New Year’s Resolutions Made Simple

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New Years resolutions, green livingA new year represents new beginnings, new hope, new ideas and ambitions. Some people prefer to use their new year’s resolutions to leave the old year and everything attached to it behind and start fresh. What usually happens to these well-meaning–but vague–promises we make to ourselves? After about a week of getting back to our busy lives, we forget all about them. Like anything else, grand resolutions (Eat better! Exercise more! Get in shape!) are difficult to keep on a daily basis. The best resolution solution? Small steps change habits, and new habits change lives.

Follow our simple steps to integrate some popular resolutions into your daily life; you’ll see results over a longer period of time, and you’ll be surprised at how easy it can be. Even easier: Pick one of these tips to work on each week over the next few months. New habits form quickly and before you know it, you’ll be eating better, sleeping longer, feeling more fit and energized and–most importantly–doing it all automatically within your normal routine, with no extra cost involved!

1. Exercise more

Add 10 minutes of fast-paced walking into your day. This can mean parking your car a bit further from your office entrance, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or doing a couple of extra laps around the grocery store aisles. Get your heart pumping! See our tips for easy-to-do exercise on the go and our yoga videos to inspire you.

New Year’s Resolutions Made Simple: add 10 minutes of exercise to your day

2. Eat better

Up your veggie intake by making a habit of including one “vegetarian” day a week. Why? We hear a lot about “Meatless Mondays” and there may be a good reason for this. Weekends are usually about relaxing and indulging a bit ; we easily get comfortable with some unhealthy habits. To help restart the beginning of your week with healthy food choices, see our recipes for salads and meatless meals to get you inspired.

New Year’s Resolutions Made Simple colorful salad

3. Tone up your middle

You probably already know that you can’t “spot reduce” and that most of those visible “six pack” muscles are already there, they’re just covered up with fat. The only way to get lean and defined is to reduce your overall body fat. This means burning calories and eating more efficiently (see above). But it is important to keep abdominal muscles strong to help support your back and avoid back injuries. And any muscle you build will make your body more efficient at burning fat. So there’s no downside to keeping your abs and core strong.

Do 5 minutes of abdominal work each day.  Did you know that you can do a reverse sit up from a standing position?

  • Reach down toward your toes, hang there for 5 seconds allowing the back of the legs to stretch.
  • Inhale through the nose and draw your belly button in toward your spine.  Keeping the abs engaged begin to slowly exhale through the mouth as you roll back up to a standing position.
  • Allow the head to be the last thing to come up.
  • Stand near a chair in case you are dizzy when you stand or if your balance is challenged.
  • Repeat and remember to engage the abdominal each time you roll back up to standing!

4. Reduce your caffeine intake

Substitute your afternoon cuppa joe with a great tea alternative.  Green tea has less caffeine and may help you to sleep better at night (afternoon and evening caffeine intake has been linked to insomnia).

If you are missing that sweet latte fix, try a green tea chai latte, or add milk and raw sugar or stevia or another great sugar alternative to your teacup.

New Year’s Resolutions Made Simple reduce caffeine

5. Unplug from the computer

We’re constantly wired to our electronic devices and often need to be for work, and it’s increasingly difficult to have time to ourselves to read, think and relax.

Instead of planning a whole day away from your computer, try 5-10 minutes every hour. Set a timer and get up to stretch, keep a magazine article that you have been meaning to read nearby and move your eyes from the screen to the pages. Have a drink of water and take a few relaxing breaths. When you return from your small respite the screen–and your thoughts–will be clearer.

6. Spend more time with family and close friends

We can easily get overwhelmed with work and our personal ambitions or problems and exclude the people who really mater in our lives. It’s important to dedicate time for family and close friends (or time to socialize and make new ones), and that may only happen if you establish a time for “play.”

Dedicate an afternoon or an evening at least once a week. Turn off the phone and the computer. Do an activity together that you can all enjoy, even if it’s having brunch and catching up. This is especially important if you have children who need interaction with their parents in addition to doing homework, playing video games and watching TV. Get them involved in your kitchen or garden, read books together and take exploration trips around your neighborhood. The satisfaction you feel will be huge.

7. Make your life greener

Reduce-reuse-recycle…repeat! Set a monthly or bi-monthly goal for yourself towards a greener lifestyle. See some of our tips and ideas. And don’t forget to teach your children and engage them in your sustainable activities.

New Year’s Resolutions Made Simple Teach kids to recycle

 

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Author:Michele Fulkerson

Our contributing writer and mom, is a certified Yoga and Pilates instructor with focus on assisting her clients in discovering balance through a mind & body transformative practice; owner and operator of a wellness studio in Los Angeles and yoga studio in Rincon, Puerto Rico. Michele has contributed fitness and wellness articles for Shape and Women’s Adventure Magazine. She is also author of the e-book, Eco Fitness. Michele has enjoyed the opportunity to host Pilates, Yoga, and Eco-fitness retreats in both the US and Caribbean. She is also proud to be an ambassador for Doce Vida Fitness.

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