9 Healthy Habits to Start This Year

The new year is upon us, and already there’s so much to do! Whether you’re killing it at the office or focusing on family, it’s important to stop and do some focusing on yourself. No matter how busy or accomplished your life is, there’s always room for improvement somewhere. More exercise, more relationships, or just more me-time. So from vision boards and journals to better sleep and quality time, here are 9 healthy habits to start this 2019.

Get More Sleep

Sleep is a vital part of the human recovery process. Not only does it help heal our bodies and replenish our energy, it can also help keep your blood pressure and stress levels healthy. It is recommended that humans get between 6-8 hours of sleep. However, studies show that getting more than 8 hours of sleep can have numerous health benefits, including decreased blood pressure, increased health and immunity and improved memory (WebMD).  Conversely, not getting enough sleep is linked to serious health complications such as kidney failure, obesity, stress, high blood pressure and heart disease. So save that last Netflix episode for another night and get some extra zzz’s tonight for a better tomorrow.

Create a Vision Board

Whether you’ve got a 1 year plan, 5 year plan or 10 year plan, creating a vision board is a great way to visualize your goals and sort through your priorities. While everyone’s vision board is different – some are filled with pictures and others with inspirational quotes, for example – every vision board is a reflection of one’s goals and is a great life coach. Not only are vision boards proven to work, they are also fun to make! So bust out the Elmer’s glue and magazines, picture where you want to be in the near future and manifest it on your vision board and you’ll be amazed how at how much you can accomplish in a year!

Spend More Quality Time 

Juggling home, work and family can be seriously stressful. Chances are if you’re being a boss at work then you might be neglecting your home life.  Plan more trips, take more time for family and don’t forget to stop and smell the roses every once in a while. “Studies have shown time and again that families who spend time together, even if it’s just eating dinner together every evening, have happier, healthier [lives]. Family time promotes emotional health [and reduces the risk of depression].” And, according to FedHealth, “Talking on the phone with a parent reduces a key stress hormone and also releases oxytocin: the feel good brain chemical.”

Reward Yourself

In today’s overworked world, we can sometimes forget to appreciate the little things in life. Between all the bills and the minutia it can be difficult to find time to enjoy yourself. But the saying is “work to live” and not “live to work” and our time should be prioritized accordingly. If it’s something you love then it deserves a spot in your routine. So why not make a little time for yourself, even if it’s just a few moments, to enjoy the fruits of your hard work and reward yourself.

Try a New Physical Activity

Even the biggest gym rat could use a changeup in their physical fitness routine.n Whether you’re into swimming, sports, jogging or yoga, there’s a plethora of ways to get your heart pumping and your blood flowing. Exercise has a whole host of health benefits, from stress relief and physical fitness to reduced risk of heart disease and other complications. But it doesn’t have to be a grueling, punishing activity. Especially in Austin, there are tons of public events and activities that promote physical fitness, including Lizzie Aguirre’s guided meditations and yoga classes and Daybreaker’s AM dance parties, as well as outdoor activities like zip-lining, paddle boarding and kayaking. So step outside your fitness comfort zone and try a little something new to keep your workout routine fresh.

Start a Journal

Ask any psychologist and they will tell you that journaling is a good way to sort through your thoughts and decompress. Journals serve the dual function of personal therapist and time capsule. Not only can you get a lot off your chest in your journal, but you can also look back and see where you were emotionally and mentally in that part of your life. Whether it’s a dream journal, a venting journal or a hopeful journal, there’s definitely something to putting your thoughts down on paper. You might even discover feelings you didn’t even know you had!

Say “Yes” to More Opportunities

Don’t be a Yes-man, but force yourself to recognize and take advantage of the opportunities that may present themselves this year. Step outside your comfort zone, try something new, do what scares you and see where the road less traveled leads. Because you may discover your next great adventure down that unfamiliar path.

Replace one Bad Habit with one Good one

This can be a little tricky, because habits by nature are usually taken to the extreme. But if you can manage to substitute one of your bad habits with a good one, you can consider your self to be rocking this new year! Instead of smoking a cigarette, go for a walk or eat a healthy snack. Whatever you decide to swap, it’s not about deprivation, it’s about balance. Everyone has habits, it’s just about forming the right ones.

Be Kinder to Yourself

No, you don’t have to hug yourself or write yourself a love letter, but having a positive self image can create all kinds of rewards and opportunities in your life. We all know how easy it is to feel down on ourselves, but we often don’t realize just how harmful that negative self-talk can be. It can be extremely de-motivating to beat yourself up. And it can be very motivating and rewarding to remember to love yourself. So try not to take yourself so seriously, give yourself a break every once in a while and smile.

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