We’re a week into 2014 and chances are you made some resolutions for the New Year. But if you’re still struggling with what to put on your list of goals and promises, we’re here to help…
Here are 10 resolutions we think everyone should make if you’re not living by them already. Most of them are simple, concrete changes, and they’ll all have you on your way to a better your life.
1. Change the way you think about diet.
So many women have a complicated relationship with the word “diet.” But in 2014, we can all shift our frame of mind to have “diet” mean something different. Instead of thinking of diet as something restrictive, think of it as a way to nourish your body and eat more of what’s good for you. This year, stop counting calories, and shift your focus to eating more fruits, veggies, lean protein, and other nutritious foods. Start with a healthy smoothie for breakfast; eat a loaded green salad for lunch; and make sure your plate is 50 percent full with steamed veggies during dinner. Fill up on these healthy foods first, and you’ll automatically be less likely to indulge in things that aren’t good for you.
2. Think a positive thought every morning.
It’s so easy to get distracted by the little things that don’t go right throughout the day. But if you start each morning on a high note, your mindset will be more positive as the hours pass by. Make a conscious effort to start each and every day with a happy thought. Whether that means counting your blessings when you wake up or counting down to an upcoming getaway, you’ll see what a difference once small thought can make.
3. Volunteer once a month.
There’s no reason to wait around until next year’s holiday season to give back to your community. If volunteer work isn’t already a part of your routine, make a monthly commitment to give back. Your own life will feel more fulfilling and you’ll be making a real difference in the lives of others. Nowadays there are so many lend a hand in the community, so be sure to focus on a cause that’s truly important to you. Imagine what a better place the world would be if everyone helped others just once a month!
4. Get 7 hours of sleep.
Many of us focus on diet and exercise but forget about the most basic way to take care of ourselves. Getting enough sleep is so important, both physically and emotionally. And, research shows it might even help you lose weight. Make a real commitment to go to bed on time and get your beauty rest. You will get sick less often and wake up feeling ready to conquer the world.
5. Take a daily walk.
If the thought of going to the gym ever makes you cringe, the idea of taking a pleasant walk might be your cup of tea. Especially on days you don’t make it to the gym, go on a brisk walk around the block. Start your day on an active note by walking for 45 minutes before work, or grab your officemates and take a stroll on a coffee break or your lunch hour. Having some form of physical activity every day is important, and this is an easy way to do it. You can also use your walk as a time to reflect or even brainstorm creative ideas.
6. Unplug for an hour a day.
If you’re at all like me, your phone is the first thing you look at in the morning and the last thing you look at before bed. Make a commitment to be screen-free for at least one hour a day in 2014. Try leaving your phone on silent in the other room while you cook and eat dinner. Or, don’t bring your phone with you when you take your daily walk. Whenever you choose to do it, take some time to truly connect with the people around you or to reflect by yourself without distractions.
7. Cut out soda.
This is the one exception to resolution No. 1: If there is one food you should avoid entirely in 2014, let it be soda. Sugary beverages are bad for your teeth and your waistline, and artificial sweeteners are even worse for you. Say goodbye to soda entirely this year, replacing those bad-for-you beverages with infused water or tea.
8. Read for pleasure.
It’s so important to never stop learning, no matter what stage of life you’re in. A few months after graduating college I had the realization that I wasn’t really reading anymore. So I started a book club with my besties and I’m now guaranteed to read at least one novel every few weeks. But if you’re not big on novels, newspaper or magazine articles count too. I find that when I read more, my mind is more active and I feel more inspired creatively.
9. Stop wasting food.
According to CNN, 40 percent of food is wasted in the U.S. every year. That’s more than 20 pounds of food per month, per person. Meanwhile, people in poorer countries are going without. But in 2014, we can all work together to change that. Plan your menu ahead of time so that you buy only what you need. If you’re cooking for one or two, make meals like lasagna or enchiladas that you can freeze if you don’t finish. Planning meals efficiently will help you cut down on your grocery bill and stop wasting valuable resources.
10. Just do it already.
Adopt a dog. Quit your job to pursue your passion. Ask that cute guy out on the first date. If you’ve been thinking of doing something for a long time, chances are it’s the right decision. Start your year off with no regrets and everything will work itself out, one way or another.
What resolutions are you making this year?
I hope these 10 ideas inspired you to live better in 2014. For some help sticking with your 2014 goals, check out these six tips on making your resolutions last.