Another year is over, and we’re on to the next as life marches forward.
Perhaps like many people, you have a list of things you want to do in 2015 that will make you a better person or make your life better in some way.
Personal improvement is always a worthy goal as it inevitably leads to good things directly and indirectly. When you better yourself, the benefits often affect those you interact with in life, and often their circle as well.
For example, a mother of three children who is clinically obese decides to once and for all get down to a healthy weight, and with grit and determination accomplishes it with flying colors by the end of the year. Now she has the energy, mobility and vitality that will enable her to actively participate in her childrens’ lives, strengthening her relationship with them. She also set a powerful example of what will and determination can achieve, and the importance of living healthy. This will have a lasting impression on her children and will motivate them to achieve success in their own lives.
Or, consider the boss who decides to change his ways and manage his employees with more compassion rather than by being authoritative and abusive. Those moms and dads, who used to vent their stress to their kids, will be in a better mood and the whole family benefits.
So remember, when you set personal improvement goals for yourself and achieve them, you are doing something good not only for yourself, but those whose lives you impact.
With that, here are four New Years Resolutions that can have a profound, positive effect on your life:
1. Early to bed, early to rise. If you are a night owl, change your routine: go to bed at 10:30 pm and get up at 6:00 am. Early morning is the time of the day when the brain is most coherent. This, combined with the peace and solitude makes early morning a great time to focus on life’s priorities and the day’s agenda.
Those who sleep in as late as they can with no room to spare take about 30 minutes just to get going before they actually start working, which is wasteful and inefficient. Imagine the hundreds of lost hours of productivity a whole year of this routine causes! There is also that morning stress of rushing breakfast (bad for digestion), frantically getting your things together (which often results in forgetting something) as you rush out the door, and stressing over being late to work while stuck in traffic.
When you get up early, you can get a workout in and organize your day ahead of time so you can be more productive. Over time this habit can really be life-changing– you’ll accomplish more things and will free up more time for yourself by getting things done early and spending less time fixing emergencies caused by poor planning and mental errors.
2. Treat exercising like an ordinary activity instead of an event. Get in the habit of doing “mini-exercise” sessions in your office or home throughout the day. Oftentimes life gets too busy and we forget to exercise or it gets pushed aside as other demands take precedence. Well, instead of waiting till lunch or after work to exercise, why not spread it out in short increments throughout your day?
You don’t have to do 90 minute exercise sessions or intensive cardio classes to benefit from exercise. Doing 5-10 minute sessions every hour or two, in your regular work clothes if possible, can be beneficial as well. Squats, lunges, planks, light barbells, isometrics and calisthenics are exercises that don’t need much space or preparation. If you miss your main exercise session, at least you got some exercise in at work.
Here is a video of some of these exercises. Just go for it without thinking too much about it.
3. Reduce your e-time/ get unplugged more often. You see it everywhere in public — people fixated on their smart phones checking email, texting, checking their Facebook account, watching videos or playing games; people typing away on their laptops at Starbucks…kids playing on their mom’s ipad. It’s scary to think what all this increased exposure to electromagnetic radiation might be having on our health.
This year, make it a point to reduce your smartphone usage. After all, when was the last time you missed something absolutely critical because you did not check your email? If someone has something truly important to tell you, he/she should call and not be upset if a text or email doesn’t get an immediate response from you. People these days are spending too much time on their electronic gadgets and aren’t aware of it.
As an alternative, set times in the day where you will give yourself some e-time to check email and Facebook such as after lunch and after dinner, for 30 minutes. That’s one hour a day of e-time, which is a lot. You’ll have less eye strain, less anxiety and will have more time to experience and enjoy the real world with all its sights, sounds and smells.
4. Spend more time with the people in your life you care about the most; tell them how much you appreciate them. Now that you are spending less of your time on your smartphone, connect with the people closest to you more often — your spouse, children, siblings, parents, uncles and aunts and good friends. Tell them how much you appreciate them; even if it’s just a quick five minute call.
Think, right this moment, how you would feel if you received a phone call that ___ had died suddenly. You realize you will never have the chance to say all those things you wanted to say to that person. Don’t set yourself up for a lifetime of regret. Take the small emotional risk, and the return will be ten-fold.
That’s it! I know there are many other good New Year resolutions out there; these are ones that I personally believe get a lot of “bang for the buck” and that apply to a lot of people these days.
Do you agree that these four simple things can make life a lot better? Let me know in the comments!