15 Mindful habits to live by this year
When we come to the start of a new year, it’s commonplace to set out with ambitious New Year’s resolutions; perhaps to get fitter and lose weight, to eat healthier or even to find a new hobby to enjoy. While the intent of these aspirations is great, resolutions are often large-scale and lacking a specific plan to be achieved. As a result, many people find their motivation waning a few months or even weeks after setting out to make change.
This decline in motivation can often be attributed to not having a detailed journey to success with these goals. When setting desired outcomes for the long term, it’s equally important to outline shorter-term milestones to work towards, to monitor our progress and maintain motivation to continue.
Achieving goals often requires us to make changes to our habits, which can be challenging as they form part of our regular routine. Despite the temptation to completely overhaul your routine to make healthy changes, this can be difficult to maintain. It is recommended to focus on one or two habits at a time, being mindful of the active change you are making until it starts to feel natural and eventually becomes your new normal.
Below, we’ve listed some common New Year’s resolutions, with our suggestions of mindful habits you could attempt in your every day to help work towards those.
‘I want to get in better shape’
- Sign up to an activity in the local area – Finding an activity or group near you that you enjoy is a great way to make a commitment to regular activity and can hopefully be something you look forward to in your week!
- Create a plan to fit physical activity in your schedule – It’s important to ensure that our physical activity does not get in the way of other priorities in our lives, such as time with our families. If possible, create a timetable that includes your everyday activities (work, food preparation, etc.) and see where some new physical activity might be able to fit in.
- Find ways to break up sedentary time every day – A simple change that can make a big difference to our health is making sure to break up any sedentary time in our routine. This might be setting a reminder to stand up at your desk every 45 minutes or moving around the house while the TV advert breaks are on.
- Make your meet-ups with friends and family more active – If you’ve found it difficult to make a routine out of physical activity in the past, consider grouping up with friends or family to add to the enjoyment factor! Making a commitment as part of a group can help to retain motivation and increases the support from those around you to continue with your new activities.
- Create a home circuit routine – Even if you aren’t able to get out of your home to get active, don’t worry! There’s plenty of great activities that you can do around the home to keep moving and achieve the benefits of being regularly active. There are many great home workout routines that you can find online (including our own – click here to watch!), or you can make simple routines using your home. You could climb up and down the stairs or use a weighted object, such as a plant pot or food cans, to lift for a few repetitions.
There are so many ways that you can live a more active lifestyle, and it’s not all running and weights. Day-to-day tasks like giving the house a clean or choosing to walk to the shop instead of drive really add up to your daily activity levels, so have a think about where you could be getting more active.
‘I’m going to eat healthier’
- Reduce caffeine intake, especially later in the day – The amount of caffeine you consume can have a sizeable impact on your wellbeing. Although it can give you that early morning kick you need to get going, it can also disrupt our sleep and mood. Consider reducing your total caffeine intake during the day, especially limiting or removing any caffeine consumption in the afternoon, as this is most likely to affect our ability to sleep.
- Start the day with a nutritious breakfast – It can often be tempting to skip breakfast or grab a snack and go in the morning to get on with your day. Setting time aside for sitting down and enjoying a healthy breakfast is not only beneficial from a nutrition perspective, but it will also allow your day to start in a more structured and calm manner.
- Keep hydrated with plenty of water – Try to maintain access to and consume plenty of fluid, especially water, throughout your day. Staying hydrated can help our concentration, digestion and general mood, in addition to many other health benefits.
- Set more time aside to prepare nutritious meals – Make sure to schedule in food preparation time to prepare healthy and balanced main meals in your day. If time during the week is tight, consider batch cooking on a less busy day (such as the weekend) and freezing food like pasta sauces. To help further with finding the time, consider purchasing frozen pre-cut vegetables to reduce prep time!
- Try out new foods and recipes – You don’t want to eat the same meals every time, so consider exploring new ingredients or recipes. You might find a new favourite which you can include as part of your regular cooking routine!
Maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet might seem like a lot of effort at times, and there is always the temptation to opt for unhealthy snacks, but making sure you have the time and available food options around you can help to ensure you can make beneficial changes to what you eat and drink!
‘I’m going to take care of myself better’
- Keep your environment clean – When we are busy and feeling under pressure, it can often be the case that our environments (such as our work desk) become cluttered and messy. Constantly seeing this can have a negative impact on our mood and motivation, so try to set some time aside to clear up your regular spaces. This can include making sure your desk is clear and functional, or simply making your bed every morning.
- Practice a regular mindfulness routine – For many of us, becoming stressed from things such as work can happen on a fairly regular basis. Its important to safeguard yourself against long-term stress when possible and a great option to help with this is putting time aside for some mindfulness. Examples include a simple breathing exercise, The Body Scan exercise or visualisation.
- Keep track of priorities and worries – Making a list of tasks that need completing and prioritising them can help to prevent feeling overwhelmed and allow you to work on the most important actions first. Similarly, if you have any worries or concerns that you can’t fix straight away, try to note them down in a diary or on your phone. This can allow you to put those concerns to one side while focusing on the task at hand, without forgetting about them entirely.
- Spend time in nature – Being around nature, such as trees and greenery can help to relieve feelings of stress and make for a pleasant experience, so consider how you can make time to be around nature in your routine. If you walk to work/school, see if there’s a slight detour that you could make that goes through a local park, or plan a walk surrounded by nature sometime on the weekend.
- Stay in touch with those close to you – Spending time with friends and family can be a great reliever of stress, allowing you to share any worries or concerns that might be affecting you. Arranging a plan ahead of time to see those close to you can also give you something good to look forward to, which can make for an incentive to get through the tougher days!
You might have noticed that setting time aside is a recurring theme throughout this article, and that is with good reason! In our busy day to day life, we often find ourselves cutting corners on actions that are beneficial for our health, such as healthy eating to focus on other priorities like work. As a result of this, we often find ourselves not having the energy or motivation to engage in beneficial actions like preparing a healthy meal or exercising, instead we might end up laying on the sofa watching TV with a snack.
To make meaningful, long-term changes to your lifestyle, its vital to give yourself the time to practice these new strategies! Over time, you won’t have to think about these new actions as they will form into a habit and be part of your regular routine.