The following is a guest post by Laura Lee Bloor of TenaciousLee.com.
Ah, a new year. It provides a clean slate to correct our past mistakes, ingrain healthy habits and change our lives for the better.
If you’re like millions of Americans, you have resolved to “get healthy” this year. Chances are you’ve made similar declarations before. You will exercise more and eat less! You will use your gym membership! You will get more sleep!
It’s easy to start off full of enthusiasm and vigor for our New Year’s resolutions, but as life settles into its routines, we often let our goals slide. Work, family, friends and household chores all seem to absorb all the time you designated to your healthy pursuits.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way…
You can get your time back and create the healthier life you’ve always wanted. Clearly understand that it takes effort, planning and dedication. Here’s how:
1. Just Say “No.”
I’m the first to admit that this is much easier said than done, especially for women. We tend to have a more difficult time saying “no” than men.
We often think that we’ll get promoted faster or have better relationships if we say “yes” to extra work and our loved ones’ needs. However, that thinking is misguided. The more you run yourself into the ground, the less productive you are. If you are healthy and at your best, you will be able to do more work in less time.
2. Reduce Your Overtime.
Make a commitment to yourself that you will work only normal hours for your particular job, which is usually an eight-hour day. If you know that’s unrealistic, set aside one day a week as your late night.
Strictly adhere to your new schedule.
Then schedule your workouts directly after work (or before — wherever you have new, free time now that wasn’t being used for work).
3. Plan Your Week’s Meals.
Develop a routine where you sit down and plan out a week’s worth of healthy meals for you and your family. Then compile your one week’s worth of groceries. Do your grocery shopping on the weekend, and then you have everything you need for the week.
When you get home from the gym or finished doing your exercising, you won’t have to think about what to cook and if you have the ingredients – you can get straight to work making a healthy dinner. (Here are some of my examples.)
You’ll also save money because cooking at home costs less than eating out.
4. Think of Passive Screen Time as Junk Food for Your Brain.
In one week, the average American spends more than 35 hours watching television, four hours a week using the Internet and four minutes watching video on their cell phones, according to Nielsen’s 2010 “Three Screen Report.”
That’s a whole lot of time that could be spent on active, healthy pursuits.
I’m not suggesting you get rid of your TV, Internet or smartphone, but I do think we could all benefit from thinking of these entertainments as “brain candy.” They’re fine in small amounts, just don’t overindulge in them.
5. Banish Technology From the Bedroom.
Do you have trouble sleeping? If so, you’ve got plenty of company: At least 40 million Americans report have sleeping disorders and an additional 20 million say they experience occasional sleeping problems, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
Your lack of sleep directly affects your productivity. Good sleep is crucial if you want to have more hours in your day.
Watching TV, using the computer or playing video games right before bed emit light and stimulate our brains, making it difficult for us to fall asleep. Give yourself an hour to unplug from technology before bed. Ideally, take it a step further and create a relaxing bed-time routine (a hot shower, some light stretching) that signals to your body it’s time for sleep.
Implement these tips and tricks, and I’m willing to bet you’ll see a huge improvement in your health, happiness and productivity in 2012.
Laura Lee Bloor is a holistic health coach and creator of Tenacious Lee. She helps working women focus on their health and wellness to improve their family/career balance. You can find her on Twitter @LauraLeeBloor. She lives in San Clemente, Calif., with her husband.