It’s that time of year again, and yes, even the most carefree of us are doing a little bit of soul-searching. There is something about the end of the year that forces us to analyze our decisions, goals, achievements, opportunities and faults. In the same manner, we tend to make new, more improved resolutions with so few of them being kept even through January.
If you are determined that this is the year you are about to start a serious shift in your life, make sure to make a list of goals and new habits that are really important to you and that will serve your wellbeing in the long run. Also, make sure to pick the habits you can achieve, break down into smaller steps and track the progress of in order to stay on track. As the research published in the European Journal of Social Psychology suggests, it takes approximately 66 days for people to form a new habit, depending on their personality and other factors. By defining your priorities clearly and checking your progress regularly, you would be able to make healthier and more productive choices and keep them.
Here is our suggestion for seven of the most important habits you should lose and five new ones to adopt in order to achieve a happier, healthier and more productive lifestyle.
Stop Living In The Future
Fast-paced lifestyles have brought us to the point of anxious overthinking and planning 100 steps ahead. Although planning ahead can be effective to some extent, spending too much time thinking about the future, overthinking each possible outcome and future events leads to unwanted worry and anxiety. Make sure to remind yourself to stay in the present moment by adopting some of the habits we suggested below.
Stop Being Inactive
Sitting is the new smoking. If you are desk-bound at work, it doesn’t need to reflect on your spare time as well. While a certain amount of rest time is good for both your physical and mental health, too much of it can be immensely harmful. Sedentary lifestyle affects your weight, posture, bones, metabolism, and your mental health.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
We all find ourselves at times scrolling through our social media feed and looking at photos of people who seem to have it all – perfect looks, ideal careers, and great relationships. Aside from the fact that most of those photos only show the “polished” version of people’s lives, we need to understand that it’s completely pointless and a huge waste of time to compare ourselves to anyone else but ourselves. Because, we are all one of a kind, and as such, we excel in our own unique categories.
Stop Eating Unhealthy
You know how you feel energized and refreshed after a nutritious meal full of healthy fruits or vegetables, and how greasy junk food brings you down? Your body is your vehicle and it needs proper fuel. Feeding it garbage will result not only in sleepiness, but it can cause serious long-term damage to your physical and mental wellbeing.
Stop Not Having Time for Yourself
Running around and feeling overwhelmed all the time will get you to serious burnout. People that cannot set aside at least ten minutes to self-reflect, meditate, read, or write in a journal tend to suffer from exhaustion far more often. Your mind too needs a break every once in a while in order to serve you right. Pay attention to your inner self and set aside a couple of minutes to restart your brain by giving it a thought-free treatment and watch how it affects your memory and overall functioning of the brain.
Stop Stressing About Finding A Partner
Worrying about finding the one is not getting you anywhere near one. Your past experience has thought you this. It only increases your stress, anxiety and your neediness, which is the number one turn off. By being anxious about finding a partner you demonstrate that you feel unworthy and in desperate need of validation, which is too great of a burden for anyone to take.
Stop Denying Your Self-Worth
Having low self-esteem is one of the most limiting self-beliefs you need to get rid of if you want to achieve happiness, career advancement, or a great relationship. The way you feel about yourself is mirrored in all areas of your life. No one will ever respect nor value you, unless you do. If you want to achieve and have great things, start by allowing your self-worth first, and the rest will fall into place in no time.
Start Practicing Gratitude
The best way to achieve living in the now and appreciating even the little things is to be grateful. Write down in your journal a list of things, situations or people you are grateful for each day. Instead of complaining and focusing on the negative, this habit will inspire a more positive and healthier perspective that will soon enough result in you feeling better and having more motivation and optimism.
Start Walking For Fun
The reason why so many people start going to the gym in January and quit before the end of the month is that we tend to think big instead of thinking small. If following a strict, demanding workout routine seems too big of a step, try walking instead. In order to adopt it as a daily habit, keep track of your steps and set new challenges to meet each week. Add an element of fun to it by going on walking holidays every once in a while as they are a great way to move and explore new countries at the same time. My personal choice for years has been the Camino de Santiago – and I could not recommend it highly enough.
Start A Mindful Practice
Give your mind a rest and your room a makeover. Set up a nice and cosy part of the room to be your mindful sanctuary. There you can meditate, do yoga, practice mindful breathing or reading. Anything that will keep your mind from stressful overthinking and keep you in a state of blissful serenity.
Start Cooking Your Meals
Instead of always opting for takeaway as it seems much less of an effort, try to adopt cooking your own meals as a regular habit. At first it will be a bit more time consuming, but the more you get into the routine you will start to enjoy it tremendously. Aside from doing your body and mind a favour, preparing most of your meals at home is also a massive gain for your budget.
Start Seeing Your Support Group More Often
Make sure to spend some quality time with your loved ones at least once or twice a week. The love and support you receive from your friends and family uplifts you and creates a long-lasting positive effect on your mental and physical health. As the studies show, there are a great number of health benefits that result from nurturing strong and healthy relationships.