Scrabble pieces on desk and spelling out “happy new year”

Habits for a Healthier Year

A new year represents new beginnings, fresh starts, and increased excitement for what’s to come and what can be. It brings forth a sense of energy that’s both refreshing and stimulating. It also seems a bit easier to start the year with good intentions: setting goals and making promises to ourselves. 

I don’t believe in creating “resolutions,” which seem to focus on fixing a negative problem. “According to U.S. News, approximately 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February.”  

However, I am a firm believer or setting positive goals and intentions. “A study by psychologist Gail Matthews found that people who wrote down their goals were 33% more successful in achieving them than those who did not.” 

If you don’t know where to start or fear that you will start only to fail a few weeks later, an easy way to begin is to focus on simple tasks that can have a positive impact throughout the year. Do you want to read more? If so, instead of starting with an aggressive goal of reading one book a week/month, set a goal of reading one page or chapter a day, either during a lunch break at work or before you lie down to sleep.

Think small.

Start by setting one to three goals that can help create more peace and tranquility in your life. Not more stress and anxiety.

Here are three habits for a healthier body, mind, and spirit:

Drink Water as Soon as You Wake Up
Kick-start your metabolism and rehydrate your body by drinking water as soon as you wake up.

"Put a full glass of water by your bed before you go to sleep each night. When your alarm goes off in the morning, literally sit up and start drinking. Drink 20 normal-sized sips of water.” - Jenna Wolfe: Fitness Expert, Personal Trainer, and Journalist

“When you wake up in the morning, the body tends to be slightly dehydrated. You haven’t had fluids for roughly eight hours, so drinking a couple of glasses when you first wake up will help rehydrate the body, allow for good digestion, and just get you going for the day.” - Paula Simpson, RNCP, Nutrition and Beauty Expert.

Start Each Day in Gratitude
Each day as you brush your teeth, drive to work, or get into bed at night, focus on three things you are grateful for and silently give thanks. It’s as easy as, “Thank you for (fill in the blank),” i.e. “Thank you for today.” “Thank you for a great night’s sleep.” “Thank you for my health.” 

“Gratitude is something that can be learned, practiced and developed, yielding a sense of well-being, optimism and happiness. Focus on being thankful for the things you have, rather than being bitter about what you don’t have. If you do this, you will start your morning off on a positive note and this sets the standard for a positive day.” - Dale Archer, M.D., Board-Certified Psychiatrist.

Get Rid of 25 Items Per Week
Sort through your email inbox, look in your nearest junk drawer, or go through a closet and get rid of a total of 25 items per week. Unsubscribe from unneeded emails; throw out old rubber bands, pens, receipts, take-out menus, etc.; or donate unused clothing, blankets, shoes, etc. 

Getting rid of the clutter in your home seems to be a key factor that you may not have realized is so important to your feelings of happiness. This process will help you overcome this important obstacle to your well-being.” - Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., ABPP, Professor Emerita of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Give it a try:

Start by drinking 20 sips of water each morning, practicing gratitude, and decluttering your life. If this seems like a lot, start by doing just one of these goals for one month.

Or think of one of your own simple and beneficial new habits that you can easily incorporate starting tomorrow.

Next month, add another goal to your daily schedule. And so on.

Think small and focus on simple tasks that can have a positive impact.

xx - Jen

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