As the clock ticks inexorably onwards to midnight on New Year’s Eve, we feel the need to do a lot better than we did last year. We usually resolve to lose weight, stop smoking, drinking, or swearing and to be a better person generally.
The dawning of 2020 will carry with it the inevitable look-back on 2019 along with hopes of a fresh start and renewed opportunities.
Like so many, I had a long list of failed wildly ambitious New Year’s resolutions, most of which involve eating less chocolate and working out more in the spirit of self—improvement.
Most of us fail because we make unreasonable demands on ourselves. We set such high goals for ourselves that it’s no wonder we fail. Here’s a few selected resolutions for 2020 that are aspirational, realistic and easy to keep.
Ditch the electronics
We spend too much time with devices for work and play. Set a goal of spending at least one day a month without your devices. Unplug yourself - no television, no email checking or being attached to your mobile phone.
When was the last time you went to the library? How many books do you have in the house that you’ve never opened? Whether you’re into crime thrillers, biographies or romance novels, pick up something entertaining and read it. Take the book with you wherever you go for appointments. There’s bound to be waiting time. Read in bed; whatever works best for you but take the time to unwind with some good reading.
Walking offers lots of benefits for everyone, no matter your age. It’s free and can easily fit into your daily routine. Don’t do anything radical; start off with a simple 10-15 minute stroll. Walking can help you burn calories and help you maintain or lose weight.
Be good to others
Consider volunteering and being helpful to others through community service. Organizations are always looking for volunteers to carry out their mission. It doesn’t cost you anything but your time and it makes you feel worthwhile.
Ditch sodas; drink more water
Save the calories and ditch the sodas, sweet coffee and juices. Good old-fashioned water or sparkling water will lessen your chances of putting on weight or getting diabetes or heart disease. Your body is mostly made up of water so drinking enough of it is vital for optimal health. Carrying a water bottle with you throughout the day can help you drink more water.
Getting between 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night is essential to function properly during the day. Try to stick to a regular sleep routine by going to bed and waking up around the same time daily. Avoid napping for more than a few minutes during the day.
Do not drink coffee, tea, soda or an energy drink close to bedtime — the stimulant in caffeine can make it harder to fall asleep and more difficult to achieve a deep, restorative sleep.
The brain needs to be cared for so keeping your mind active is critical. Mind exercises can boost memory, vocabulary, and self-esteem. There’s lots of ways to keep you mentally sharp — learning a new skill or language, playing cards; even jigsaw puzzles. Take a class at a local community college, or go back to school for that degree you always wanted. Exercising the brain can improve memory and focus, especially as we get older.
Take a pause and take stock of yesteryear and let me wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2020.