This being a beauty blog, you might expect my New Year's resolutions to include things like "learn to draw a cat eye" or "get a monthly blowout". But not this year!
Here are the 10 health and wellness goals I'll be sticking to, for beauty from the inside out:
1. Smile More
Seriously, it'll make you happier. Psychology researchers have found that by cultivating an optimistic mindset, you can actually increase your level of happiness.
2. Increase Your Daily Steps
According to a recent motion-tracking study, the average obese person takes only 1,500 steps daily—whereas an active lifestyle should generate at least 5,000 steps. In fact, healthy women in their 20s should be aiming for 10,000 daily steps. Get yourself a cheap pedometer or a fancy fitness tracker (I use Jawbone Up24) and start counting!
3. Stop Slouching
Poor posture is bad. We all know this—but did you know it can lead to all sorts of suffering, including depression, low circulation and back pain later in life? Fix your posture by bracing your core (imagine connecting your navel with your spine), pushing your shoulders back and letting your chest rise slightly. While you're at it, swap out those heels once in awhile, will ya?
4. Go On a Digital Detox
It's easier said than done, but taking a physical break from all things digital can give you many benefits, including better sleep and breaking free of #FOMO (fear of missing out). Keeping tech devices out of your bedroom is hard, but putting down your phone at least an hour before bedtime will do wonders for your rest.
5. Drink More Water
Drinking water is an essential life habit. I will readily admit that I suck at this, but I've slowly been improving by finding safe bottles I like (such as Nalgene and Bobble), keeping one with me everywhere I go and making water my primary beverage. Setting reminders and publicly sharing your goal for accountability (and peer support!) can also help make it a habit. I like Habit Maker for randomized non-invasive reminders.
6. Stand Up
Sitting is the smoking of our generation and yes, it is killing us. If you're a desk jockey, schedule 10 minutes every hour to get up, stretch, or take a walk to help negate the side effects of being cubicle-bound.
7. Keep a Food Diary
If you're trying to shed a few pounds ('tis the season), keeping a food journal is a great way to assess your eating habits and determine areas for improvement. Apps like MyFitnessPal can help you record every cookie that sneaks into your workday. Public sharing can add an extra element of accountability, and therefore motivation.
8. Get Your Heart Rate Up
Do I really need to sell you on the benefits of cardiovascular exercise? If you can't take the January gym crowds, try doing 10-minute stair sprints, 200 jumping jacks, a workout app, or a run with the dog. Make 2015 the year you stop making excuses for not exercising—a one-hour workout is only four percent of your day!
9. Slow Down
The act of being present (keeping your attention in the current moment) can reduce anxiety, stress and even depression. You can practice mindfulness through meditation. My favourite guide is by Leo Babauta at Zen Habits, and the Stop, Breathe & Think app for daily practice.
10. Let it Go!
Stress ages you, so move on! Find ways to release your stress by changing, avoiding, adapting to or accepting your stressors. Whether you prefer to address issues head-on or burn off your frustration at the gym, healthy coping strategies are essential for stress management. Unstuck is a great app that helps you clarify your sources of stress sources and come up with an action plan. They have an amazing blog with more tips, too!
Have Your Say
What are YOUR beauty and health resolutions? Do any of these resonate with you?