7 Resolutions to Make in 2015 (and How to Actually Keep Them)
Along with the confetti and champagne toasts, the New Year brings a flood of goals for self-improvement. Last year’s top tweeted resolutions ranged from “be happy” to “be the best,” with the most common being to “work out,” according to Twitter. And while we tend to dive into our resolutions with the best of intentions, only eight percent of us actually keep them. This year put a little extra thought into your resolutions to guarantee they’ll stick.
If you’re notorious for rushing around, juggling family, friends and your career, it’s time to give yourself a breather. If your resolution is to indulge a little more, you’re not alone. This season, 66 percent of Americans plan to spend extra on a new haircut or style. That’s a 78 percent increase from last year. Meanwhile, 34 percent of women will opt for mani-pedis and 20 percent will splurge on a spa treatment. But taking care of yourself doesn’t have to mean a trip to the salon. A solid evening of Netflix will also do the trick. Or, just spend some time solo—it may help you reflect, recharge, and even fight depression.
Cut Back on the Sugar
After a week (OK, a month) of holiday binging, it’s probably time to hit the reset button. A good place to start is to cut back on sugar intake. Most Americans consume more than 19 teaspoons of sugar every day, even though the World Health Organization recommends a maximum of six. Aim to cut down on processed and low-fat foods, where sugar often hides. Plus, remember to check out nutrition labels before hitting the checkout line. Some seemingly "healthy" foods can pack a super sugary punch.
Make Positive Changes at the Office
Half of Americans work more than 40 hours per week, which can lead to serious work-related stress and burnout. For many, reducing work burnout starts with the boss. A recent survey by TINYhr, a company dedicated to improving employee happiness and satisfaction, found that the most common thing employees would change about their managers was their communication style. So how can employees improve communication? First, we can practice saying “thank you” more often, which goes a long way toward workplace happiness, says David Niu, founder of TINYhr. Email a boss or coworker a quick thank-you for taking a project off your hands or bringing in morning bagels. Even better, write one out by hand.
Plus, if you have suggestions for ways your workplace could function better, don’t just complain. Instead, offer specific ideas for improvements. Maybe that means establishing a new rule that bans work emails after 6 p.m. or suggesting the office use a little budget for break-room snacks once a week. "If things bother you, try to be part of the solution,” says Niu.
Give More Hugs
Hugging does more than make us happy. New research shows that they may also help keep us healthy. High or constant levels of stress seriously weakens our immune systems, and one way to fight that stress is to create a sense of strong social support, which can be done by giving and receiving hugs. So go ahead and give out a few extra squeezes in 2015.
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
Exercise helps our heart, weight, and sleep patterns. It can fight Type 2 diabetes, stave off certain kinds of cancer, and decrease the risk of stroke. It can even make us more creative and confident. Most of these benefits happen when we work out at least two and a half hours each week. Yet only 20 percent of Americans meet these guidelines, according to the CDC. We understand it’s not always easy to jump into a new workout schedule. So how can you create a plan you’ll actually stick to? Start small, grab a workout buddy, and if you hate the gym, head for the hills (or the plains). Bundle up and pick up a new winter sport. “Being outside helps you vary your fitness routine and get a little extra vitamin D,” says Sarah Knapp, founder of OutdoorFest, an organization that works to bring outdoor activities to urban environments. “Plus, having an outdoor sport you enjoy will motivate you to stay active through the winter.”
There’s no doubt that sleep is vital to our wellbeing. Its many benefits include improved memory, lower stress levels, and the power to make us feel happier. Consistently getting a good night’s rest can even help keep you at a healthy weight and may help fight cancer. But many of us don’t log as many hours as we should. The NIH recommends adults get somewhere between seven and eight hours per night, but on average American adults sleep less than six hours, according to the CDC. The biggest obstacle to getting more sleep is work. So this year, make a resolution to unplug at a reasonable hour and let your body recharge.
If you only indulge in drinks at the occasional party, you’re probably in the clear, but even pouring yourself a couple glasses of wine every night can cause problems with your health. Drinking before bed cuts into your REM sleep and can trigger heartburn. Plus, excessive alcohol consumption can wreak havoc on your body over time, causing liver problems, immune system disorders, and even increased risk for certain types of cancer. The bottom line? Everything in moderation. We’ll drink our sparkling cider to that.