the day and before bed.
Be selfish about your time after work
If you want to be happy every day, no matter what, leave work at work. Downtime is essential to avoid burnout. Sometimes it’s hard to put a limit on your free time and don’t let anything disrupt it. But you can start small and work towards this goal. Limit email notifications on your phone, don’t work overtime and try to be as productive as you can during office hours. Work on your skills to be more productive at work, don’t work after work. Use your out-of-the-office to be creative, read, have fun, socialize and recharge.
Read instead of spending time on social media
People spend almost 3 hours on social media every day. If you read a book three hours a day, you’ll probably finish at least half of it depending on your reading speed. Reading is more beneficial to your mental health than scrolling through your feed daily. While an Instagram account can have a negative impact on your self-esteem, reading can have a positive impact by stimulating your brain and making you happy. You will improve your vocabulary, learn new things, become knowledgeable and broaden your interests by reading. It will foster your creativity and be the source of many different ideas you can later discuss with friends. Limit your daily social media usage and switch to books.
Commit to a fitness regime
Exercise is not a burden, it’s a fun way to release stress, negative emotions, and become the healthiest and happiest self. This time, don’t procrastinate, just start a fitness program. Get back to your old routine or pick a new one at the nearest fitness center. Commit to exercising at least three times a week until it becomes a habit you just can’t live without. After the first three months, you’ll see how your body has changed and how strong you are. You will get hooked on the surge of happy hormones during and after a workout and you won’t be willing to give this feeling for anything else.
What’s more, your health will thrive, you’ll have more energy and a positive outlook on life. Take your health and your life to another level with these tips.
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