2023 is almost upon us, so you’ve probably been thinking about all the self-improvements you want to make in the new year. Whether your goal is to lose weight, quit smoking, or get more exercise, it can be difficult to stay motivated and follow through. The good news news for anyone who’s already made New Year’s resolutions: We’ve put together six tips to help you. Keep reading to learn how to kick bad habits, embrace good ones, and ultimately reach your 2023 goals with ease.
Speed weight loss by buddying up.
If you want to melt away those extra pounds that snuck on over the holidays, join an in-person or online weight-loss support group (such as on Facebook or Meetup.com). Or, simply invite a friend or loved one to join in your goal. You may end up losing more pounds than if you dieted alone: a study done by Baylor College of Medicine showed that people who took part in community-based weight loss programs lost more weight than those who were trying to shed pounds on their own. Connecting with others who want to slim down can provide you with support and boost your motivation, making you more successful when it comes to reaching your happy weight.
Or, try SpiceFruit! For stubborn pounds, consider supplementing your diet with SpiceFruit, a nutmeg-like spice that helps people shed pounds. SpiceFruit hails from Cameroon, where it is traditionally used as a food seasoning; its purported benefits include supporting balanced blood sugar, normalized blood pressure, and good cholesterol levels. One to try: NAOMI GloSlim SpiceFruit.
Smile more — even if you have to fake it.
Resolved to feel cheerier in 2023? Your wish is granted! A Stanford University study uncovered an easy way to boost joy anytime, anywhere: Smile broadly as if you were taking a selfie, stretching the sides of your mouth toward your ears. Even when you’re merely mimicking a smile rather than actually feeling one, researchers explain that the muscle movements involved in smiling tell your brain that you’re already happy, spurring it to spark positive emotions to match.
Kick cigarettes with ginseng tea.
For women looking to make this the year they kick their smoking habit, there’s a simple way to boost the odds of success: Brew a pitcher of ginseng tea, pop it in the fridge, then sip a little throughout the day. Korean scientists reporting in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology found that saponin compounds in ginseng weaken the effect of pleasure-seeking dopamine in the body. This reduces nicotine cravings and tamps down tobacco’s addictive rewarding sensation.
Or, make a fist! Clench a fist for 60 seconds and release; repeat four times. The mind and body are closely tied together, and tightening your muscles could give your willpower a boost. In a review of studies published in Journal of Consumer Research, participants who clenched their fists, tightened their biceps or calf muscles, or stretched their fingers while making food choices picked healthier foods than those who didn’t. The researchers noted that firming your muscles while trying to exert self-control could strengthen your resolve — so try next time you want to reach for a cigarette.
Sleep deeper by rubbing your feet.
A Turkish study published in Menopause found that foot massages can help alleviate disruptive symptoms associated with both sleep and menopause. Alongside reducing sleep issues, a foot massage before bed was also shown to help postmenopausal women with anxiety and fatigue. Women who enjoyed a foot massage slept longer and were more energized after waking up. Scientists say a foot massage reduces anxiety and ushers in relaxation, helping you drift off and stay asleep.
Or, sniff lavender! For sound sleep, spritz your pillow with lavender essential oil before bed. Studies have proven that lavender oil can help with sleep issues, as lavender’s aroma increases the body’s output of sleep-promoting melatonin.
Eliminate stress by cuddling your pet.
If you feel your stress levels begin to rise, pet your dog, cat or other furry friend. You’ve probably heard that stroking animals eases stress as you touch them, but the anxiety-busting benefits may continue even after you’ve stopped. Research has shown that petting an animal lowers the stress hormone cortisol, while the social interaction between people and their pets increases levels of the feel-good hormone oxytocin (the same hormone that bonds mothers to babies). No pets? Stroking a friend’s pup or cuddling a shelter cat works too!
Or, do a puzzle! The intense focus needed to find the right spots for each puzzle piece may help distract you from your worries. Research suggests that puzzles are good for your brain, even potentially preventing cognitive disorders as you age — and anecdotal evidence suggests they also help with anxiety.
Walk more with a step counter.
Regularly walking strengthens your bones, brain, heart, immune system, and lungs. An easy way to clock more steps: Wear a pedometer, fitness tracker, or smartwatch. Researchers from the University of South Australia found that people who use a wearable fitness device of some sort walk an average of 1,800 more steps per day than those who do not. Activity trackers show you how much progress you’ve made in real time, which encourages you to keep going.
Or, listen to music! Indian scientists found that cuing up your favorite tunes may help you walk for longer without even trying. Music ups energy and curbs fatigue, making it easier to clock extra steps.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.
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