“This is the year I will drop ten pounds, take up HIIT Pilates, kick sugar out of my diet, stop going to happy hour and learn how to speak Spanish.”
You’ve probably heard these words before; you may have even said them yourself. And yet, according to several estimates, a scant eight percent of the American population sticks to their New Year’s resolutions
, often falling back into their old habits before Valentine’s Day rolls around.
The secret to not only honoring your New Year’s resolutions but also nailing them is to think of them not as radical changes in your life, as if you were something that needed to be fixed, but as ways to enhance who and where you already are. Moreover, by rooting your resolutions in health—as opposed to, say, beauty or wealth—you’re bound to feel and see the immediate rewards of your willpower and strength.
With all of this mind, we’ve come up with five of the top resolutions you can commit to this year—and how they will benefit your mind, body and spirit.
Women's Health and Wellness Goals
In this era of smartphones and social media—of 24/7 news and constant communication—it’s all too easy to check email while speaking with your partner while also glancing over the menu, plotting out a project for the following day, and downing what feels like a much-needed post-work glass of wine.
Doable yes—we women are known for our ability to multitask—but new research demonstrates that the lack of focus on a single item can create a cornucopia of problems, including reductions in your brain’s grey matter (areas associated with cognitive control and emotion), memory problems
, increased stress, depression and anxiety, and complications in your interpersonal relationships. Multitasking
also ups your chances of getting injured, may make you more prone to falling and breaking a bone and decreases productivity by a whopping forty percent.
The solution rests in monotasking. The idea behind this increasingly-popular concept is that the more you concentrate on a single task, event or person, the more you will accomplish and the happier you (and your loved ones) will be. If you’re someone who prizes yourself for your capacity to read the news while walking your dog, take it from Bryant Adibe, M.D.: “At the end of our lives, no one will remember how quickly we responded to emails; and no one on their deathbed asks for more time to sit through another budget meeting. Instead, we look for more time to do and experience the things that give us meaning and a sense of purpose. That is the core of monotasking—it is about rethinking the way we work so that we can more meaningfully engage with our environment.”
To do so? Set aside at least two to four hours per day to focus
entirely on a task or your work (as in, turning off all text messages, email notifications, and phone calls, and avoiding outside stimuli), set predetermined times to check your email and other messages, and, when you spend time with your loved ones (and that includes spending time with just you, yourself), concentrate entirely on what’s in front of you.
Still having trouble staying away from IG and etsy? Consider installing the web-blocking tool, Freedom
. It’ll do the hard work for you.
2. Up your bone health
Ten million Americans—eighty percent of which are women—presently have osteoporosis, a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, builds too little bone, or both (indeed, the term itself means “porous bones”). Another eighteen million have osteopenia, a precondition that renders them vulnerable to osteoporosis. With this disease arrives a host of complications, including more serious repercussions should a bone break, a loss in height, backaches, decreased mobility and even an increased risk of isolation and depression.
While a number of diseases, conditions and medical procedures may cause bone loss—including inflammatory bowel disease, eating disorders and gastrointestinal bypass surgeries—there are a number of efforts you can start making today to shield yourself against osteoporosis
Chief among them? Making high-intensity weight-loading exercise a part of your regular routine (think: free weights, those machines you may have previously ignored at your gym, and body resistance), dining on calcium-rich foods such as cheese, seeds, yogurt, almonds, beans, and lentils, and limiting your alcohol intake, as booze interferes with nutrition.
Lastly, consider taking a supplement. Vitamin Code’s Raw Calcium,
for example, contains bone-boosting calcium, as well as nutrient superstars vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin K and magnesium—a mineral that’s been associated with bolstered bone mineral density.
3. Invest in house plants
Adding a touch—or a ton—of greenery to a room can brighten the whole spot and
sweeten your mood. What’s more, house plants are actually healthy for you
. Botanicals such as succulents and orchids emit oxygen at night and absorb carbon dioxide. (Keep in mind that exposure to CO2 can lead to a variety of health conditions, including headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and rapid heart rate).
In fact, research conducted by NASA found that houseplants can remove up to eighty-seven percent of air toxins in twenty-four hours.
What’s more, studies have demonstrated that house plants diminish stress, lift your mood and improve productivity and concentration. In other words: Make a date to go to your local nursery soon.
4. Dive into the essential oil trend
No longer the exclusive province of the New Age set, essential oils have hit the wellness scene big-time—as in, it grew to 4.8 billion in 2019 in the U.S. alone. For a good reason, too: Essential oils
have been shown to stimulate a range of benefits, including reduced agitation in dementia patients, less stress, a happier mood, and better skin.
Intrigued—but need some guidance? Check out our post, 6 Essential Oils for Women’s Health Concerns.
The article will show you what to reach for when you’re battling PMS, your libido is lagging, and more.
5. Curb your cocktails
“Dry January” started in the U.K. in 2013 but caught on—and like wildfire—two years later in the U.S. The British fad, in which people commit to going the 31 days in January without beer, wine and spirits, took hold in America
largely due its health-boosting effects. In addition to reduced depression, less anxiety and better sleep, those month-long teetotalers saw lower numbers on the scale, more radiant skin, and more money in their banks.
Research on the experiment backs all of this; further, studies showed that cutting back on the gin and tonics for just a month improved liver function, blood pressure and markers associated with cancer, The Wall Street Journal
reports. Other studies demonstrated that participants reported greater concentration and sounder slumber. What’s more? Participants, six months after February 1st
rolled around, said they now drink less.
You’re likely well-aware of the toll drinking alcohol takes, particularly on women. Female moderate and heavy drinkers have an increased risk of bone loss (remember #2?), depression, brain damage, victimization, personal injury and breast and other cancers. Furthermore, women who drink excessively have higher death rates due to suicide—more than twice the rate of men. And in the past year—when the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe, tensions reached new heights, and the economy collapsed—women have taken to alcohol at alarming new rates.
With this in mind, start off 2021 on the right foot—and with the right frame of mind—by going dry in January and restricting your consumption from there on out. (Indeed, a month of being “sober curious,” as it’s called, may spur you to give up drinking altogether.) You, too, may reap the benefits other non-drinkers have experienced, from an enriched sex life and a heightened memory to stronger immunity. And with your health in place, well, anything in 2021—and beyond—is possible.