15 Naughty New Year’s Resolutions
Whenever a new calendar is slapped on the wall, many of us swear off carbs and commit to kale all-day-every-day, or decide this spring we’re going to do our first triathlon even though we get out of breath jogging to the bus stop and the only time we wear a swimsuit is to wade over to the swim-up bar.
Conceptually, New Year’s Resolutions are noble enough, as working on oneself can be a good idea, but ultimately, the typical New Year’s Resolution doesn’t have what it takes to make behavior changes stick. This is because the changes we attempt are things we feel we should do, versus what we want to do.
So, now that we are looking down the barrel of the end of 2016, why don’t we start thinking about changes that are not only good for us, but are also super duper enjoyable? They might not always be society-approved, but will be more successful than a newly-forced kale habit any day.
1. Eat more dark chocolate
As people are swearing off sugar, bread and anything remotely sweet for the rest of time, why don’t you pick up a piece of dark chocolate instead? There is a ton of research proving the chemical compounds called polyphenols found in cocoa can help us in myriad ways, from decreasing blood pressure to increasing insulin sensitivity.
The key is to find a high-quality dark chocolate, as it contains the highest amounts of the health-promoting compounds and the least amount of sugar and fat. So no, white chocolate doesn’t count.
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2. Have a living room dance party
Back when you were too young to go to bars, do you remember having dance parties with your friends in their parents’ basements? Outside of perfecting your smooth moves, do you also remember how good you felt and how much fun you had?
Dancing is a great way to get exercise and movement into your day, and is also an opportunity to just act ridiculous. Adulting is stressful and boring, so why not shake what yo’ momma gave you and let loose a little?
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3. Hire a cleaning service
Speaking of adulting not being any fun, cleaning is fairly high up there on the list of most-avoided chores. Unfortunately, we live in a culture that perpetuates the notion that we’re supposed to do everything (with a smile on our face!), causing many to feel guilty about needing or wanting someone to clean up our mess.
Forget that. If the budget allows, have someone come in every four or six weeks to get the deep-down grime. This frees up minutes for stuff you’d rather be doing and makes your maintenance tidying much less tedious.
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4. Say “no” to hard exercise when you really don’t feel like it
Disclaimer: this does not mean never exercising again. However, saying no to exercise when you’re feeling sick or too exhausted to move is actually a good idea. Strenuous exercise puts stress on your immune system and if it’s already burnt out from life in general, you’re just setting yourself up for trouble if you push too hard.
Instead of treadmill torture, think instead of going for a walk with your family or popping in a yoga DVD at home so that you’re still getting movement into your day, but in a way that’s more gentle and conducive to your overall health.
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5. Stop being so hard on yourself
We live in a culture where we are constantly told by the media that we aren’t _____ enough. (Choose all that apply: pretty, skinny, handsome, curvy, strong, smart, manly, womanly, youthful, etc.) So it’s understandable that many of us feel that we’re lacking or don’t measure up.
Do yourself a favor and remember that we’re being fed these messages because companies are constantly trying to sell us stuff. Allow yourself the benefit of the doubt that you’re just fine the way you are and are doing the best you can with what you’ve got. Show yourself a little love!
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6. Ask for what you want
There’s this weird notion that sharing one’s needs makes that person appear greedy, or annoying or selfish. If there is constant complaining going on, these labels readily apply, but when someone chooses to never speak up for what they want, this can be dangerous.
We demonstrate to others how we expect to be treated through our actions, including how much, or how little, we stand up for our needs and rights. So, the next time you want to voice your desires, do so, because how else will others know where you stand and what is important to you?
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7. Say “yes” to that invite from your friend
On how many occasions have you spent the little spare time you have with the parents of your kids’ friends? Or your spouse’s coworkers? Or catching up on household chores?
Not that any of those are necessarily a bad time, but it’s also important to spend your precious minutes with members of your key support network, your fun circle, or whoever just lets you be you. So the next time a friend asks to go see a movie or grab a coffee, say YES. You won’t regret the hour or two it takes, and the grocery shopping/toilet cleaning/laundry will wait.
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8. Don’t do that latest diet that’s all over your social media
The New Year is when we pledge to ditch all our nasty eating habits and, like everyone else on Facebook, “go clean” for the rest of time. The thing with fad diets is that they are just that: a fad. They have little staying power because they’re incredibly strict and force behavior changes that are impossible to keep long-term.
If you still feel compelled to try to change your eating habits, ask yourself if it’s a commitment you’re willing to make for life. If your answer is “Heck no,” save yourself the insanity and keep scrolling.
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9. Bring out the kid in you
Most of us rarely feel the age our ID says (although some days we feel twice as old), yet as mentioned previously, being an adult can get downright boring at times. And here’s why: psychologists have found that young and old alike need play in their daily lives, and although it’s cool for kids to live in La La Land, adults aren’t afforded the same luxury.
That being said, it doesn’t have to be that hard (or weird) to find and express your inner child: act goofy with your friends, swing on a swing set, sing in the shower, play catch with your dog. Or the next time your kid asks you to visit La La Land and play with them, say “Yes!”
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10. Turn off your phone for an hour a day
Some of you might be gasping at the thought of this resolution, but it’s pretty undeniable our cell phones are like another appendage: they’re a part of us. Research has shown that our love of tech is isn’t doing us any favors: we have tech neck, we don’t sleep well, we’re obsessed with how many “likes” we get and feel the need to broadcast what we eat each day. Plus, there’s the ability to access information 24/7/365, and we all know the media rarely focuses on the good in the world.
So, give yourself a daily break from it all and watch the world beyond that tiny screen literally open up for you.
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11. Question your need for “stuff”
Ask your grandparents if they ever needed a self-storage unit “back in the day.” They might tell you that a: there wasn’t the money for extras or b: there wasn’t the desire for extras.
Either way, 60 years ago, storage units (or the need to have them) didn’t exist. Fast forward to the present day, where the US boasts approximately 2.3 billion square feet of self-storage space for all. Our. Junk.
But if we’re truthful with ourselves, even though stuff is cheaper and we’re able to get more for our money, buying it all rarely provides sustainable happiness, and often just equates to clutter. So when those New Year’s sales call at you from across the mall, ask yourself if you really, truly need more whatever. The answer is likely not.
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12. Cut out unhealthy friendships
Do you have people in your life who can account for how your bangs ended up so short (and crooked) in grade 7, how you got that scar on your left elbow and what your invisible friend’s name and occupation was? Next, ask yourself if you’re friends with those people because of nostalgia, or because you deeply respect and care for one another?
Brutal honesty might reveal that it’s more the former than the latter and it’s time to take a hard look at things. Not that letting go of any relationship is easy, but when it comes right down to it, quality versus quantity is truly what’s most important in the long run, especially as we age and life’s challenges get more complicated.
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13. Say “yes” to fat
You might interpret that to mean “…on my body” (and if this is the case, go on with your bad self), but here we’re talking about fat in our diets.
There is still a deep-seated fear in our society that we must avoid fat at all costs, but in truth, our bodies need fat for many of our biological processes -- our brains and nerves working properly, for one thing. If that doesn’t concern you (which is concerning enough in itself), fat also creates healthy, glowing skin and hair.
That being said, “eating more fat” doesn’t equate to a free-for-all of fries and cheese strings. Instead, pick up an avocado or two, use grass-fed dairy products, and eat more raw nuts and seeds.
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14. Hit the spaaaaaah
When it comes down to it, we all need a little TLC, and many of us aren’t the best at giving it to ourselves. It might be because we can’t justify the expense or the time, but maybe a little pampering is just what the doctor ordered for our full-time stressed-out existence.
This holiday season, why don’t you put “a day at the spa” on your wish list and experience what magic comes from letting yourself get a little spoiled every once in a while.
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15. Say “no” to stuff you really, REALLY don’t want to do
Most people struggle with the two-letter word “no.” It comes loaded with guilt and the worry of upsetting others. But always defaulting to a yea versus nay ultimately leads to a calendar jam-packed with stuff we don’t want to do and the resulting stress and time-management struggles.
If saying no is too terror-inducing, try packaging it with an apology and an alternate solution which could appeal to both of you. That way you still feel like you’re letting the other person down gently and respecting their needs at the same time.
And remember, practice makes perfect, so if a “Sure!” slips out instead of a “Nada, graçias,” there’s always next time -- and there will be a next time.
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Lauren Brown MSc. WWHP, is a certified Health & Wellness Coach who loves teaching about all facets of health and wellbeing. Much of her time is spent in workplaces, helping empower employees to get healthy through the wellness programming initiatives and educational sessions she delivers. Please see www.inspiringhealth.ca for more information.