A Healthier, Happier, More Productive You.

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A healthier, happier, more productive you – the last resolutions you’ll ever make.

Well, another year has come to an end and a new one begins. It’s the time when hope springs eternal and resolutions abound. Every year, millions of people make resolutions for the new year, and every year, millions of people have given up on those resolutions by the end of January. This year, I’m going to impart my wisdom on the only three resolutions you need to make, and how you can stick with them. Even if you’ve already made a resolution, check these out, because chances are that for many of you, you’ll end up falling short of your goal. These resolutions can be made anytime, and are easy to follow.

Making a New Kind of Resolution
To get started, let’s look at the main three types of resolutions made each year. The number one type of resolution is that people want to be healthier. This includes starting some strict diet or exercise regimen. Coming in at a close second is finding happiness. This could be anything from finding”the one” to taking a vacation to making more time for yourself. The third spot is being a better person. This usually includes making your living conditions better by finding a new job or being more philanthropic. I propose three resolutions that you make that cover all of these and are so easy, they will become life-changing.

#1 Do one healthy thing every day!
Sounds easy, right? Well it is! Just follow a few simple “rules”:
1) It has to be something that you’re not already doing. You can’t say, “I didn’t smoke a cigarette all day” when you’ve never smoked a day in your life. Nor can you say, “I walked a half mile on the treadmill” if you’ve been doing a mile every day for a year.
2) It doesn’t have to be the same thing every day, but it could be. Let’s be honest, we all want to say we went to the gym and worked out, or that we are sticking to the no-sugar 30 day challenge, but the reality is that most of us can’t get into the routine. That’s the main reason resolutions fail. It’s not easy to commit to doing something every single day. But by just making one healthy choice each day, you’ve got wiggle room if you’re having the kind of day where you just can’t get to the gym or you’re at a party and there aren’t any healthy snacks.
3) The final rule is that anything healthy that you weren’t doing before, counts! It doesn’t have to be some grand new exercise program or new fad diet. It just has to be one simple, deliberate act that moves you toward being healthier. If one day your healthy choice was that you didn’t have a second piece of pie, maybe the next day you try to do something more physical to burn off the first piece.
Here are some examples of healthy choices that could lead to bigger changes. Take the stairs whenever possible, instead of the elevator or escalator. Have water instead of soda at one meal. Park farther away from the store. Take the smallest piece of cake. Take a walk one day when you have time. As you can see, these aren’t crazy changes, and honestly by themselves, aren’t a big lifestyle change. However, if you make just one purposeful healthy choice each day, you’ll discover some of these become automatic. Just do a variety of healthy changes, but if you find yourself doing one particular activity every day, and it becomes a new habit, fantastic! Isn’t that the ultimate goal of a resolution?

#2 Do one thing that makes you happy every day!
You may think this one is harder, but the truth is, this one is the easiest, especially when you follow the “rules”:
1) It has to be one deliberate action that makes YOU happy. This isn’t about other people, but if doing something with someone else makes you happy, it counts! This is your moment to be a little selfish. At some point during the day, make a conscious decision to do something just for you!
That’s it, there are no other rules! By taking the time for yourself, and recognizing that you had a moment of happiness each day, you’re more likely to be more happy in general. The truth is that happiness is with us all the time. We just fail to see it. So watch that episode of Walking Dead, go out for dinner, play Angry Birds, do the crossword, or spend some time playing with the kids. Just recognize that you found some happiness today, and don’t focus on trying to find it somewhere else.

#3 Do something productive every day
Many resolutions are made each year where people want to be “better,” but that is so hard to define. How do you determine what makes you a better person. In my experience, being a better person begins with contributing in some meaningful way. However, finding some sort of purpose can be a challenge. That is why you need to start by finding ways to be more productive each day. To do that, start with these “rules”:
1) Sorry, but work doesn’t count. Your job is your livelihood, and it pays the bills. And while your line of work may be meaningful, you’re already being rewarded with a paycheck. You need your productive choice to be in addition to work for it to feel like you’re going above and beyond.
2) Sorry, general house management and maintenance doesn’t count either. Dishes have to be done, laundry washed and put away, and the lawn needs to be mowed. While doing these things can give you a sense of accomplishment, they’re not anything more than ordinary chores. However, something that relates to the house that is not routine can count.
3) Your productive accomplishment can be one single project that can be done in one day, or it can be a long range goal that takes several days to put together. No matter how big or small, your productive activity needs to give you the sense of becoming a better person.
So take the Spanish class, complete that DIY project, volunteer at Habitat for Humanity, start writing that blog, or get the Christmas lights down before Valentine’s Day. Just keep looking for ways to be productive, and you will feel that sense of purpose building inside of you.

Sticking to It
Now that you know the easiest resolutions in the world, let’s talk about seeing them through. I suggest getting a notebook or notepad (or use your electronic device if that’s your thing). Write the date, and record your three deliberate acts. Here’s an example from my first day of the year:
1/1
1) No soda at the movies
2) Went to see the Star Wars movie with my father in law
3) Built the cabinet my wife and I bought so we can have a more organized office space at the house
As you can see, each of these were deliberate choices and not part of my normal routines. While it’s true I still had popcorn at the movie, I was a little healthier by avoiding soda. It’s a start. Also, I only got the cabinet built, we didn’t finish organizing the office, but we’re one step closer.
So far today:
1) Drinking more water
2)
3) Finishing this blog post
As you can see, I don’t have a happy moment yet, so sometime before the day is done, I need to make a conscious effort to be happy.

These little changes are going to add up. Eventually, I’m sure I won’t write it all down, and I’ll probably lose the notebook before February, but if I make sure I commit to these three daily goals, I’m going to see the improvements I want. Resolutions are supposed to be life-changing. That’s why we make them, but if we can’t stick with them, we’re left feeling worse than before. Make the commitments, but don’t beat yourself up if you miss one here or there, just look for ways to get them going again. Also, if you miss one, focus on the one you did accomplish. Maybe you weren’t healthy all day, but was it because you were having a great time on vacation with your family and you were too happy? Recognize when you’ve accomplished one, no matter how small. Be healthier, happier, and more productive each day, and you’ll discover two very important things. First, you will become satisfied with the person you’ve become, and second, you will never have to make another resolution ever again! Good Luck!

What are some ways you’re going to be healthier, happier, and more productive in the new year?

Erik Miller
Erik is a music teacher, Star Wars fan and really awesome dad. He recently started blogging at Healthy Happy Thrifty Family about his parenting adventures. Please connect with him on social media.

12 Responses to “A Healthier, Happier, More Productive You.

  • In 2012, I committed to a healthier, happy more productive me! It was the best thing I have ever done! I have since lost 90 pounds, picked up running, and am more productive because I left the sedentary lifestyle behind. Great post!

  • Little changes definitely do add up to big changes. I love this way of thinking and of setting goals. Good luck with your goals/resolutions

  • This is a great way of going about making goals. So much more practical than simply making a goal and then forgetting it within a week or so!

  • I’m loving these! I try to do something for myself everyday. It doesn’t have to be big just a Starbucks or a manicure.

  • Your post is very inspiring and makes a nice read. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  • Inspirational post! Every day I thank god for everything I had and then start my day to do something for myself!

  • Love this post and I def need to do one healthy thing everyday I’m hoping to triple my water intake this year ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I’ve already started doing one healthy thing a day, which is substitute juice for water at meals. It’s been difficult because I love to drink something flavored while I eat, but I’m happy to say I’ve followed through. I’m also planning a lot more now so I can accomplish one productive thing a day, most are related to blogging but I’ve found writing them down in a planner helps keep me on track. Great post! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I LOVE this post! I am definitely going to be following these “rules” as I try to get back in my grove ๐Ÿ™‚

  • This is so true! Anything you weren’t doing before is better than nothing… thanks for a great post! Very encouraging!

  • Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift.

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