It’s the start of another New Year and with it comes new beginnings and renewed energy levels. Optimism has replaced frustration and for many of us that means a fresh new game plan and a whole host of New Year’s resolutions designed to help you reach your goals. Unfortunately, even though the year has barely begun, for far too many of us, it may already be time for a reality check. Chances are many of those resolutions have already been broken. Don’t get down on yourself. Not all resolutions are realistic or essential. We’ve compiled a list of seven simple New Year’s resolutions you can easily stick to.
1. Hydrate Properly
Sometimes it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself. In 2014, you must take the little steps necessary to ensure that won’t happen. The first step is to ensure you’re always properly hydrated. Get into the habit of drinking at least eight glasses of water daily and you’ll not only flush out toxins and meet your hydration needs, but you’ll also boost your metabolism. How? Research indicates that drinking a room temperature glass of water creates a thermogenic response within your body and burns almost 24 calories.
2. Take Coffee Breaks
For some, it’s the only way to start the day. For others, it’s what drives them to get through the day. However, while coffee has its benefits, one of your resolutions is to not overindulge. This means no high-calorie, syrup-filled, or whipped cream topped coffee. Remember, everything is best in moderation. In fact, research indicates that by limiting your coffee consumption to only four glasses a day, you’ll substantially decrease your risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease while also lowering your risk of dying.
3. Watch Less TV
You spent entirely too much time watching TV during 2013. Sure, if you like train wrecks, it may have been fun watching Two and a Half Men, and there’s no doubt that Keeping Up with the Kardashians had its own unique appeal. But, you’re better off tuning out and getting to the gym earlier. Bonus: Apart from the obvious physical health benefits, you’ll likely snack less, and a UK study indicates that by decreasing your viewing time, you’ll also lessen your risk of depression.
4. Eat Smart
In 2013, food was a weakness. Not in 2014. You’re armed with new knowledge and even if you briefly fall off the wagon, the impact won’t be as damaging. Why? Your approach will be different. Use smaller plates and strongly consider your surroundings. A 2012 study found that people who ate in a relaxed atmosphere were more likely to reduce their caloric intake by an average of 170 calories. Meanwhile, Wisconsin researchers discovered that reduced caloric intake resulted in fewer incidents of diseases and a more youthful look.
5. Cut Down on Alcohol
Throughout 2013, there was nothing quite like quenching your insatiable thirst with an ice-cold beer or allowing the red wine to flow endlessly while entertaining your more cultured guests. But, it’s 2014 and you’ve enjoyed your last call. Remember: Alcohol negatively impacts testosterone and the empty calories involved are counterproductive to your goals. Don’t try to fall back on the excuse of the health benefits of red wine. A 2012 study debunked that myth and proved it was simply the polyphenols that were providing the cardiovascular benefits.
6. Maximizing Your Time
Another year has gone by and that likely means added commitments. Whether it’s greater responsibility at work, or more activities at home with your family, time is of the essence. To maximize your time, and even save minutes in the kitchen, consider supplementing with whey and casein protein. Minnesota researchers found that whey supplementation significantly reduces body fat, while preserving muscles. Texas research found that the combination of whey and casein yielded even greater increases in lean, fat-free mass.
7. Get Better Sleep
During 2013, you spent far too many pre-bedtime minutes using electronics. Whether it was watching TV, surfing the net, playing video games, or anything else, you need to shut down quicker to ensure you don’t want to go through the day with a sleep deficit. Why? Research indicates that all these pre-bedtime electronic activities result in a perception of inadequate sleep. As well, according to Harvard researchers, the artificial light tends to suppress the sleep-promoting hormone known as melatonin.