It’s that time of year again when days go by in a blur. First, Thanksgiving, then Christmas. Before we know it, the New Year is upon us, and it’s time to make some resolutions. A lot of us associate a new year with a “new you.” You may already have some ideas about what you want to accomplish this year, but if you’re looking for inspiration, this guide should help.
New Year, New You: Healthy living resolutions
Most of us have our health in mind when we’re making New Year’s resolutions. Taking steps to reduce your risk of illness and improve your mental and physical well being is always a positive thing. There are lots of different things you can do to embrace healthy living. Here are some examples.
Giving up smoking
Are you a smoker? If so, why not make this the year you cut down or quit for good? Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors for heart disease, stroke, and cancer. In the US, between 80 and 90 percent of lung cancer cases are directly linked to smoking. Smoking can also decrease fertility, and increase your risk of asthma, emphysema, and COPD. If you want to give it up, there are various avenues you can explore.
Your doctor can talk to you about nicotine replacement therapy, and group sessions can also be very effective. Most people find it easier to quit when they’re doing it with other people. You can reassure and encourage each other, and you have common ground from the get go. If you don’t want to join a local support group, see if you can get friends or relatives on board.
There are also lots of self-help tips that you may find useful. Some people find it helpful to write a list of the reasons they want to give up. Carry this list around with you, and look at it when you feel like you want to smoke. It’s also beneficial to keep busy and to avoid places where you normally smoke like bars, for example. You may also find it easier to steer clear of other smokers during the early stages.
Smoking also has an impact on your finances. Put the money you would have spent on cigarettes aside, and treat yourself when you reach major milestones. Perhaps you could buy something you’ve had your eye on, or book a weekend away, for example.
Changing your eating habits
Do you live on takeouts? Are you reliant on ready meals? Do you frequently miss your healthy eating targets? If so, it’s as good a time as any to change your eating habits. After the indulgence of the festive period, why not turn over a new leaf and adopt a healthier diet?
One of the best ways to improve your diet is to cook at home. When you prepare your meals, you have total control over what goes into them. This means that you don’t have to worry about added salt or sugars. You can also stick to suitable portion sizes, and increase the variety of foods you eat. If you’re a beginner, don’t worry. You’ll soon find that your skills improve, and you become more adventurous. You don’t have to be a top chef to create tasty meals. There are myriad healthy recipes out there that are also simple and quick.
If you’re struggling to hit your 5-a-day target for fruit and vegetables, make a conscious effort to eat more. Take pieces of fruit to work with you for lunch, or add berries or a banana to your breakfast. Invest in a blender and make delicious smoothies at home. Increase the number of servings you have at dinner time. Instead of having one portion of broccoli with a steak, add some carrots as well, for example. You can also throw in all kinds of vegetables to hearty winter dishes like casseroles and soups. Potatoes, rutabaga, celery, and turnip all work well.
Being more active
After Christmas, many of us vow to try and lose weight. Exercise is a great way of burning fat and using calories. But it also offers a whole host of other benefits. Working out regularly decreases your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. It also boosts mental health and helps you to sleep.
If you’ve never exercised before, take it steady to begin with. You’ll need to build your fitness gradually so that your body can adjust to your new routine. Start by power walking, or going for a jog or a swim. As you get fitter, you can try lots of different types of exercise. You could join the gym, or investigate classes like Zumba, spinning or aqua aerobics. You could join a local sports team or take up an activity like cycling, rowing or trampolining.
You can also make really simple changes to your everyday life. Do you drive to work when you could walk or cycle? Are you guilty of reaching for the car keys to pop down to the shop? Do you always take the elevator rather than the stairs? If so, let your legs do the hard work. You’ll save yourself money as well as working those muscles.
New Year, New You: Environmental resolutions
Climate change is an issue that affects all of us. In The New Year, why not take some steps to do your bit for the environment? We all have to contribute to making a positive difference to the planet. Here are some ways you can live a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle.
Recycling is an easy way to do your bit for the environment. It doesn’t take long, and it’ll soon become part of your daily routine. When you’re putting things in the trash, think about which items could be recycled. Plastic bottles, cardboard, and glass containers are all examples of recyclable products. Try and use paper bags rather than plastic bags, and buy recycled paper. There are lots of items that you can’t recycle. For more information, you’ll find details here.
Reducing your carbon footprint
Many of us don’t think twice about our carbon footprint when we’re driving around or jetting off on holiday. The carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases produced by human activity. You can reduce yours by driving less frequently, and choosing cleaner vehicles. You should also ensure that your tires are properly inflated when you drive.
Cutting energy usage
Most of us are guilty are using more energy than we need. Do you leave lights on when you’re not in the room or leave the TV on standby? You can reduce energy bills, and make a positive impact on the environment by pledging not to waste energy. Turn taps off, and have showers rather than baths. Swap old bulbs for energy-efficient models. Buy smart appliances, and invest in an energy meter. This will show you how much energy you’re using at any given time. You can also consider using renewable energy sources, such as solar power. If you live in an area that gets a lot of sunshine, this is a much cheaper and cleaner way of powering your home.
New Year, New You: Career goals
Are you bored of your current job? Does work stress you out? Are you still hankering after the role you’ve been dreaming about since you left college? The end of the year is the perfect time to start thinking about your future. If you have grand plans, why not take those first steps towards making your career dreams a reality? You may not land the job straight away. But you could try and get some relevant experience or go back to college and get the qualifications you need. If your current position isn’t fulfilling you, think about looking for a new job. Sign up for some recruitment websites and look out for openings in newspapers.
If you want to stay with the same company, ask about other opportunities, or go for that promotion. You may think that it’s beyond you, but what’s the worst that could happen? If you don’t get the job, you can learn from the experience, and take feedback on board.
Sometimes, it pays to get out of your comfort zone. If you’ve been doing the same job for years, consider a change of scenery. It may be daunting going to a new company and making new friends. But it could be the kick start you need. We can get comfortable in an environment that we’re used to, and this can make life uneventful. New challenges are an opportunity to learn and develop.
A New Year is an ideal time to make resolutions for the months ahead. If you’re thinking about what you want to change this year, hopefully, these ideas have inspired you. Think about the areas of your life you want to focus on, and try and achieve your goals. Have you been meaning to lose weight or take up exercise? Are you keen to do your bit to tackle climate change? Do you wish you had a job that made you look forward to going to work? All these targets are reachable. If you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything.