1. Move everyday. You don’t have to join an expensive gym or buy a ton of fancy equipment. Rather, make simple changes to your daily routine that allow you to move more often. Take the stairs instead of the elevator at work. Park your car in the furthest space from the store instead of the closest. Walk your dog daily instead of simply letting him out. Practice yoga!
2. Write in a gratitude journal. Splurge on a fancy journal and keep it on your nightstand. Every night just before you go to bed, jot down three things for which you are grateful on this day. They can be simple things, such as beautiful weather, no traffic on the way to work, or a delicious meal. If you had a terrific day, feel free to write more, but even on a terrible day, make sure you find three things to be grateful for. This ongoing exercise boosts your baseline mood and also helps you to appreciate life’s simple pleasures.
3. Cultivate relationships. Reconnect with old friends from high school or college. Have regular date nights with your significant other. Reconcile with an estranged family member. Unfortunately, the prevalence of Facebook and other social media sites in our lives have diluted our relationships. Make a commitment to nurture personal connections with the important people in your life. A “like” or a comment on your wall is not the same as a hug or a smile from an old friend. Good relationships are food for the soul.
4. Accept abundance in your life. Ask your boss for a raise. Start selling your artwork. Act on the business plan that has been swirling in your head for years. Abundance comes to those who are open to it. Know your worth and don’t settle for anything less than what you truly desire.
5. Create accountability for yourself. Whether it’s a coach, spouse, sibling, co-worker, or close friend, find someone in your life that you trust. Share your goals for the coming year with this person and assign reasonable dates by which to accomplish those goals. Ask that they check in on you around those dates and hold you accountable. Often, we will break the commitments that we make to ourselves, but it’s harder for us to break a commitment that we make to someone else.
6. Make self-care a priority. You spend so much time taking care of everyone else, that you don’t have a second for yourself. Make a commitment to end this cycle today. You will be a better mom, spouse, friend, or employee if you take care of yourself first. If you had some free time, what would you do? Maybe you would do yoga, get a massage, take a bubble bath, paint, or snuggle up with a good book. Make a list of the things you enjoy doing or new things you would like to try. Now start doing them.
7. Get more sleep. It will take some time for your body to adjust to a new sleep routine, so be patient. Aim for eight to nine hours every night. If you have to go to bed earlier, then do it. Sleep in on the weekends. Sneak in a short nap when you can. Make time for sleep. This is when your body repairs the damage that has occurred during the course of the day. There is almost nothing you can do that is more important for your health than getting adequate sleep.
8. Cook more meals at home. When you cook food yourself, you can control the amount and quality of the ingredients. You can also control the portion size. You will save a significant amount of money and inches off of your waistline. Furthermore, cooking with your family can be a meaningful way to spend time together.
9. Spend more time outside. Vitamin D is essential for good health and the sun provides the most abundant source. Additionally, if you are outside you are likely engaging in a physical activity of some kind. Another benefit of the outdoors is that feeling connected to nature has been shown to improve mood.
10. Drink more water. The reality is that most of us are chronically dehydrated. A number of conditions and illnesses are fueled by dehydration. The recommended daily intake of water is heavily debated in the nutrition community. The number of ounces your body needs depends on your weight, the amount of physical activity you engage in, and your climate. Drinking coffee, tea, alcohol, soda, and other sugary beverages causes the body to further dehydrate. Other culprits include cigarettes and certain medications. If any of these apply to you, note that your daily requirement of water will be even higher. Set yourself up for success by starting small. Make it a point to drink one additional glass of water a day for one week. Once you accomplish that, begin to drink two additional glasses of water, and so on.