Have you ever made an unrealistic New Year’s resolution and then ended up feeling disappointed or defeated when you didn’t succeed in keeping it? This year, try to take a more realistic and light-hearted approach to feeling happy and healthy. Here are a few simple New Year’s initiatives that you can incorporate into your everyday routine to promote well-being.
Let Go of “Perfection”
Our culture is unhealthily obsessed with self-help and self-improvement. If you find yourself caught up in this trend, then it’s time to let go of the idea that you must always be striving to improve and perfect your life. Letting go of “perfection” will allow you to be “in the moment,” relax, and feel contented and satisfied with the gifts you have today.
Smiling is good for you! When you smile, your brain releases mood-enhancing chemicals like dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin. Smiling can even lower your heart rate and blood pressure and reduce your body’s stress response during a difficult or unpleasant situation. One study found that smiling is actually contagious and people instinctually smile back when they see a smiling face.
Try A New Activity
To maintain health, adults are advised to complete 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity weekly plus strength training two times per week. Ensure that you get enough exercise by spicing up your fitness routine with new activities. Go for activities that get you outside or get your heart pumping. Try a Zumba or yoga class, pick up a tennis racket, start gardening, or go for a hike on a new trail. It may be a good idea to consult with a physician before beginning a new exercise routine.
Cook Something Outside of Your Comfort Zone
Sometimes we don’t eat well because we make the same foods over and over or crave familiar snacks. Get outside of your comfort zone and expand your dietary horizons with new ingredients and recipes. This year try cooking a new recipe each week. One idea is to prepare the most colorful meal you can by finding a range of colorful produce items. You can also try a meat-free meal based on lean proteins like legumes or lentils. Or try preparing a meal around a nutritious piece of fish, such as salmon.
What small changes will you make to be happier and healthier this year? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.