We’re almost two months into 2018, and by now we’ve almost 100% fallen back on our New Years’ Resolutions. If the idea of going to the gym five days a week, drinking nothing but water, and deep-cleaning your house once a week seems like a long-gone thought, you’re not alone. We at XX are firm believers that you don’t have to wait until January 1st to make some changes. In fact, there’s plenty you can start right now!
DEVELOP POSITIVE THINKING:
It’s so hard to do this sometimes, especially cause we Trinis tend to have a pessimistic streak within us. To be honest, we can’t expect our lives to change or to be able to better ourselves if our thinking remains the same – and while thinking positively won’t guarantee your success, it’ll motivate you along the way.
TRY THIS: When you feel a negative thought come along (we get it, it happens naturally!), stop yourself and make a mental (or physical) note of it, and then make the effort to think positively about the same situation. At the end of every week, look back on all your negative thoughts and notice any patterns – then work towards changing that.
EXERCISE TO FEEL GOOD, NOT JUST LOOK GOOD:
Yeah, we get it. Looking good is definitely a huge motivator, especially in the land of fete, where many of us go out on the road for two days in nothing more than a panty and bra. For years, I chased my perfect body (always disappointingly never achieving it) for the same reason, and then the moment I decided to look at exercise as a way to make me happier and more confident, I noticed more changes in my body. Not only does exercise release endorphins that make you feel happier, but it’s an amazing stress-reliever, and best of all, time that you’re making for yourself to do something to better yourself.
TRY THIS: Start by trying out a new sport or type of exercise – maybe tennis, or kickboxing, or just going for a walk around the Savannah. On more stressful weeks, make the effort to find the time to go, and note if your mood changes. But remember… it won’t be an overnight switch!
PUT DOWN THE SOCIAL MEDIA:
Ok we’re not saying deactivate your Instagram or Facebook accounts – but make an effort once a week to spend a day off of social media, or technology in general.
You can go back to maco-ing pictures tomorrow, but for today, commit to being present with your friends and family, or just for your own mental health.
TRY THIS: Don’t believe how many hours you’re wasting mindlessly on social media? Try downloading an app that tracks your phone usage – and then use your phone and social media regularly for the day. At the end of the day, take a look at the numbers – you may realize you’ve wasted hours of productivity mindlessly scrolling.
DRINK MORE WATER:
Water is hands down the most important thing we can give our bodies. It helps our bodies function right, it helps us to lose weight, it helps us to feel our best. Yet, most of us don’t drink enough. You’ll find once you start drinking water, you’ll start feeling better, looking younger and functioning better. In fact, drinking more water has even been linked to clearing up skin issues – so you’ll be looking better and brighter in no time.
TRY THIS: Buy a reusable water bottle to constantly fill up and drink throughout the day. Try drawing markers on it for each hour of the day, so that you encourage yourself to drink more. Keep forgetting? Download a water-tracker app to remind you to drink water every hour or two.
GO TO BED AN HOUR EARLIER:
Sleep – it’s a vital function and yet somehow we never manage to get enough. But too little sleep can result in drowsiness, weight gain, skin issues, health issues, and just low productivity in general. Make a commitment to getting to bed an hour earlier, at least during the week, so you’re not falling asleep on yourself every day.
TRY THIS: Set an alarm to remind you to stop what you’re doing at night and get to bed. This means no TV, no cell phone, nothing but actively laying in bed to fall asleep.
KEEP A JOURNAL:
And no, we don’t mean that “dear diary” secondary-school-drama-filled journal! Spending ten minutes every night writing about your day – the good, the bad, the ugly – can be an amazing way to self-reflect on what’s going on in your life, what you’re feeling and what you’re experiencing. Make it a part of your nightly bedtime routine, so it becomes second nature.
Plus, how cool would it be to be able to look back on an entire year or years of your life?
TRY THIS: Buy a blank notebook and keep it under your pillow or near your bedside. Write about the events of your day. If you’re stumped, google journal prompts to encourage you to write about other events – places you want to go, things you want to experience, life goals you want to accomplish. Then write!
This is always a tough one because it’s so much easier to order fast food than it is to cook a healthier, home-cooked meal. But making the effort to cut out processed foods, unhealthy fats or unnecessary sugars and chemicals will not only make you feel better, but in turn help you to look your best.
TRY THIS: Start by reading the nutrition labels the next time you’re grocery shopping, and see just what’s in your favorite snack. It’s okay to still treat yourself, but make yourself aware so that putting these not-so-great ingredients into your body becomes a rare thing and not an everyday occurrence.
KEEP TRACK OF YOUR SPENDING:
The financial times aren’t the best right now – yet it’s still easy to fall into the trap of spending money unnecessarily or without even realizing where it’s going. Make the effort to write down every purchase – no matter how big or small – to see where your money is really going. And at the end of the month, re-assess and see how you can cut back.
TRY THIS: Create a separate savings account to transfer money into each month – that way you know whatever money you’re spending is pre-approved. Download budget tracking worksheets online and sit through with your family to see how you can cut back.
We’re all guilty of it. The alarm goes off, we say “okay, five more minutes” and we’re back into deep sleep before we even know it. How many times have you slept through an appointment or ran late for work because of a simple press of the snooze button? While it’s easier said than done, make the commitment to get up as soon as that first alarm goes off.
TRY THIS: When your alarm goes off, count to ten seconds and then get out of your bed and drink a glass of water. Once your feet are off the ground and you’ve had water, you’re less likely to climb back into bed, and you can start your day right away.
Yep, this one is really that simple. Smile.
Smiling and laughing have been shown to have health benefits on both your mind and body, and scientists say that smiling on purpose can help you to feel better.
So even when you’re not feeling the best, the process of just putting a smile on your face can change your brain chemistry and lead to feeling actual, genuine happiness.