24 Jan 5 Life-Changing Habits to Start this New Year
Habits are all the small actions that you repeat on a regular basis and they become the building blocks of your identity and values. Whether intentional or without thought, most habits will have either a positive or a negative influence on your health, happiness, and longevity. These 5 life-changing habits are scientifically proven to have a positive impact on your life!
Eat More Plants
Focusing on a plant-forward diet that includes a large variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes is like having nutritional insurance which reduces your risk of disease and improves health and overall well-being. Make it your habit to include 2 or more servings of plants with every meal and snack. Expand your palate and explore new fruits, vegetables, and grains that you have never tried before or prepare them in a different way than you typically eat them, such as raw instead of cooked. For inspiration visit a farmer’s market, scout out new produce stands, or join a local farm co-op.
T I P: To keep track of how you are doing with your new habit, you can use emojis in the meal planning section of your Artful Agenda for a fun visual of how you are doing with eating more plants. 🥦🍎🥑🥕🧅🥜🫑
Move Your Body for 30 Minutes a Day
From your brain to your bones, just 30 minutes of physical activity a day has the power to give all parts of your body a boost. Moderate physical activity for just a half hour a day can increase your cardiovascular fitness, strengthen your bones, and reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. Thirty minutes a day of exercise has also been shown to increase creativity and contribute to a more positive mood. Great ways to build a habit of more physical movement without going to the gym are walking during your lunch hour or after dinner; bodyweight exercises like lunges, pushups, squats, and jumping jacks; dancing; jumping rope; or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
T I P: In your Weekly Goals, list 3 or 4 different types of physical activity you want to engage in this week. If you reach your goal, reward yourself at the end of the week with a small non-food treat like a plant, a new skincare item, or a trip to the library or bookstore.
According to the National Institutes of Health, good sleep is as essential for your physical and mental health as diet and exercise. Not getting enough quality sleep is associated with a host of diseases and disorders, not to mention poor work performance and mood. No one can be their best self if they are chronically sleep deprived! Sleep experts say to optimize your sleep schedule you should make it a habit to stick with a set wake-up time, even on your days off when you might be tempted to sleep in. To budget time for the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep, consider your set wake-up time and work backward for a target bedtime.
T I P: Creating a consistent pre-bed routine can prepare you to fall asleep easily. You can set up a push notification in your Artful Agenda to remind you 30 minutes before bedtime to disconnect from all your devices, lower the lights, and wind down with reading, listening to calming music, or gentle stretching.
Develop a Self-Care Practice
Chronic stress impacts our attitude, relationships, productivity, as well as physical and mental health. Stress can raise your blood pressure, which increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. It can also suppress your immune system and even speed up the aging process! Finding ways to manage your stress through self-calming techniques and making self-care a regular practice in your life will have a powerful effect on your well-being and help you function at your best. Self-calming techniques like progressive muscle relaxation, conscious breathing, yoga, and meditation can induce changes in your central nervous system. They can also activate your relaxation response, which enables your body to get the rest and recharge it needs. What feels like self-care will look different for everyone. To figure out what works for you, ask yourself “When do I feel my best? What makes me smile? What do I daydream about doing? When I feel overwhelmed, what is the first thing I want to do?” Create a self-care routine that will help you to counteract the stresses of your daily life.
T I P: If you often feel too busy to fit self-care into your life, brainstorm in your List tab all of the stress-relieving activities that you enjoy and categorize them by the time it takes to do them. Make it a habit to incorporate some of them into your routine every week, and the next time you are feeling overwhelmed you can turn to your list and see what acts of self-care you can fit into your day.
Build Strong Relationships
Another life-changing habit to start this new year is focusing on strengthening your relationships with your family, friends, and community. Enjoying satisfying social connections not only brings you pleasure but studies show that they also influence your long-term health and lifespan. Focus on your most meaningful relationships and show appreciation for the connection and support you receive. Set aside time to spend with others doing activities you all will enjoy and set boundaries to protect that time. When getting together in person isn’t an option, chatting via video or phone calls, or even texting can show others that you value connecting with them and strengthens the bonds of the relationship.
T I P: Evaluate your current schedule in your Artful Agenda and see if you could delegate or discard any tasks that are eating up time that you could be spending with your family or friends building stronger relationships. Put repeating calendar events for date and family nights on your agenda and make sure to utilize the +ADD GUEST feature to invite your partner and older kids so they can see it on their calendars as well.
Artful Agenda can help you start and follow through with some life-changing habits this year. If you haven’t yet experienced the fun and personalization of paper planning with the convenience of a digital calendar you take advantage of our FREE two-week trial and make this a year of increased health, happiness, and growth!