It’s not easy to develop a healthy habit. In fact, for a lot of people, it can be downright impossible.
We stick to less-desirable habits because they usually require minimal effort, but we tend to find that the longer we engage in them, the more their grip tightens, until they’re such integral pieces of our day-to-day routines that they become part of who we are. They can get so deeply embedded in our personalities that we can even forget that they’re just habits, nothing more – and that means we forget that we could actually get rid of them, and replace them with others that would really help us improve our lives.
The most important factor here is discipline. Do you have it? This is a resource that only you can provide for yourself, and for many people, that’s exactly where it gets tough.
Discipline isn’t easy to gather but with persistence you can begin to cultivate and gain self-discipline. Making to-do lists, setting reminders on your phone, eliminating as many distractions as possible, giving yourself small rewards for your accomplishments – all of these things can help you become more disciplined.
It’s a difficult path, but if you stick to this regimen for long enough you’ll finally begin adopting habits that will make you a stronger, smarter, happier person.
The start of a new year is the perfect time to get serious about making big changes in your life. If you start now and keep track of your progress along the way, when the year’s over you’ll be amazed at what you accomplished.
Here are five ideas to help you start 2015 on the right foot.
Studies have clearly shown just how important good sleep really is.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep a night, so you need to make sure you get at least 7 hours. Make a habit of going to bed at a specific time and setting a wind-down period where no screens are used – staring at screens before bed can have a very negative effect on your health.
If you need something to help you get tired, try drinking some chamomile tea and reading a book before sleep. You could also drink tart cherry juice twice a day or eat two kiwis an hour before bed, as these have also been proven to help you fall asleep and stay asleep longer.
Do your best to make good sleep a new habit this year, as the physical, mental health, anddisease risks associated with lack of sleep can be devastating.
Soda has got to go
Make a habit of avoiding soda as often as possible. Soda is one of the unhealthiest things you could consume, and the fact that it’s so ubiquitous in our society is pretty frightening. It can increase your risk of metabolic syndrome, diabetes, obesity, and a slew of other ailments.
You should even avoid fruit juice, as it also contains a ridiculous amount of sugar and is especially detrimental if you’re trying to lose weight. Even organic juice contains high amounts of sugar. If you really love juice then you should make your own from fruits you buy.
If it’s the carbonation you crave, you could always replace soda with seltzer, which has none of the health risks soda has and is even healthy for you. It’s good for your digestion, it doesn’t hurt your teeth and it lowers your levels of bad cholesterol while boosting the good kind.
There have been rumors that carbonated water depletes calcium and could lead to irritable bowel syndrome, but these are unfounded claims. Seltzer is just as healthy as water. The only difference is the carbonation.
Speaking of my favorite beverage…
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
According to Boston College, two-thirds of Americans don’t drink enough water. The importance of drinking plenty of water every day cannot be stressed enough. Make a habit of drinking up to 8 cups a day.
Yes, that’s a lot of water – that’s what your body needs! Water maintains your skin’s young, healthy glow, your muscles use it to build up energy, it cushions your joints, it’s excellent for your kidneys and it will keep your brain sharp and focused.
Drink one or two cups in the morning to help strengthen your metabolism and get you started for a productive day. You’ll feel a lot better and you’ll be able to get more done.
All of the fruits: eat them
Instead of drinking fruit juice that has tons of added sugar, just get that delicious taste straight from the source. Fruits will build up your immune system, give you more energy and help you maintain a healthy weight. When you’re craving a snack, don’t reach for a bag of chips, go for fruit instead – not only is it much better for you, it’s also a lot cheaper than junk food.
You’ll start to look and feel younger and more attractive and before long you’ll wonder why you ever ate so much junk food to begin with.
Stress is your enemy – fight it!
By now we’ve pretty much all heard about how destructive stress can be. But that doesn’t mean that we’re doing enough to eliminate it from our lives. Everyone experiences some level of stress, and it’s very important for us to get rid of as much of it as possible.
You have plenty of options:
- Meditation has proven to be a great stress reliever even though it can be difficult to get the hang of, but with discipline you can learn to reap its benefits. If you can meditate three times a day and stick with it you’ll begin to notice an increase in overall tranquility.
- Sex has forever been known to be one of the best stress relievers of all. Everyone has it, but there’s no harm in having more! Sex is incredibly healthy, mentally and physically, and having more of it will make you and your partner feel closer. It provides a state of well-being that will improve your life on multiple levels. Try Tantric sex to raise the energy up your inner "Tree of Life", rather than leaking the energy out. You may find a source of energy you never knew existed.
- Coffee is essential for lots of us, and there’s no doubt that coffee has its benefits, but too much of it can make you agitated, depressed and unable to sleep. For some people coffee seems to work with their constitution, while others others, it seems, coffee causes problems. For one, it raises your catecholamine levels, which is a stress hormone. Limit your daily intake – one to two cups, maximum – and you’re guaranteed to feel less stressed out.
If you combine your morning cup with exercise you’ll relieve a lot of your stress as well, so make exercise part of your morning ritual to counteract coffee’s negative side effects.
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Let's work hard to make 2015 a year of improvement and happiness!