January might be over and you might have already defaulted on all of your resolutions but that doesn’t mean that you should stop trying to better yourself. Personal development is an ongoing journey. What matters isn’t when you start but that you keep going. So! Instead of calling it quits until next holiday season, let’s focus on the four things you should work on this year if you want to be your best self.
Confront Any Addictions You Have
Whether you are a drinker, a smoker, a gambler, a compulsive shopper, there is no time like the present to get control of your condition. For some of you this might mean quitting cold turkey: you cut up your credit cards, you throw the cigarettes in the trash. For others, though, especially if illicit substances are involved, quitting is going to be more complicated. There are some substances for which quitting cold turkey is a bad idea(1). If you are a drug user, talk to a doctor or addiction specialist about safe detoxing and setting up a rehabilitation program. Yeah, it’s going to be scary and difficult. This is why we’re tackling it first.
Start an Exercise Routine
There are lots of ways to increase your physical activity that are good for you and that do not have to be emotionally stressful like going to the gym and trying to get in shape in front of a lot of people. Here’s the truth the fitness gurus don’t want you to know: shaking your booty in your living room to your favorite dance music is just as good for you as jogging on a treadmill for the same amount of time. The goal is to get up and move. If you’re really out of practice, start with a walk around the block each evening before or after dinner. Or use one of the many apps out there(2) that will train you in your own time and in your own space. Just move!
Find Healthy Alternatives for Your Favorite Snacks
Did you know that your favorite junk foods are designed to make you crave them(3)? There is a science involved in the crafting of fast food and junk foods so that you not only rarely feel full after eating them but that your brain tells you that you need more of them. Does that sound too conspiracy theorist for you? Try it out at home using your favorite fruit. It doesn’t take long for your body to say “hey, okay, that’s enough” when you’re eating, say, grapes. Now try your favorite snack chip or fast food value meal. How much can you eat before your body and brain tell you to stop? How long does it take before you wander back over to get more?
So! Start experimenting! Look for healthy and natural alternatives to your favorite snack foods. Just making this one switch will help your body so much.
Exercise Your Brain
Did you know that people who do crossword puzzles are less likely to develop alzheimer’s, even if they are genetically predisposed to the condition?(4). This is because the people who do them are actively exercising their brains. Now, we’d never tell you to give up your Netflix subscription or to stop reading your favorite mystery novels. Those things have their places. But, for a little while each day find a way to really engage your brain. This might mean watching the news instead of a rerun of Friends. Or, choosing to play Threes instead of scrolling through Twitter. Pick something that feels satisfying (as opposed to stressful). Heck, you might find that you even like crossword puzzles!
These are just four of the things you can work on this year to help become your best you(5). What are the areas in which you’ll be focusing?