So every year when December 31st comes around I make a list of habits I want to change, weight I want to lose, and pretty much telling myself I am going to be an all new person come the New Year. But like many of us, these resolutions hardly last through February and I’m back to old ways. 

When you tell yourself you are going to make major sudden changes, they are hard to achieve. And then when we don’t achieve them we feel like failures. So this year, be patient and understanding. Realize that there will be setbacks and off days. And you can’t change a lifestyle in the matter of days, weeks, and sometimes even months.

Here are a list of great and common New Year’s resolutions and tips on how to achieve them!

1. Get More Sleep

This one is a toughy for me! I always say I am going to get a better sleep routine but then I turn on Food Network or start cleaning the kitchen; then before you know it the clock reads 12:30a.m. The first step is realizing the importance of sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to illnesses and weakening the immune system. It can also make you appear worn-down, puffy, and even older than you really are! No one wants that. The best way to get more sleep is to start a routine (and stick to it!) Again, this is a lifestyle change. The more you stick to a routine the easier it will become. Also try to avoid caffeine as much as you can at least 3 hours before bedtime. I have a very low caffeine tolerance and I try to avoid caffeine altogether (But I know that is not even a consideration for a lot of people). One of the biggest things in achieving this goal is turning off all electronics! When you go on Facebook or other social media before bed it will stir up your brain activity. This will get you out of sleep-mode and make it nearly impossible to truly relax (especially if you see something you didn’t want to see or read). It has also been said that any type of light from electronics will mess up your sleeping patterns; even if you don’t think of it consciously! Lastly, some friends of mine suggested a tea called ‘Sleepy Time Tea’. I gave it a try and with a little bit of honey it’s actually not bad! They apparently drink it before bed every night and it helps with their sleep routines. If these methods do not work you can also see a doctor for medications and treatments.


2. Eat Healthier

I am guilty of the fast food and restaurant craze. If I could eat chicken fingers and fries for the rest of my life, I would be one happy girl! But fast food is filled with fat, sodium, cholesterol, and calories. A good way to start eating healthier is to start looking at labels. My friends always make fun of me because I always look at the labels on things and have zero hesitation saying the amount of calories per serving is in something. But I promise you, it pays off! Cooking at home is also a great way to start eating better. Go to the grocery store when you need things, plan out your meals ahead of time, and get fresh ingredients the night before or the day of. There are tons of apps and websites that can give you healthy and yummy recipes! And don’t forget to drink lots of water! It will not only help with how you look and feel, but will also make you fuller longer.


3. Try Something New

Everyone gets caught up in routine and it becomes harder to branch out and try new things. But it is possible to find time! The key to doing this is making it a priority. Try something that can be penciled in a specific time slot and can be put into your normal schedule. My mother joined a bowling league on Wednesday nights with a group of lady friends. It is easy for her to stick to it because it is the same time and place every week. Trying something that is more than a couple days a week can be daunting and stressful. So clubs and group events that meet one or two times a week are always good for these types of resolutions. You can try a yoga class, a book club, volunteer work, a volleyball league, or anything that interests you! If you Google your city there are usually lists of activities and classes in your area.  


4. Find More “You-Time”

This is one of the most important resolutions in my opinion! Come on, who doesn’t like to take a nice relaxing bubble bath or to dive into the latest novel from their favorite author? Then HELLO, do it! The best way to keep yourself happy and satisfied is taking care of your needs, wants, and the things that make you happy. Check out an earlier blog post for ideas on creating more “You-Time”.


5. Being a More Positive & Happy Person

We all know the dreaded phrase, “Stop being a Debby Downer!” I can’t lie, I have said it and it’s been said to me. The truth is that no-one likes to be around someone who is always complaining, sad, and sucking the life out of others around them. But we need to be realistic; we all have our down moments! Don’t feel bad when you just need to vent to a friend or be alone for awhile. This is more about being able to channel the feelings and communication so it does not make you come across in the wrong way with those around you. The best way to do this is checking yourself every once and awhile. Before you make a comment on how you are “so sick of going to that same old boring bar” or how you “can’t stand your co-workers”, ask yourself, are the consequences worth the venting. It is true that every action has a reaction and everything has a consequence. If you are constantly complaining to your friends about their ways of partying or socializing, they may begin to leave you out of plans. Or if the word gets out that you don’t like your co-workers you may have created an uncomfortable work environment for yourself and others.

Just remember it is always okay to say ‘No’. If you are feeling like you may be that dreaded ‘Debby Downer’ one night when your friends want to go out, just say you are going to have a night in and wish them a fun evening (and mean it!) A good way to cure the ‘venting-bug’ is to start a journal. Sometimes we just need to get our negative thoughts out of our heads to really move on and feel better. So just write them down on paper. Also, take the time to see the good in the little things you do and the others won’t seem so bad. Watch videos that make you laugh, take walks, exercise, and count your blessings! Positive thoughts equal positive outcomes.


6. Reach That Goal Weight

In my opinion this is one of the most popular resolutions and the most broken one! You know why? Because junk food is delicious, lounging around can feel great, and the majority of us love a good Happy Hour! Which is okay, but it has to be in moderation. The key to weight loss is realizing that this is a journey and not a destination. It is a total change in lifestyle! Even if you reach the number of pounds you wanted to lose, you need to continue to eat healthy, exercise, and maintain good habits. The best thing to remember is that it’s okay to have some cheat days and not to be so hard on yourself (it’s okay to have that cookie every so often, just don’t eat the whole box!) The best way to maintain a weight loss lifestyle is using resources. There are tons of apps and articles that give you different exercises, tips, and recipes. One of the best things I had during my weight loss a couple years back was my calorie counter app! It’s called ‘Lose It’ and you can track everything you ate that day and as well as your exercises. It goes by how many calories you need in order to reach your weight loss goals in a certain period of time, in a HEALTHY WAY! Always use friends and family for support; ask them to go on walks, have a nice dinner in, or join a workout class. And the last thing I can tell you, the scale is the devil! I stopped using mine. It’s not about the number, it’s about how you look and feel. I go by how my clothes fit, its way better than seeing that I gained 10 pounds on a silly scale.

What are your New Years resolutions? Tell me how they are going and if there is any way I can help you keep on track! You can also Tweet and Facebook me :) Good luck and happy 2013!

 
Who says you only have to wear a wedding dress once?! One of my great friends and I were doing a mock bride photoshoot for a project and then we decided to have a little fun around town (after she got over the shock of seeing herself in a full gown, veil, and jewelry!) I think that brides should actually do some of these after their big day. Why not have a little more fun in that gorgeous gown? Enjoy :)
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Dun, dun, dun. Here comes the veil!
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Simply gorgeous, isn't she?!
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GOTTA hit up 'Free Sample Saturday'!
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Uh oh, car "broke down"
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Even though it wasn't her real wedding day, she was a total show-stopper!
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Take pictures by random things that catch your eye! Yup, an old vintage truck in a junk yard. Turned out cute!
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Wouldn't that stink!
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Stop in for a quick one before the "reception". She got a free drink from a nice man at the bar (it was pretty humorous!)
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The second isle to walk down. Um, yum!
We had such a fun day and made some great memories! It's amazing how many people love to stare at a pretty lady in a wedding dress! Here are some other things you can do in your wedding dress on or after the big day (and bring friends to capture the hilarious and great moments):

-Go to a park and swing on the swings
-Go to the zoo (see if they have any shows going on and will let you interact with the animals)
-Trash it (if you're willing to let go of it). Jump in the lake, have a paint fight, play mud soccer/volleyball
-Walk your dog
-Take a ride in a convertible (make sure to practice that princess wave)
-Go to a casino
-Go horseback riding
-Walk around the city and take pictures with random people/statues
-Go to a concert
-Play laser-tag
-Go play in the balls at McDonald's PlayLand
-Go mini-golfing
-Wear sunglasses, mustache, sneakers, and a hat and walk down the street. Runaway bride!
-Sit at a bus stop and see how many honks and looks you can get
-Go to a pet shop and play with the puppies
-Go to a bar and tell made-up stories about an awful fake wedding experience (the ring-bearer dog pooping on his way down the isle? Haha)

Just let loose and have fun with it! :)