We’re all for setting ambitious goals here at Hint. That’s why we love new year’s resolutions so much. They’re a great way to reset, refresh, and make those changes we’ve been trying to implement for so long. But sometimes, a few small tweaks here and there are the best way to accomplish your objectives. After all, one of the main reasons resolutions fail is that they’re too grand, too vague, and, most importantly, not based on forming new habits. We’ve rounded up our seven favorite small steps anyone can take to make life healthier, happier, and more fulfilling.
Go to Bed a Little Bit Earlier
It may seem obvious, but getting to bed earlier than you normally do is harder than it sounds. When you’ve been at the office late, still need to squeeze in a workout in order to maintain your New Year’s resolution, then have to figure out dinner when you get home, and (of course) need to decompress after all of those to-dos, the clock can strike midnight before you know it. That’s why we propose setting aside one night a week on which you get to bed an hour earlier than normal. Don’t be too strict about when it has to happen either. If you think about it, on any given week we inevitably have a free night when we just end up watching TV or surfing the web. When that night comes, instead of catching up on The Bachelor or scrolling through Instagram, tuck into bed with a cup of tea and a good book. You’ll be catching some extra zzz’s in no time.
Sleep In One Day a Week
By the same token, sleeping in is totally okay—and really important! I’ve always had trouble sleeping past 7:30 a.m., no matter how late I get to bed. And I’ve always been jealous of my friends who can sleep until 10 a.m. in the morning. But I’ve found that the simple act of lying in bed after I’ve woken up enables me to fall back asleep for another hour or so. And I always wake up feeling more refreshed than I would have otherwise. Sometimes I have to read a little bit to lull my brain back to sleep, but it’s always worth it, and even that little rest has value. So take it from me: you can force yourself to sleep in! An even just one extra day of a little extra sleep can go miles towards making you feel better for the rest of the week.
Get a Real Alarm Clock
Too many of us go to bed with our phone in our hand and wake up with a screen in our face. The primary reason for this is the fact that our phone doubles as our alarm clock. Giving yourself some space from emails, social media, and the news is refreshing and centering. So head to your favorite home goods store and purchase a real alarm clock—you won’t regret it.
Cook One New Recipe a Month
Variety is the spice of life. And there’s nothing like the sense of accomplishment you get from successfully trying your hand at a new recipe that you can add to your repertoire. But it’s so easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to cooking. Understandably, we’re too busy to get the ingredients, work our way through a new recipe, and clean up afterwards. Making food from scratch is also much healthier than ordering in or “cooking” something pre-made. It doesn’t have to be a chore either. One great way to make sure you’re regularly cooking new dishes is to recruit a friend or loved one to join you on your culinary journey. Making it a regular event will enable you to keep up a regular cadence, and before you know it, you’ll have a whole suite of new recipes to cook for your next potluck.
Get Outside Once a Week
We know it may be freezing, raining, or just plain meh where you are, so the last thing you want to hear is that you should be spending more time in the chilly winter air. But the truth is, it’s really good for you!
Indulge a Little
Seriously. There’s something about the new year that can feel so austere. All of these new rules, regulations, and restrictions that are the exact opposite of the holiday months that preceded it. It’s the yin to the yang of the holiday season. But forbidding yourself to enjoy small morsels of pleasure is a surefire way to find yourself breaking your New Year’s resolutions before the month has even ended. So make sure you reward yourself for sticking to your new goals by indulging in a little something a few weeks in. Whether that’s enjoying your favorite croissant, going out for a fancy meal with your friends, or taking yourself out on a mini shopping spree, do it! Life is too short to play by the rules all the time.
Engage in a Simple Act of Kindness
If you’re anything like us, the best part of the holiday season was finding the perfect gifts for our loved ones. There is no greater joy than doing something nice for someone else. But it’s even better when the do-gooding is unexpected. So while it may have felt a bit obvious in December, making a point to do something nice and unexpected for someone else every so often will make you a happier and contribute to your emotional well-being. It doesn’t have to be something extravagant either. It can be a simple as buying coffee for the person behind you in line, paying the toll for the next car, or getting flowers for a friend.
What are you doing to live a healthier life in 2017? Tell us in the comments below!