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Inspiration for a Healthier 2014: New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Stick With!

New Year's ResolutionsTired of making, then breaking, the same resolutions every year? After all, what better way to start the New Year than with a fresh outlook on life? This annual ritual has become a bit of a joke, to the point where people make bets to see how long their friend and loved ones resolutions will last. However, the problem, says David L. Katz, MD, MPH, director of the Yale Griffin Prevention Research Center in CT, is that many resolutions are unrealistic and poorly executed. “Most resolutions involved inspiration but no preparation,” he says. “For long term success, a detailed and sustainable action plan is key.” Try these 7 updates on common resolutions, with tips to make them work:

  1. Change your Health Outlook:
  2. Instead of seeing it as “all or nothing”, look at health as a habit. For example, think “drinking a soda would move me in the wrong direction, while drinking a glass of water would move me in the right direction.” By making small positive decisions, you’ll move closer and closer to healthy behaviors.
  3. Integrate Exercise:
  4. For most people, exercise is something that they do if they can find time. It is much easier finding ways to incorporate it into your daily routine. Try climbing the stairs to the third floor versus the elevator or jogging to the mailbox at the end of your driveway. This also can be done at work. Try using smaller water glasses and implementing “email free Fridays”, trying to walk your messages to colleagues rather than email.
  5. Say Goodbye to Fad Diets:
  6. Losing weight is a staple resolution, which could explain why so many diets fail. Although it is completely fine to have weight loss as a goal, instead of following the latest diet craze, focus your efforts on eating healthy. Try tracking your daily food intake in a food diary to help keep you accountable.
  7. Head Back to the Kitchen:
  8. The beauty of resolving to do more of your own cooking is that you gain more control over the nutritional quality of your meals. Try preparing your own food from fresh ingredients. You will save calories and money, and you will be healthier for it. Also, having your kitchen cupboards stocked with tools that make cooking healthy meals no-excuses easy helps, too!
  9. Unplug Daily:
  10. Thanks to modern electronics, we're switched on, tuned in 24/7, and more stressed than ever. Research shows that media overload can increase your risk for depression, social anxiety, job burnout, and even allergies. The solution? Pick a time of the day, one hour at night while eating dinner, shutting your phone off at 7pm, or even a whole day will help you de-stress and focus on YOU!
  11. Conquer Clutter:
  12. Another way to reduce your stress level and boost your mood is to work on clearing out the clutter in your home. Clean up your mess and it will open up your life for more positive energy!
  13. Get Your Finances in Check:
  14. There’s no time like the present to lay out a plan for saving more and spending less. To get started, Jim Roberts, PhD, professor of marketing at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, recommends establishing an emergency fund of $2,500 and reducing your credit card use for an entire year. 
    Other saving secrets? Live below your means. If you do it consistently, you're automatically saving consistently. Aim to save at least 10% of what you earn after taxes, 15% if you're over 35 and haven't started yet. If you can't save 10%, start by saving something and watch that stash start to grow. Find out how else to keep from breaking the bank with How to Save Money.
  15. Embrace Generosity:
  16. Few things are as easy or provide as much instant gratification as donating time or money to people in need. If you can, give away 1% more of your income than you did last year to a local cause or charity of your choice, volunteer at a local food bank, go out of your way for someone who seemingly has nothing to offer you, or simply buy the person behind you their morning coffee just because.  When you unleash your generosity potential, your life will be the better for it.

Article adapted from Prevention.com