Most of us approach the New Year from the disenchanting stance of giving something up. Lots of things. Things that we like. As if the post-Christmas comedown wasn’t hard enough….
Instead, why not focus on the positive sentiment of starting something new? Habits take time to build but lots of small steps in the right direction equate to bigger, more positive changes over time. With that in mind, we’ve pulled together our top 10 healthy habits to carry into the New Year.
The best part? You don’t need to give up a single thing. Amen.
THE PSYCHOLOGY BEHIND GOAL SETTING
Less than 10% of us who set resolutions stick to them. Why? Because we’re unrealistic when it comes to goal setting. They say it takes up to 21 days to form a new habit but in actual fact it’s much longer. Try two months – or 66 days to be precise (according to studies). In other words, we significantly underestimate the time and effort it takes to make (or break) a habit.
The point being, change is slow – and it’s a process. It’s important not to judge ourselves harshly if we do slip up. So embrace the process, enjoy the journey and keep it real all the way.
HEALTHY HABITS TO START RIGHT NOW:
- Sign up to something new
Whether it’s a reading club or Salsa dancing, a fun new activity will broaden your social group and give you the feel-good boost – and is proven to lower blood pressure and levels of depression too. Nourishment for mind, body and soul.
- Move more
You don’t need to join a gym to get fit. Just get out there and get moving. Regular cardio, even low-impact walking, is still exercise. And it’s one of the single best things you can do to impact your physical and mental health for the better. Try to build in 20 minutes of this each day.
- Drink more green tea
Green tea is more than a caffeine-boost. It’s an antioxidant-rich, metabolic-enhancing elixir that could even protect against diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes. Plus, it won’t give you the jittery side effects of one too many coffees. Drink up.
- Schedule 10 minutes of meditation or quiet time each day
Clear space to be alone, without distraction, for 10 minutes a day. It’s an opportunity to declutter the mind and destress, which will contribute to a more positive relationship with yourself and others. It’s one of the least selfish things you could do for yourself this year.
- Donate your time: volunteer
Volunteering your time to others improves overall happiness and mental wellbeing. It can also enrich your sense of purpose in life. As little as an hour of your time each week for all that? Priceless.
- Surround yourself with positive people
Commit your time to people who lift your spirits and make you laugh – there are plenty of places we can go to find stress without our friends being one of them. It could be one of the most positive things you do for your health this year.
- Create a better sleep environment
The quality of our sleep can affect our physical, emotional and mental health – so create the best sleep environment possible. Make your bedroom a technology free zone after 9pm. Invest in a mattress comforter or cosy throw. Make the bedroom (and sleep) your sanctity.
- Make just one healthier food replacement this year
For example, replacing a sugary soft drink with a naturally sweet coconut water (check out our special offer in Waitrose) or confectionary chocolate for a Rebel Kitchen Mylk. Start small and build in more over time. The changes will soon add up.
- Drink water. Lots of it
The best advice never gets old. Make drinking more water the habit that sticks. It flushes out toxins, aids digestion, relieves fatigue and reduces headaches. Make sure you get your 2 litres a day.
- Keep it real
Remember – don’t make your new habits absolute. Because it’s not about perfection. It’s about balance, loving yourself and striving towards a direction that fits in with your life. Here’s to 2017.