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Life Changing New Year's Resolutions For 2016

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If, like me, you have a tendency to make well-intentioned New Year's resolutions that you don't stick to -- or don't stick to for long -- then we both need this blog post!

In preparation for the upcoming new year, I made this list of ten resolutions that are realistic, yet also have the potential to be truly life changing. I also wanted to beat my previous record of forgetting about my resolution by mid-February, so I have included a three-step process to help you and I accomplish what we set out to do.

10 Life Changing New Year's Resolutions

1. Make a Bucket List -- and check at least one thing off!

No matter what age we are, we should all have a bucket list. This list should contain all of the things that you would be upset that you did not do, if you 'kicked the bucket' tomorrow. If you need some inspiration, check out the blog post '101 Things to do Before You Die' on PersonalExcellence.co, which provides great ideas to get you started.

2. Learn to cook

With his Food Revolution, Jamie Oliver has taken on the challenge of educating schools and teaching kids to cook, to battle the youth obesity epidemic. If kids can do it, everyone can learn some quick and easy recipes that don't require too many ingredients. Head to a bookstore and purchase a cookbook that focuses on healthy, easy meals. The simpler the recipes, the more likely you will be to make healthy dishes at home.

3. Keep a journal

Writing in a journal is a great way to relieve stress. It is a private place where you can vent your frustrations with life, then let them go. Lifehacker says that regular writing has mental health benefits, fosters creativity and increases productivity. Start journaling to begin receiving these benefits today.

4. Go for daily walks

Going for short, daily walks is a realistic goal that almost all of us can accomplish. The Mayo Clinic states that walking has many benefits, including weight control, prevention of serious illnesses (such as heart disease and diabetes), and prevention of osteoporosis. It also helps gives a mental boost, which is especially important during the long winter months.

5. Get an extra hour of sleep

Vow to sleep for an extra hour each night in 2016. According to the Huffington Post, getting just one additional hour of sleep has several benefits, including: activating genes that protect against diabetes, cancer, inflammation and stress; boosting athletic performance; and, decreasing your risk of heart attack.

6. Eat salad everyday

Adding a side salad to your dinner each night could help you lose weight, be healthier and live longer. If you want to learn more, check out the Web MD article "4 Healthy Reasons to Eat a Salad Today", which discusses the health benefits of eating salads that contain fiber, antioxidants and healthy fats.

7. Drink green tea

Commit to swapping your second or third cup of coffee for a cup of green tea. According to Authority Nutrition, green tea is the "healthiest beverage on the planet." It can improve brain function and dental health. It also promotes fat loss and may reduce your risk of many diseases, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

8. Take up reading

In an age where almost everything we do requires technology, it's nice to open a paperback and turn the pages until we learn where the story goes! Reading allows us to experience different times and cultures from the comfort of our own living rooms. It also increases our vocabularies and improves our spelling, amongst other benefits.

9. Work one less hour a day

If you know that you work too much, this is the resolution for you! Scale back your workday by an hour, and spend that time with people you care about, or taking care of yourself (exercising, relaxing, etc.). Recent research shows that working longer hours does not necessarily mean accomplishing more. If you are interested in learning more, check out this Inc. article about Sweden's six-hour workday.

10. Spend money on experiences

Resolve to start spending your money on experiences, not things. Fast Company recently published an article called 'The Science Of Why You Should Spend Your Money On Experiences, Not Things', which explains why we get more happiness from experiences than we do from material possessions. Experience travel, try something new, or learn a new skill and see long-lasting benefits in your life.

How To Keep Your Resolution

Once you decide what your resolution(s) will be this year, it's time to make a plan for ensuring success. To make your New Year's Resolution stick, adopt this three step process:

(a) Write your resolution down in as much detail as possible

Grab a pad of paper and write down your resolution, as well as why you're doing it and how you will get there. Keep your resolution in a place where you can see it, such as on the refrigerator, to remind you of your goal for 2016.

(b) Tell a friend or family member about your resolution

Letting loved ones know about your resolution helps keep you accountable, and can provide you with encouragement on days when you're feeling less motivated.

(c) Take action immediately

Don't procrastinate or tell yourself that you will start 'next Monday'. Momentum is a powerful thing, so start taking steps toward achieving your resolution immediately.

For a great article that covers the above steps in more depth, I recommend Forbes' '6 Ways to Actually Keep Your New Year's Resolution'.

I hope that you found these suggestions for New Year's Resolutions and the guide for accomplishing them helpful, and that they inspire you to do something to improve your own life.

Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

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