It’s 2018, and many of you will already be making headway with your New Year resolutions. Well done, and may you find success. Of course, like many people, you may have started with good intentions and then given up at the first hurdle. The cold weather has probably already played havoc with your morning jog, for example, and your healthy eating plan may have been hindered by the baking leftovers you are still eating from the Christmas holidays. Whatever the case, it’s never too late to make a change to your lifestyle, no matter what time of year it is. Not only can a few small changes positively affect your health but they also open you up to new experiences. So, with that in mind, let’s forget the bad lifestyle choices you made in previous years and instead focus on the positive changes you can make today.
1. Turn off the television
TV is awesome, and there is so much to watch, especially if you’re prone to a Netflix binge now and there. Still, there is more to life than Gilmore Girls and Friends (the tv show, not your actual friends), so why not quit the tv and do something different with your life. Read a book, learn a new skill, get outdoors… There is so much you can do with your life other than remaining glued to your television screen day in and day out. If you really don’t want to miss a show, highlight the ones you want to watch and set yourself a specific time of the day to sit in front of the box. Then, use the rest of your free time to enjoy experiences that are not confined to the Isles of Westeros, or on the streets of your favorite soap opera. Don’t just watch life, live it!
2. Be social
How many friends do you have? If the answer is over 1000, you’re likely relying on Facebook for your social circle, and that isn’t healthy at all. After all, how many of them are “real” friends, and which ones are people you met once in a bar, thought it would be fun to add them, and then forgot who on earth they were? In a way, we are telling you to ditch social media, especially if you have neglected face-to-face contact with your genuine friends because of it. Yes, you may have “liked” the picture of the sandwich they made last night but that isn’t a real conversation. Instead, hang out with your buddies more,or pick up the phone instead of asking your friend “How r u?” on whatever social platform you choose. Of course, if you are short of friendships right now, you can still do something about it. Join a club or take a night school class and meet new people who share similar interests as you. Then, post your achievement online so we can “like” what you have done!
3. Cut out bad habits
You can probably second-guess the bad habits I’m going to mention here. Smoking and alcohol! While it’s predictable to advice giving them up in articles like this, it’s still a wonder that people still need to be advised on these primarily unhealthy habits. You already know the effects of smoking – bad for your breathing, risk of cancer, dental hygiene – and alcohol is bad for your liver and dangerous when driving. But there are other health conditions linked to both. Ever needed treatments for heartburn? The condition may well have been brought on by both smoking and drinking alcohol. Did you know smoking can also lead to incontinence? Were you aware that drinking too much alcohol can permanently age you? Well, you know now. Think of the money you will save by quitting or cutting down, giving you more money for the necessities and luxuries that you need/want in your life.
4. Start saying ‘no’
This may already be a skill you have picked up, but if your lifestyle is frantic and needlessly busy, chances are you need a few lessons in replying in the negative. You’re not Superwoman, after all; you can’t possibly do everything. So, think of all the things you have agreed to do, such as giving lifts to other parents’ kids to school, looking after your friend’s kids, taking on more hours at work, and so on. And start saying “no.” Yes, you may feel guilty for turning somebody down, and, yes, you may not mind at all taking on an extra responsibility, but if you are tired, have no time for yourself, and are approaching burnout, you need to get a handle on saying that tiny little word… NO!
5. Start saying ‘yes’
You probably think I’m contradicting myself here but bear with me. While there are times when saying “no” is necessary, there may be times when you need to say “yes.” What do I mean? Well, have you ever been asked to go to a party and said “no” because you feel awkward in social circles? Or, has your boss ever asked you to try something new at work, but you have said no, afraid you would make a mess of things? Later on, you may have regretted saying no, and wished you had the courage to reply in the positive. Therefore, perhaps it’s time you start saying “yes” today, taking risks and pushing yourself into experiences that may actually benefit you rather than hinder you. Of course, your comfort zone is sometimes there for a reason, so rely on your good judgement. However, if there is the chance you will meet new people, discover new skills, and enjoy life more, then allow yourself to say that other tiny word… YES!
6. Ditch the negative people in your life
There are all kinds of people in our lives, and we can’t always avoid some of them. Close family and people at work are just two examples, and we have to get along with most of them. Still, there will be people in your life that you don’t need in your social circle. These are the people who put you down with criticisms and negative remarks. These are the people who shouldn’t have anything to complain about but who still wear you down with their constant tales of woe. These are the people who gossip, lead you into trouble and cause you to question your moral fiber. If these people are getting in the way of your daily life and hopeful optimism and sanity, ditch them! Tell them how you feel by all means, as standing up for yourself is always a positive move. However, if they don’t change their overbearing ways, move on from them. Even if they are your “friends,” question their friendship if all they do is make you feel bad. Find and stick with those people who make you feel good and support you unconditionally, and make sure you are a good friend to them, also. In short, don’t be that negative person yourself!
7. Ask for help
You may be too proud to ask for help, but that’s something you may need to change. Once again, you are not Superwoman, and you probably understand that yourself. So, stop conveying that perfect image, and seek help when you need it. On a medical level, there may be health conditions you know you require seeing your doctor soon. A counselor may also be a good idea, especially if you are finding life a struggle at the moment. Then there are your friends and family, who may be willing to help, if only you had the courage to speak to them. Talk to your boss at work too, especially if there are any aspects in your workplace that you need assistance with. It’s not healthy to say nothing, particularly when you are struggling to cope, so open your mouth and cut down your pride.
8. Have a positive attitude
Life is tough, I get it! Sometimes, we have the right to complain and cry, and that’s okay. However, if you always focus on the negative, and don’t remember gratitude for what you have in your life, you are going to become one of those negative people I told you to avoid earlier. If you need help, then ask for it! But, if you constantly find yourself walking around with a cloud over your head, and repeating negative patterns of thought, turn them around into something positive. Instead of saying “I’m useless,” for example, focus on what you are good at. There will always be challenges in life, but you won’t overcome them without a little positive action to make things better for yourself.
Has this discussion struck a nerve with you? Did any of the above relate to where you are in your life? If so, then start to make changes today. While you may not see the results of these changes overnight, you should hopefully see a marked difference in your life in the days, weeks, and months to come. Thanks for reading.