1. Start the day with "me time."
"Last year was full of anxiety and perpetual overwhelm. I knew I needed a change in order to be a better person and be more present in my life. Instead of reaching for my phone right away and immediately jumping into work mode, I resolved to enjoy some 'me time' first thing every morning—even if only for 10 minutes. Depending on how much time I have, I'll do things like lie in bed and take note of things I'm grateful for, put my phone on 'do not disturb' until I've finished my morning workout, and read for pleasure while enjoying my morning coffee. Starting the day with a dose of solitude set the tone for my entire day and made for a much calmer year. And once you start to see and feel the benefits, it's easy to continue putting yourself first."
—Trinity S. Perkins, personal trainer and nutrition consultant
2. Make the world a kinder place.
"So often in my daily life, I'd think something nice about someone and never verbalise it. That's when I resolved to express myself to others more often with the hope of making the world a kinder place: If I'm in line at the grocery store and the cashier has a beautiful smile, I'll tell her; if I meet a stranger with incredible eyes, I'll tell him; if I witness an act of kindness, I'll make a point of telling the doer how kind their gesture was and thank them. While we often think nice things about others, I've found that changing my thoughts to actions not only brightens my day, but also the days of countless others. It's taught me to find joy in the ordinary and to be grateful for the simple moments."
3. Make—and keep—your health appointments.
"We'd been writing stories for a client about the importance of mammograms and how women sometimes put every family member's health ahead of their own. As a single mother of a 7-year-old, business owner, home owner and charity volunteer, this totally described me. I'd neglected my annual teeth cleaning, gynaecological visits and my annual mammogram, yet all of my daughter's well visits and dental cleanings were up to date. I was always too busy and couldn't seem to find the time until a friend asked me, 'When will you find the time—when it's too late?' So last January, I got out my calendar and got to work. I scheduled my gyno exam in June and my mammogram in September. I scheduled two dental cleanings and set appointments to have all of my blood levels checked. I also set reminders in my iPhone calendar so I wouldn't miss them, and I didn't. Not one. I have peace of mind that I'm healthy and, most importantly, in control of my life so I can be the best mother I can be to my daughter—and I'll be doing the exact same scheduling the first week of January."
4. Phase out comfort foods.
"Because I'm constantly on the go, my eating habits were more about convenience than nutrients—and by the end of the day, I felt worn out, bloated and uncomfortable. That's when I decided to start switching out high-carb comfort foods for healthier eats. I structured a healthy breakfast and dinner, leaving my lunch open to suggestion. I felt a difference immediately, which motivated me to stick to it. Not needing medication in the evening to relieve various discomforts and sleeping more soundly also became strong motivators. Tweaking my eating habits has given me more energy to get things done and the strength to snack less throughout the day. It's one resolution I'll be putting on repeat!"
5. Scout out healthier cleaning and beauty products.
"I knew we had a lot of unhealthy cleaning and beauty chemicals in our home and that there were healthier alternatives, so I resolved to rid my home of all potential toxins>. Every month, I chose one product—January it was dishwashing liquid, February was stainless steel cleaner, March was body wash, April was hand soap, and so on—and replaced them with healthier, natural alternatives (who knew that lemon essential oil was a fabulous degreaser that also does wonders for stainless steel?). It's been 3 years, and it's a resolution that's still going strong."
—Eliza Bacot, nurse
6. Ditch deprivation diets.
"Like many women, my new year used to begin with me vowing to lose weight: I'd follow the new fad diet of the moment and yo-yo from my skinny jeans to my fat jeans and back again. But when I hit my 30s, I decided that if I was going to be successful, I needed a new approach. Instead of using deprivation to give up excess carbs and sweets, I simply crowded them out of my diet little by little by focusing on what I was adding to my diet. For instance, I could easily consume only one cup of pasta (as opposed to the entire box!) without feeling deprived, as long as I added a serving of veggies, protein, and healthy fat. At the end of the day, it's about progress, not perfection—and thanks to this new way of thinking, I now have an abundance of energy and I've been able to maintain a healthy weight."
—Erin Clifford, holistic wellness coach
7. Stop keeping score.
"This time last year, I resolved to stop keeping score in my life. I stopped caring if I gave someone a gift and they didn't give one in return. I stopped paying attention to whose 'turn' it was to call, host dinner or make coffee. It helped me to recognise that in a friendship, we each do what we're best able to do and hope it all balances out. We never know what's going on in other people's lives that may make it difficult for them to reciprocate. It has been incredibly freeing to give without any expectation of reward or return, to give for the joy of giving—and that satisfaction really was all the gift I needed or wanted. The experience has freed my mind from grudges and resentments, and created more space to enjoy life on a whole new level."