new year resolutions

Small but Impactful

New Year, new me? Everyone starts off the New Year with the best of intentions, but then life happens. Busy schedules can make your resolutions daunting and often unsuccessful. This year, take a different approach. Implement some small, achievable goals that can enrich your life and wellbeing. Here are 8 ideas that can help get you started.

1. Stretching

The importance of daily stretching cannot be touted enough. Without stretching, our muscles become short and tight. This can lead to injury, joint pain, and muscle damage. Stretching awards our joints with a full range of motion, this gives us the flexibility to maintain our activities. Holding a stretch for 10 to 30 seconds, two to four times on each side is ideal. Add this to your routine to protect your independence!

2. Read a Book…or 2 or 3

Read to escape, read to learn. Books are a window into another world. They can transport us through time, drop us into a fairytale land, or teach us new skills. Reading has many perks in addition to entertainment. It can lower stress levels, improve memory and focus, enhance your language, and stimulate your brain. Reading is free (check your local library) and easy. There is a book out there for everyone!

3. Eye Care

This is an easy yet crucial resolution: wear eye protection. You only get one set of eyes and you REALLY need them. Start wearing sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection, daily. And always wear glasses that protect your eyes from blue light when gaming or using your devices. UV rays and blue light can cause damage like macular degeneration to your eyes. Throw on a pair of glasses-done! See how easy that was?

4. Volunteer

Pay it forward, spread kindness, and give back. Volunteering has many benefits, including happiness. When you volunteer you are connecting with others, thus building new relationships, contacts, and making friends. It keeps you stimulated and provides a sense of purpose. Donating and giving your time can combat stress, depression, and give you gratification. Helping others doesn’t have to be a long-term commitment. Find an organization that speaks to you and volunteer some of your time. Helping others is good for the world and for you!

5. Be Present and Listen

More face time, less screen time. We are all guilty of being distracted by our phones or multitasking when someone is speaking to us. Healthy relationships thrive on communication and being heard. Listening is not only hearing what the person has to say but seeing their expressions and body language. It is important to be intentional about the time you spend with your loved ones. “When we listen, we hear someone into existence.” –Laurie Buchanan

6. Drink More Water

Yep, 60% of our bodies are composed of it and our bodies need it. Nearly all of the major systems in the body use H2O. It helps regulate body temperature, lubricates joints, carries nutrients to cells, moistens our tissues (eyes, mouth, and nose), and aids in digestion. Make a habit of keeping water on hand and up your daily intake. If you aren’t a fan of plain water, then jazz it up with a squeeze of your favorite fruit or a sprig of fresh mint!

7. Practice Optimism

“I think I can, I think I can…” we can all take a lesson from The Little Engine that Could. It is simple, negative thinking emits negative energy, while positive thinking emits positive energy. Being positive has benefits such as having a longer life span, being resilient in difficult situations, and enjoying more successful relationships. Practice optimism by writing down things you are grateful for, spend time with other optimistic people, and focus on what you have, not what you don’t.

8. Get your ZZZs

Who doesn’t need more and better sleep? Getting a good night’s sleep is a total game changer! You know that your brain is sharper and your mood is improved when you sleep well. Did you also know that your immune system is better equipped to fight germs and illness after a good night of slumber? To get a better night of sleep, try reducing blue light at night by not using screens or by wearing blue light filtering glasses, lay off the caffeine late in the day, and try to sleep and wake at consistent times. Sleep specialists also recommend sleeping in a cold, dark room for optimum shut-eye.

Ring in this New Year with some attainable goals for a healthier, happier you! Choose one or all and reap the benefits. Happy 2020!

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