Two things are inevitable come January: a new year and a landslide of resolutions. For many, a brand new calendar doubles as a clean slate for setting goals for self-improvement. Sadly, most New Year’s resolutions tend to go unfulfilled due to lofty goals with unrealistic timelines. By introducing a few daily habits into your life, you can effectively work towards meeting your 2016 goals.
JUGGLE: Reduce your jiggling by juggling
A crucial part of losing weight and getting healthy is staying motivated, and it’s difficult to stay committed to a daily routine when the results won’t be visible for a couple of months. Learning to juggle might be your solution. Juggling is no Pilates, but it is a quick thing you can do with any three objects each morning, and it isn’t loaded with results-oriented expectations the way exercise is. It sound silly, but it works in terms of learning to set aside time and consistently perform an activity each day. After a couple weeks of fooling around with apples while waiting on your toast, you’ll be surprised at the new skill you’ve acquired with such minimal daily effort and be curious about what else you can do for five minutes each morning. Doing squats or sit-ups while your coffee brews will feel like a substitution for your juggling and soon dedicating more time towards fitness, little by little, won’t feel like such a chore.
DOCUMENT YOUR SPENDING: Journal by numbers
This is perfect both for people who want to start saving money and for those who’d like to begin journaling more. Documenting the day can help you decompress, but deciding which details are important is a pain that often causes aspiring diarists to toss their notebook aside. Decide to write a dated, bullet point list of your purchases at the end of each day with whatever ballpark figures you can remember. Not only will you build a daily, albeit nontraditional, diary that you can refer back to in the future, you’ll be more conscious of your spending habits without the guilt and stress associated with flow charts and spreadsheets and start rethinking purchases while out and about.
LEARN THREE WORDS IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE: Home décor brought to you by the UN
Speaking a second language is a desirable skill, and it’s on almost everybody’s bucket list. As with anything desirable – like beauty or brains – it either takes an accident of birth or a fair bit of work. A terrific, inexpensive way to acquire a language is to incorporate vocabulary into your daily setting. Each day, look up the name of three items in your home whether it means finding the word for “dress” or the decidedly unglamorous word for “toilet”. Language learning is cumulative, and this is a quick way to build your new vocabulary. As you notice your proficiency-level increasing you’ll be motivated to find ways to expand on your existing knowledge. This exercise can be done mentally while brushing your teeth, but you could take it to “movie about a young woman in a foreign country” level and post colourful sticky notes around your living room as well.
RELAX: Take a chill…breath?
It’s safe to say that we’d all like a healthy and relaxed 2016. It’d be great if we could eliminate bills, deadlines, and incompetent people from our lives, but that’s not going to happen any time soon. Reminding yourself that there are factors outside your control is one good method, but sometimes you need a physical solution short of raiding your bar. A helpful technique for minimizing stress is the 4-7-8 breathing exercise. In order to relax, the process involves regulating your breathing by exhaling through the mouth, inhaling through your nose for four seconds, holding your breath for seven, and then exhaling for eight seconds. Sounds like a lot of counting, but it’s very soothing – plus focusing on all the counting and inhaling has the helpful side effect of distracting you from whatever’s on your mind.
Fish for compliments. Literally.
Grab a drink, turn on the TV for background noise, and write down compliments and inspirational words related to beauty, self-worth, hustling, education – whatever makes you feel good – on slips of paper. Find a cute mason jar and stick them in there. Put it on your bedside table or next to your keys and each morning before you leave the house literally fish for compliments. Go fishing before bed too if it’s been one of those days. You may feel self-conscious about the practice at first, but it will contribute to an increasingly positive and productive attitude. If you like, you can even pull a Charlotte York à la Sex and the City and scribble an affirmation across your mirror in lipstick. In the privacy of your bathroom, there’ll be no one to judge you.