Tired of making the same old New Year’s resolutions, knowing full well you won’t stick to them? Even though most of us truly want to be healthier, get more exercise, and improve our daily lives, our resolve to do so just doesn’t seem strong enough for us to follow through. Rather than repeating your old resolutions this year, try some of these culled from the lists of nine experts in women’s physical and mental health. You’re bound to find a few that not only help you live a better life, but that you’ll actually enjoy keeping!
This year, I resolve to:
- Smile more. Laurie Steelsmith, N.D., L. Ac., author of Natural Choices for Women’s Health: How the Secrets of Natural and Chinese Medicine Can Create A Lifetime of Wellness, recommends looking at your reflection every day and giving yourself the gift of a loving smile.
- Unwind. Sometimes nothing helps you unwind better than a few minutes of silliness. I have a collection of wind-up toys and whenever I feel I’m wound just a little too tight, I set them all off at the same time. It not only makes me laugh, but reminds me I need to unwind, too.
- Make one small change. Changing one small thing can change everything. Find a tiny step you’re willing to take now and pledge to do it, no matter how minor it may seem. (Learn more at Speaking of Women’s Health).
- Get more curious. The more you want to know about the world around you, the more passionate you become about your life. Curiosity also helps you stay open-minded and flexible.
- Make every step count. A pedometer can be the most motivational piece of exercise equipment you can own. I got one two years ago and every time I strap it on, I tend to walk longer and further, just to watch the miles and calories burned click off.
- Go au natural. Nature nourishes our bodies and souls, according to Linda Breen Pierce, author of Simplicity Lessons: A 12-Step Guide to Living Simply, but we spend most of our days surrounded with unnatural things: cubicle walls, wall-to-wall-carpet, technology. Keep in touch with nature by getting outside every day.
- Make pleasure a priority. Wendy Maltz, a nationally recognized author, suggests you write a list of things that bring you joy and make sure to do something from that list every week.
- Add more color. Choose your fruits and vegetables as you do your friends – the more colorful the better.
- Water it down. We all know we should drink more water and less coffee, tea, and soda, but it can be hard to make the substitution. Dr. Jyotsna Sahni, an internist, recommends making water more interesting by adding a drop of essential oil of peppermint, spearmint, or orange.
- Wake up happy. It’s simple, really – before your feet hit the floor, say to yourself, “Today I choose happiness. I will find the bright side, the good things, and the beauty in this day.”
- Schedule fewer extracurricular activities. Linda Breen Pierce suggests deciding how many hours a week you have to invest in activities not related to your priorities and then sticking to that number.
- Buy power tools. Don’t let the guys in your life have all the fun! There’s something empowering about owning your own power tool and knowing how to use it.
- Get fishy. Not only does eating fish reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, arthritis, and cancer, it can also improve your mood.
- Listen. We often think of communication skills as being the ability to say what we mean and mean what we say, but the art of communication is as much about closing our mouth as it is about opening it.
- Never end the day with the news. Make it a habit never to watch the news or anything of a violent nature immediately before going to bed. Sleep is a time to rest and become rejuvenated. Images of trauma can sear themselves into your brain and keep you awake or interrupt your dreams. Instead, end your day with something that makes you joyful.
- Become a morning person. Linda Breen Pierce recommends going to sleep 30 minutes earlier and getting up 30 minutes earlier for meditation, journal writing, a quiet walk in nature, or just sitting on the porch listening to the birds sing.
- Schedule a “Fix It Day” once a month. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but if it is, put it on your schedule. If you can’t fix it yourself, let a professional take care of it. Cindy Glovinsky notes that much of the clutter in our lives is a result of things that don’t work piling up around the house.
- Put it on the calendar. Instead of spending your time and energy wondering if and when you should go in for preventive health tests, Dr. Sahni recommends you sit down with your new calendar, choose a date, and schedule your Pap smear, mammogram, and bone density test.
- Have a fashion show once every six months. Twice a year, drag all your clothes, shoes, and accessories out and model them for yourself. If they don’t fit, don’t suit your sense of style any more, or were never worn much, pack them off to a local charity.
- Make a new funny friend. Friendship is one of the healthiest things we women do in our lives. Not only does having friends who make you laugh help you feel better in good times and bad, it also creates all kinds of healthy changes in your body . Whenever you meet someone who makes you laugh really hard this year, invite them out to lunch.
Choose a few of these resolutions for your own this year and come December 31 you’ll probably be patting yourself on the back for keeping them all.
This article was written by: Leigh Anne Jasheway-BryantPhoto Credit: David Yanutama