About eight months ago you probably thought about your New Year’s resolutions. This year you really wanted to exercise three times a week and drink less alcohol – or maybe you just wanted to learn something new or meet new people.
Did that work?
Chances are – unfortunately – that nothing has actually changed in your life. With many good intentions, things go wrong within a few weeks. And January also turns out to be the worst month for New Year’s resolutions.
The month with the highest success rate is August, according to research from StickK, a website that helps people achieve personal goals by drawing up contracts with them.
So now is the best time to think about what you want to change in your life. We are happy to help you with that. We’ve listed a few new habits that can make your life better. We found it on Quora, where a few users had good suggestions, and the rest of the internet.
Keeping track of what you eat and how much you exercise can be quite a task. But Quora user Tina Marshall says using the MyFitnessPal app gave her a better understanding of how she handled her body.
“I didn’t realize that I was getting too little of some vitamins. And I ate quite a lot of sugar and fat every day, I changed that,” she writes.
It can be incredibly difficult and uncomfortable to be completely honest with someone, writes user Ryan Brown, but it can also be very valuable.
To be fair, he’s come up with a trick: write a letter to all the people you have something to say, be it positive or negative. How do you know if that’s a good letter? “If you’re really honest, reading the letter back should make you as emotional as you were when you wrote it. That’s how you know if you’ve really described your own emotions well,” says Brown.
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“And make sure you don’t forget what this was like for you so you learn from it.” Therefore, write down what giving that letter did to you, but also to the recipient.
“By taking nothing for granted, you learn a lot,” writes Malli Gurram. “It is a lot of work, but you can learn to see the other side of things.”
Only eat food with nutritional value
Once you keep track of what you eat, it’s a good idea to only eat foods with nutritional value. According to Doug Whitney, that changed his life.
“If you only want to eat healthy things, it’s good to prepare your own food and eat organic as much as possible,” writes Doug. “It’s expensive, but it’s cheaper than the doctor’s bills.So what works for Doug doesn’t necessarily work for you. If you want to drastically change your diet, it might be best to see a dietitian.
But in the end, according to Doug, eating healthier is worth it. “You immediately notice that you are healthier than others, and that is very nice. And you are not only healthier physically, but also mentally.”
watch your money
Bruce A. McIntyre gives the tip to keep track of every euro you spend it on. So have you had your car repaired, paid your health insurance or bought a cup of coffee at the station? Write it down.
If you spend money easily, it can help to pay with cash. “If you have to take your wallet out of your pocket and then start counting your money, you’ll think twice about that expense.”
Then it suddenly becomes much easier to save.
Save for your retirement
Life is expensive. If you have to pay off your student debt, pay your mortgage or go out to dinner with friends again, it may seem impossible to save for retirement.
But if you don’t set aside some money now for later, you will suffer in the future.
“Even if you only wait a few years to build up your pension, it could save you hundreds or thousands of euros,” writes Daniel Schutte on Investopedia. So start saving this month.
Practice public speaking
It might be scary to think about, but you might just be asked to give a presentation somewhere. If you’re not that good at that, the most important thing is practice.
According to Gurram, it’s best to take a course near you. In many large cities there is a People’s University, where these kinds of courses are organized.
Read for pleasure
Reading a lot is one of the best habits you can have. It makes you look smarter and reduces the risk of stress and depression.
It’s easy to think you’re too busy to read every day, but it’s not hard to make time for it at all – and you won’t regret it.
Take the time for a hobby
It’s easy to forget your hobby because you’re busy with the rest of your life. But it’s important to make time for it. You may have to leave something else for it, but it’s important to prioritize things you enjoy.
A history professor at the University of Chicago says she worked on her book between 6 and 9 in the morning, pre-reading scientific papers so that she had time to teach during the day.
Just try to get good at one thing at a time
You might think that if you try enough things, you’ll eventually find something you’re good at. But according to Rob Hanna, you have to approach it completely differently.But if you’re constantly changing hobbies, you’ll never get really good at anything. “So pick something and stay focused on it. It doesn’t matter what it is.”
Take some time for yourself
It can be hard to take it easy every now and then if you’re constantly busy and preoccupied with what to do next.
But according to Nathan Hersey, it never hurts Uncle to do nothing once in a while. Your cognitive abilities increase, you become calmer emotionally and you are less likely to be distracted.
Talk to people you don’t know yet
“See someone you find interesting? Go talk to him or her,” says Mark Toole. “The worst that can happen is someone rejects you completely. But that would actually be quite funny and offers something to talk about next time. And in the end it only makes you more confident.”
Gurram writes that it can be good for you to volunteer or just do something for someone else. Volunteering can make you feel like part of something bigger.
Gurram himself was a volunteer at TEDx. “That was really great!”
Practice your patience
It’s never fun to have to wait for something – whether it’s the traffic light or because you’re stuck in a traffic jam. It’s just frustrating that something doesn’t go exactly according to your plan. You could spend your time in a much better way.
Yet it is important that you push those feelings to the background. If you’re stuck in traffic, there’s not much you can do about it, except wait.
A review of the book “The Power of Patience” in The New York Times states that impatience causes you stress. “That’s bad for your immune system, your stomach, your blood pressure, your heart and your relationships with others.”
So when something happens that is beyond your control, try to look at the bigger picture and think about everything that is going well in your life.
Reach an almost impossible goal
According to Rizwan Aseem, the most difficult thing you can do is set a goal for yourself that is more challenging than anything you’ve achieved so far.
But what purpose should that be? Aseem says it could be something you do every day — but much harder. Suppose you run a mile every day. Set yourself the goal of running 10 kilometers in a year.
“The hardest thing about this is to actually start working on it,” he says.
“You need all your physical and mental strength to achieve that goal. But when you hit that goal, something really cool happens in your head. You get the feeling that you are invincible. Then you can set any goal for yourself and achieve it.”
Stop bad habits
Nobody is perfect.And it’s hard to stop – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
According to Psychology Today editor Robert Taibbi, the best way to stop such a habit is to be patient, find out why you have that habit and in what context you have that habit.
Leave your inbox to the left
It’s tempting to check your email all the time, but you’re also wasting your time. After all, your inbox is simply a long list of tasks that others want you to do – but not something that is in your best interest.
A number of time management experts previously told Business Insider that people should check their mail less often. “Email can wait.”
Simply being more aware of the things that make you happy can make you even happier. Psychologists recommend thinking about what you are grateful for every day to avoid depressive thoughts.
According to therapist Rebekka Mikkola, research shows that you are more optimistic for six months if you write down every day for three weeks what you are grateful for.
It may seem like you’re way too busy to bother with this, but it’s well worth it. You can simply think about anything that makes you happy, or even call your loved ones to tell them what they mean to you – but at least it makes you more aware of it.
Turn off your phone before going to sleep
The research done so far on smartphone use isn’t exactly encouraging. According to an article by our editor Hillary Brueck, its use is addictive and bad for your mental health.
If you consider that the blue light also causes you to sleep worse, it is clear: you may need to use your smartphone a little less.
Don’t get stuck in the past
It’s hard not to get stuck in the past. Everyone regrets something from time to time and it’s okay to think about it sometimes – after all, you can only learn from that. But if you just stay angry or sad about it, it won’t help you.
So how do you stop that? The most obvious ways are to seek help, or to do something concrete about it. In Psychology Today, Leon F. Seltzer writes that if you regret something – it’s best to take action as soon as possible.
Make sure you get enough sleep
You can’t overstate the importance of getting enough sleep. We cannot perform without sleep. Your immune system will malfunction and according to some studies you may even be at a higher risk of cancer.
Sure, not everyone needs the same amount of sleep.But in general, it is recommended to sleep seven to nine hours a night.