Not to discredit the good spirit in which New Year’s resolutions are made, but the truth is that come February we’re all berating ourselves for not having lost the three kilos, run five kilometres or reduced our credit card debt.
So how about skipping the whole self flagellation exercise from the get-go by rather focussing on small, super-easy habits. Here’s to 2020 where easy does it is actually good enough.
(And there’s just 9, because 10 is just too even and serious a number!)
Go to bed earlier
The busy-tired-exhausted cycle is one we’re all familiar with. While too many people wear their busyness and lack of sleep like a badge of honour, sleep deprivation has far-reaching harmful effects on our overall health, wellbeing and performance. One of the best things you can do for yourself in 2020 is to try and get more sleep.
Experts reckon adults need between seven and nine hours a night. That may sound like a lot so start small, like going to bed 15 or 30 minutes earlier than you normally do.
Get a little help
We live in the age of the superhuman, where it’s not uncommon for people to work 16 hours a day, have a side hustle going, participate in endurance fitness events, all while having two young children and managing a home. If you’re one of those burning the candle at both ends like this, your body and mind will thank and reward you for giving it a bit of help in the form of a supplement, such as folic acid, Vitamin B or Essentiale Extreme.
Stretch while watching TV
It’s the year 2020 and surely nobody needs to be told that exercising is good for you. We know this, and what you choose to do with that information is up to you. An easier resolution is simply to do stretches while enjoying the latest binge-able Netflix series.
Cut down on sugar
Sugar is food enemy number one these days, with addiction-forming affects that are often likened to those of illegal drugs such as cocaine. Research has shown sugar consumption to be a major cause of obesity and chronic disease, one of the most serious being type 2 diabetes.
Cutting sugar out completely is difficult, which is why the good news is that you only need to cut down your sugar intake. Start with something completely manageable, such as reducing the amount of sugar you take in your coffee, swapping soda for water (even if it’s only every second time) and opting for dark chocolate over regular milk chocolate.
Clear the clutter
Unless you’ve been stuck in a very cluttered space for the past three years, you’ve likely heard of Marie Kondo, minimalism and how to bring more joy into your life. It’s certainly worth taking a leaf from her (best-selling) book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, even if you get into the habit of doing just this one thing this year. And that thing is to Find A Place For Everything! When your belongings each have a special home, a place where it lives, it makes it easier to store it there, and reduce the clutter. This applies to everything from paper clips to your child’s pram. Now that’s a resolution that will free your mind up!
Keep healthy snacks on hand
Quiz almost anybody and they’re likely to say that their biggest healthy eating challenge is when they get hungry and there’s nothing wholesome within reach. It’s easy to reach for a chocolate, a packet of chips or a sugary fizzy drink when the hunger pangs hit and cloud your judgement. Proactively curb the hangriness by keeping snacks like almonds, fruit, biltong or kale crisps in your bag or desk drawer.
Schedule play dates with yourself
Me-time would be great, but I don’t have time! Yes, we hear you but this is where you need to get serious about simply taking the time. Slot your me-time into your calendar as you would with any other appointment. Make it fun by calling it a play date, and use the time (even if it is just 30 minutes a week) to do something that gives you joy, be it reading, listening to music, going for a run, chatting to a friend or doing nothing at all.
Regularly taking time for yourself will ultimately make you happier, which means you’re a better parent, partner, employee and human being.
Theme for your year
Almost like a mantra, a theme for the year is what you would like to proactively focus on in the year ahead.
It serves to reflect the hope, ethos and mood of your year. Consider terms like confidence, resilience and independence for possible themes.
What could be easier than breathing? We’re doing all the time already, but breathing deeper – and thinking about the action as you do it – has a number of health benefits such as increasing your energy levels, improving posture, reducing inflammation and relaxing both mind and body. So just breathe. And then breathe deeper.