20 Low Effort Resolutions
It remains our belief that the start of January isn’t the best time to make changes – often sacrifices – in an effort to improve your life. It’s the coldest, darkest month. You’ve just come off the back of a long and indulgent holiday. You’ve been mentally relaxed with friends and family (hopefully). Adding in some hard to achieve resolutions might not be the best move right now. Instead, we usually recommend starting resolutions on the day the UK clocks move forward an hour. This year it’s the 27th of March. The evenings become lighter, spring is in the air and the booking of a summer holiday – or even the prospect of baring more flesh soon – will be an added incentive.
But for now, here are 20 low-effort resolutions that will make your life healthier and happier in the new year.
1 – Eat a vegetable or fruit with every meal. Even McDonalds does salads now and you could add in a side of coleslaw or yogurt with fruit.
2 – Keep your phone in a different room when you go to bed, preferably on another floor! Buy an alarm clock. This avoids the temptation to be on a screen before lights out which is proven to disrupt sleep.
3 – Read a book or magazine before bedtime and, as above, keep tablets downstairs or in another room. You’ll be much more likely to get a good night’s sleep.
4 – If you feel tired or sluggish at work try the Pomodoro technique: a system of 25 minutes on, five-minutes off, and repeat. This also works great for any sort of practice, like guitar or piano.
5 – Take the stairs if there are any.
6 – Don’t talk yourself out of exercise. Just think about the very start. Step one is to put your trainers on. Step two is to do a 5 to 10-minute structured warm-up. That’s all you have to think about. Do those two things and good things will follow.
7 – Eat meat once a week or less if possible.
8 – Do some strength training. Even 10 minutes of basic bodyweight exercises twice a week will be more beneficial than hours of cardio.
9 – Go walking without your phone, especially on the weekend.
10 – If you have a journey of less than a mile walk or cycle. This will be good for you and will also greatly reduce pollution as cars produce the most when they’re not warmed up at the start of the journey.
11 – Call an old friend but you haven’t spoken to you for a while. Studies of societies (blue zones) that have the healthiest and most elderly populations show that close societal contacts and group activities are an essential part of being healthy and happy in old age.
12 – Join a club or society. This could be a library, Zumba class, walking group, ukelele group or anything else! See above for the huge benefits of social contact.
13 – Be sure to include treats and indulgences in your diet. Trying to be healthy all the time will end up backfiring as you will feel hungry and deprived.
14 – January doesn’t have to be dry! Just making some clever alcoholic swaps could save you many of the calories you’ve been having. For example, Prosecco has far fewer calories than white wine. A spirit and low-calorie mixer will also have a quarter of the calories as a beer.
15 – Consider swapping your office chair for Swiss ball. It will improve your posture and your core strength.
16 – Start using smaller plates for your main courses. Add in some colour (blue or red plates) and studies show that you will eat even fewer calories than you did before while feeling as full.
17 – If you plan on losing weight break it down into small manageable sections and try to put a deadline on it with an entry into your calendar. Remember the maximum amount of sustainable weight loss is 2 lb per week.
18 – When setting goals make sure they are finite, well defined, achievable, and within a specific timeframe. Writing them down helps as well.
19 – Progress is all that matters, not perfection or an aspiration to be perfect. Improvement is all that counts.
20 – Speak to yourself as you would like a friend to speak to you, so not in critical or negative terms.