The start of a new year is the perfect time to reflect on the past year and to think about positive changes you would like to make for the year ahead.
Whether you want to get fit, stress less or spend more time with the family, now is a great time to start some new habits. Choose one or two things to focus on and once you master those you can add some more.
Start your day with a walk
Set your alarm a little earlier and start your day with a walk. Even a short 30 minute walk around the neighbourhood can improve your health, reduce stress and help you start your day in a good mood.
Eat a healthy breakfast
If you’re the kind of person whose idea of breakfast is a coffee on your way to work, try to get in the habit of starting your day with a healthy breakfast, such as eggs, porridge or fruit. That way you will be less tempted to reach for the sugary snacks come morning tea time.
Drink more water
This is an easy habit but one that is often forgotten. Reduce the amount of sugary drinks, coffee and alcohol you ingest and up your water intake. Buy a reusable water bottle and keep it close at hand throughout the day. If water isn’t really your thing, you can try adding a squeeze of fresh lime or lemon juice or cucumber slices for flavour.
Set a bed time
Bed times are not just for the little ones. If you tend to find yourself on the computer or watching TV into the wee hours and then wake up feeling sleepy and grumpy in the morning, perhaps you should try setting a bed time. To promote restful sleep, turn off screens half an hour before bed and unwind with a shower or read a book.
Meditation is a popular way to reduce stress and take a more mindful approach to your day to day life. It can be as simple as taking 10 minutes each day to sit quietly and concentrate on your breathing. If you need some guidance, there are a range of mediation apps available, such as Calm and Headspace, that will get you started.
Set clear goals
Most New Year’s resolutions fail because they aren’t clear or specific enough. Break your goals down into small, realistic targets and you are more likely to stick to them. For example instead of saying ‘I want to get fit’ you might say ‘I want to be able to jog 5km at a fun run in June’ or ‘I will take the stairs instead of the elevator’.
Spend more quality time with the family by choosing a night of the week to be ‘family dinner night’. Turn off the TV and phones and enjoy a meal together. This is a great time to hear about how everyone’s week has been. Take turns sharing your favourite things from the past week or use the time to plan future family adventures.
Have an attitude of gratitude
Don’t let negative thoughts or focusing on what you don’t have stop you from appreciating all the great things that you do have. Take a minute before going to bed each day to think about all the things that happened that day that you are grateful for. It can be big things like getting a new car or little things like enjoying a great cup of coffee. When you embrace an attitude of gratitude you will be surprised how many positive things happen in the day that you’d previously overlooked.
Prioritise ‘me’ time
It’s all too easy to get caught up in the chaos of work, running around after the kids or doing the house work. This year, take at least 10 minutes each day for some quality ‘me’ time. Do something that makes you happy no matter how frivolous it might seem. Take a bubble bath, paint your nails, play fetch with your dog or read your favourite magazine.
Take more holidays
Are you guilty of never using your annual leave or are you always talking about taking a holiday but never quite get there? Taking some time out is vital to keep you energised and motivated throughout the year and travel is a great way to broaden your perspective of the world. Plan some mid-week getaways to places you haven’t visited before, enjoy a long weekend at your favourite holiday destination or plan that epic road trip you’ve been dreaming of.