*Today’s guest post is by Evelyn Kail, editor of the health and fitness website, garagegymplanner.com.
There’s no question that by this time, a lot of people have given up on their New Year’s resolutions. But even though we’re already several weeks into the year, it’s not too late to start with a clean slate and work on improving our lives. If you’re wondering how to go about it, here are 11 sure-fire ways to improve your life significantly this 2017.
1) Add to your skills.
There’s no reason to stop learning, especially now that there are countless options open to us. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to paint or create a video game. Why not enroll in an online course or watch tutorials on YouTube? You can even go the traditional route and attend classes at your local college.
2) Aim for quality sleep.
It’s not just the number of hours of sleep that’s important. The quality of our sleep is also crucial for our well-being. Luckily, there are numerous ways to improve our slumber. Having a high-quality mattress and dim lighting helps. Some might benefit from playing ambient sounds or by spraying the bed sheets with a soothing fragrance, like lavender.
3) Start working with your hands.
Renowned actor Nick Offerman once said that America would be a stronger nation if its citizens learn to make things with their hands. It’s also a great way to remove stress and relax. Choose something that you’ll find enjoyable like crocheting a sweater, baking a cake, or finishing a model kit. You’ll be amazed at how happy and proud you’ll feel of the end product.
4) Begin a journal.
A journal is a great way to clear your head, focus on your goals, or work through your problems. Don’t worry about not being able to write like Neil Gaiman. Just jot down your feelings and thoughts on paper. Then you can either forget about what you wrote or read through and reflect on it. Always keep a notebook and pen handy. You can write before going to sleep or as soon as you wake up.
5) Just say no.
We often find ourselves doing something we’re not interested in, whether it’s going to a bar on Friday night or jogging on Sunday morning. It’s perfectly fine and acceptable to just say no if you don’t want to go. Even though you don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings, you should also consider your feelings. Your friend might be happy that you went with her for a run, but it’s ultimately pointless if it results in you losing your workout motivation or feeling tired and resentful.
6) Delve into a different book genre.
Sir Francis Bacon believed that “reading maketh a full man.” Aside from trying to read more this year, expand your horizons and check out titles from genres you don’t usually read. You might be surprised at what you’ll find.
7) End your smartphone addiction.
A lot of people spend hours on their smartphones, texting, tweeting, or posting on Instagram. While the device is useful, your life will be so much better if you nip your dependence on it in the bud. Instead of checking your phone when you’re bored, sad or stressed, try another activity. Commit to not using your phone for an hour or so and do something else, like spending an hour in the garden.
8) Step back and take a break.
We don’t always have the time or money to go out of the country. Going on a short trip somewhere nearer can be just as rejuvenating and fun. Head out to another city during the weekend or visit a renowned tourist destination in your area. The important thing is for you step back from the daily grind and take a well-earned break.
9) Find an exercise that you love.
There’s no point in doing an exercise or a sport that you hate. You’ll just lose your workout motivation and derail your health goals. If running or weightlifting doesn’t appeal to you, look for another activity. How about yoga or Frisbee in the park? Even something as simple as walking for 30 minutes is better than just sitting in front of your desk the whole day.
10) Add more (healthy) food to your diet.
You don’t have to deprive yourself of a favorite dish when you go on a diet. Instead of giving up pasta, add a healthy salad to go with it. Eating healthy doesn’t necessarily mean saying goodbye to all the delicious food that you love. The trick is to find a way to incorporate more fruits, grains, and vegetables to your meals.
11) Bask in compliments and accept criticism.
A lot of people find it hard to accept compliments and criticism. Most would make excuses or belittle themselves when complimented and get defensive when criticized. This year, smile and say thank you when someone compliments you and try to return the gesture. Listen to another’s criticism of you and reflect on it first instead of automatically getting defensive.
There are other ways to make your life better this 2017. But start with these 11 and see. You don’t have to make big changes to eat healthier or feel more motivated to workout.
Evelyn helps people to live a happy and healthier life. She is an established Health and Fitness author (over 12 years of experience) and editor of garagegymplanner.com. She also loves writing about people and inspirational stories.