New year is a great time to take stock of what's happening in your life, to look back at what happened, what worked and what floundered and to look forward with hope for positive change.
It's a time to consider what we want (or need) to change and to figure out how to make it come about. So we've come up with a Top 10 list of new year resolutions.
Did your new year resolutions make out top 10 list?
New Year Resolution 1: Lose Weight
For women around the world it seems that losing weight is always very high on our new year resolution lists. Whether that is just a few kilos or more than 20 kilos, us girls (this writer included) has a desire to shed some weight and reshape our curvy figures.
With more and more medical and scientific research showing that a trim waist significantly reduces serious health risks such as cancer, heart attacks it makes sense to do what it takes to get our bodies into a healthier shape. The way to lose weight? It's a BIG SECRET! Healthy diet plans, exercise and increasing your metabolic rate.
New Year Resolution 2: Exercise
Regular exercise is another top list activity that we so often dream about making happen but reality seems to be working against us. But finding just 30 minutes a day is a perfect place to start. It's the habit of exercise which is most important to get into rather than the particular exercise itself. So starting with a 30 - 40 minute walk 5 - 7 days a week is an ideal way to create the healthy habit.
Exercise really is just all about movement, getting the blood going. So games with the kids and friends qualifies and builds relationships. Time spent walking with a loved one and having space to talk is exercise that includes the joys of friendship.
Getting into the routine of exercise and finding activities that give you pleasure will enhance daily life and make it easier to create the positive health change that you want.
New Year Resolution 3: Drink More Water
Drinking water is high on our list for a bundle of healthy reasons, including flushing toxins our of our systems, creating clear and glowing skin, letting us think more clearly and empowering us to exercise with better results.
The good news is that it doesn't have to be water that you consume, it's any healthy fluid such as tea, decaffeinated coffee even, fruit and vegetable juice, milk and sports drinks. So a mixture of drinks can get your fluids up and keep you hydrated. Just remember to keep the sugar and sodium content low and the health content up high.
New Year Resolution 4: Quit Smoking
I have to confess something here, I was a smoker for nearly 20 years and quit over a 12 month period so I am one of those 'reformed smokers'. Life IS so much better not smoking. I understand the argument of "but I enjoy it" but also know the reality of that was it was only the rare cigarette was the perfect smoke. Whereas the rest of the smokes were the down side of my addiction.
Freeing yourself from smoking is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself and those that love you that you can ever do.
Yes, there are some tough days involved but talking from experience there are far more tough days involved, tough weeks, months and years involved in experiencing a treasured loved one die from cancer. That's why I quit because I couldn't choose to put my family through a second slow death from cancer because I do know what is the heart retching cost involved. And anyway, quitting smoking was a walk in the park in comparison to fighting cancer.
For me, I found a method to quit. It wasn't what is prescribed by the Cancer Council, it was done in a way that worked for me and I think that's the trick, you've got to find the method that works for you.
Another big trick? Is forgive yourself for any nights off the wagon, any time you fall into temptation and have a smoke. It's your choice the next day and the day after that that matter. You can make mistakes, it's what you choose to do consistently that matters.
New Year Resolution 5: Earlier to Bed
A good night's sleep makes the world of difference to our daily lives. It makes it easier to get more things done in our busy lives, gives us more patience and understanding in our relationships and it makes us look younger!
If you're in the routine of getting to bed late then the trick is to start adjusting the daily routines.
Exercise in the morning outside makes it easier to get to sleep earlier because you're getting sunlight and fresh air earlier for your body clock. This tells your body when is morning and when is night time - when it's time to go to bed.
New Year Resolution 6: Drink Less
For so many of us the habit of drinking too much alcohol in our daily lives sneaks up on us. Yes, there's medical research that shows drinking one standard glass of decent red wine a day is good for us but that's about it. The good doctors aren't recommending 3 - 6 glasses of alcohol a day, never mind whether you are feeling drunk of not.
By easing back on how much alcohol makes up your daily diet you'll feel immediate benefits with better night sleeps, more energy, better communication and healthier relationships. If you feel under the weather initially that's probably a sign that the alcohol intake was too high after all.
So bringing our drinking down to a healthier level each week makes a big difference to our bodies.
New Year Resolution 7: Pay off Credit Cards
Debt can feel like a nasty heavy collar that buries you deep into the dirt. Freeing yourself of limiting debt can be one of the most rewarding gifts you can give to your spirit.
There are of course, good types of debt than enable growth and development as well as nasty, limiting debt that holds you back from achieving your dreams. And credit cards can fall into either of these categories, it just depends on how you are using them.
If the debt is being paid off every month and you are successfully avoiding the high interest rate charges that are part of the credit card system then they are good debt.
If you're paying chunky credit card interest rate payments each month then they are the limiting and costly type of debt. It can often make more sense with the different interest rates to pay off your credit card debt before you start putting cash into savings accounts. If you've paying more in the credit card interest rate than you get in the savings account interest rate then the smartest thing can be to push extra cash into the credit card account and get it cleared.
New Year Resolution 8: Phone Family and Friends More
Maintaining our treasured relationships can be so important in our heart of hearts but actually having time to phone friends and family regularly or frequently is just so challenging.
The old fashion method of setting a regular time for a phone call can be a great way to change this up. For many it's the Sunday morning or evening phone call to mum that works really well. Another more contemporary method is sending a text message when you think of the friend you love but just don't get to see that often. I've learnt this year that sending a quick text message to say "I'm thinking of you, hope you have a wonderful day" is making a great difference to my friendships. I've been receiving a some from a few other friends and I really do appreciate the love and friendship behind the message. This method works with my friends and the Sunday morning phone call works with my mum - so be adaptable creates the success.
New Year Resolution 9: Remember Birthdays
While the occasional text message and phone call through out the year is great for looking after relationships remembering birthdays makes a big difference. Facebook is making this easier with the birthday reminders and while it's great to get messages in Facebook about your birthday the phone call, text message and birthday card are always treasured too. And besides, not everyone who matters to you is on Facebook.
So three easy ways to remember birthdays (or anything else that matters to you) include:
1. Set a reminder in your phone's calendar about the birthday
2. Create an annual event in your online calendar that pops up with Birthday details
3. Write it in your diary and put a note to send off a card in the week before.
Personally I love birthday cards (and Christmas cards) so I send off cards to others because I think they'll enjoy receiving them - because of course anything I enjoy everyone else will too!
New Year Resolution 10: Enjoy Life More
Given how life can be so hectic and stressful it is little surprise that so many of us desire to have more enjoyment and gratification in our lives. Relieving stress, focusing on pleasure creates a healthier and happier you. So try creating some me time for whatever creates joy directly or indirectly for you like a hobby, reading, walking, swimming, yoga, playing with the kids, entertainment, artistic escapes, weekend get aways, craft creations - whatever gives you more pleasure in your life.
Creating a space at home where you can have some time out can make a real difference to enjoying life more. For me this is an outdoor space with a chair and little table where I read and look at the garden. Previously I created this space in a small apartment balcony. It's the getting away from the computer, the housework, the to-do list, everything that's part of the busy daily life. So it can be anything that brings more enjoyment into you day, but generally the healthier options create more sustaining joy.
Creating Positive Change Tips
As part of our series on celebrating the new year we've come up with series of helpful tips on How to Make Your New Year Resolutions Come True!
See also out list of inspiring and practical stories below for creating positive change in your daily life!