Nearly half of us make a New Year’s resolution each and every year. But alas, nearly 75% of those resolutions are doomed to failure. Why not increase the odds of success this season by adopting one of these 13 quick-and-easy resolutions?
1. Fix your posture
As you sit in your chair, lengthen upwards, ease your shoulders back, and pull your belly button in towards your spine. Fitness pro Jessica Smith says doing this at least once a day will help align your muscles and ward off back pain.
2. Sweat through the ads
Smith also recommends doing squats, lunges, and planks during at least one commercial break per TV-watching session. Those two minutes of toning may not seem like much, but can really make a difference in muscle strength, especially if you commit to doing this at least three times a week.
3. Eat your greens
Maybe you can’t commit to a full diet overhaul, but it shouldn’t be too hard to add a veggie such as spinach, kale, or broccoli to your lunch or dinner plate. One British Medical Journal study found adding just one and a half servings of leafy greens per day can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by 15%.
4. Reduce fizz
Again, little diet changes can really add up. Replace one, 20-ounce soda with a glass of water and you’ll save 240 calories. If you make this swap every single day, that’s a potential 25 pounds lost, or at least, not gained, per year!
5. Buy a song
Take a sec to download that tune that’s been stuck in your head. Researchers at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine in Baltimore say listening to joyful music has a healthy effect on blood flow and heart function.
6. Download a useful app
Want to eat healthier? Check out Fooducate, an app that scans barcodes to give you insight into a product’s nutrition. Need to get your finances in order? Try Mint, an app that organizes your finances into easy-to-understand visuals. If you can dream it–there’s an app for that.
7. Get organized
Here’s a great tip from personal efficiency expert, Kerry Gleeson: Start your day by making a list of everything you need to do. Next, rate each task in order of importance using letter grades: A for the most pressing all the way through D for the things that can wait. Then, number all of the “A” tasks in order of priority. Finally-–get cracking. Dedicate at least 30 minutes to task A1 before moving on to the next item on your list.
Let your mind wander. Studies show that it’s good for the creative process and can even sharpen up your working memory. So instead of stressing whenever you’re stuck on a sticky problem at home or at work, let your brain meander for a few moments–inspiration just might strike.
9. Laugh more
A good belly laugh releases endorphins, “the feel-good brain chemicals,” so you feel happier and more relaxed a new Oxford University study finds. Watching just 15 minutes of comedy with others increased the pain threshold by an average of about 10%.
10. Get moving
Studies suggest that moving around more during your day can help you reach your weight loss goals. Aim to increase your activity level one minute at a time. You can do this by taking the stairs, getting up from your chair more often, and by taking an extra lap around the office.
11. Close the loop
Ever notice how an open ended email like, “where should we meet?” generates dozens of time-wasting responses? Efficiency experts advise “closing the loop” to curtail unnecessary back and forth. In this example, take the initiative and shave minutes off your day by writing something like, “Meet you underneath the red sign at the information booth, 12:00 sharp!”
12. Stop procrastinating
A decade long study revealed that in 1978 only 5% of Americans thought of themselves as chronic procrastinators. Today, 26% of us do–although we bet a lot of people never got around to filling out the survey. So hop to it! If a task will take a minute or less to complete–just do it.
Meditation clears your head and, as one recent study showed, it can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression. You don’t need to spend an hour meditating by candlelight either. Simply find a quiet spot, close your eyes and take 10, deep, full breaths. If you need a little help, check out the Breathpacer iPhone app.
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