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5 Ways to Look and Feel Better in the New Year

Every January, you get the chance to start fresh with a new year and a new you. Statistics show that those who consciously make New Year’s resolutions are 10 times more likely to achieve them than people who don’t, so take the time to write them down or talk about them with those closest to you.To kick-start your efforts, here are five ways to make your life better in 2016.

Get Healthy

This year, resolve to replace your fat pants and cigarettes with a plan to get (and stay) healthy in 2016. Start with a pledge to achieve a healthy weight. According to Shape Magazine, you’ll be more likely to keep accurate calorie if you have someone else do the counting, so recruit a weight loss buddy and resolve to hold each other accountable.
Next, pledge to toss your smokes. According to The American Cancer Society, smoking is the largest preventable cause of disease in the United States. If you quit in 2016, you’ll reduce your risk for a wide range of health concerns and even save some cash, as the average price of a pack of cigarettes is over six dollars today! While it’s never easy to overcome an addiction, there are more smoking cessation methods available today than ever before. Gums, patches, medications, and self-help methods can all help you to kick the habit.
Finally, get active! The National Institute of Health states that the more active you are, the lower your risk of disease. Even if you have already reached a healthy weight, there are plenty of ways that you can further improve yourself. Check out a local gym or yoga studio to maintain your weight, and even add some more tone to your physique. Crossfit gyms can be a great place to build new friendships while continually challenging yourself!

Reduce Stress

If you thought 2015 was stressful, you’re not alone. In October 2015, a whopping 77 percent of Americans reported feeling physiological symptoms brought on by stress, while 73 percent said they suffered psychological effects. A certain amount of stress is an inevitable part of life, but extreme stress is dangerous – affecting your health, relationships, and career.
This year, send it packing by getting more sleep, working less, and taking steps to increase your peace of mind. To ramp up the number of hours you sleep, give yourself a bedtime and stick to it. To slash your workplace stress, give yourself a break by periodically turning off your phone and silencing your email. Let your co-workers know that you won’t be working during personal time.
In addition to sleeping more and working less, you can lower your stress levels by identifying your worries and replacing them with peace of mind. Worrying about how your family members would survive if you should suddenly pass away can keep you up at night, but it doesn’t have to. If you take steps to care for your family members now, you can kiss that worry goodbye. Purchase a good life insurance policy and write a will with a lawyer you trust. The next time you start to worry, you can remind yourself that you already have it covered.

Keep in Touch

Life in 2015 was busy, and life in 2016 isn’t likely to slow down. However, you can have a better year if you make a commitment to keep in touch with your friends and family – no matter how busy life gets. Today, more and more people are turning to social media to stay connected. In fact, 66 percent of adults with Internet access use Facebook, Twitter, and other sites to interact with friends and family. If this is you, keep it up – but be sure to add a little actual face time to the mix. Nothing can replace one-on-one time with loved ones, so remember to leave room in your schedule for get-togethers, date nights, parties, and reunions. If your circle has mostly relied on online communication for a long time, you might have to plan these events on your own – but you’ll be glad you did!

Save More and Reduce Debt

Reducing debt and increasing savings can go a long way toward helping you lower stress and improve your quality of life. This is probably a big reason why spending less and saving more was the third most popular New Year’s resolution of 2015. You can achieve this goal in 2016 if you have a plan and stick to it. Start by creating a budget.
If you’ve never made one before, reach out to a friend who has – or take a budgeting class at a local school or library. In your budget, make sure you’re putting money toward high-interest loans and avoiding unnecessary costs. If you take a look at your 2015 bank statements, you’ll probably be surprised to find a number of unnecessary payments – including convenience foods, entertainment you’re not using, and various fines and fees. Resolve to avoid these costs and establish a monthly savings plan, such as depositing 5-10 percent of every paycheck into a savings account.

Do Something for Yourself

The best investment that you can ever make is to invest in yourself. If you want to feel better in 2016, take the time to celebrate and honor yourself! Have you always wanted to help people more? If so, start today. Volunteer for a cause you care about or work with a person you love. You can organize donations at a food pantry or make photocopies for teachers at your child’s school. Making others feel better can help you feel better about yourself and give your life a sense of purpose.
You can also improve your life by learning something new. From yoga to advanced math, learning not only opens new doors, but it also stimulates the brain and provides a sense of fulfillment. New experiences can also boost your brain activity, so try traveling to an exciting new location – even if it’s just a day trip! Whether you choose to visit a national park, a popular vacation spot, or a different culture, make a choice that is right for you and will make you a happier, more well-rounded person.
So if you want to make 2016 even better than 2015, don’t wait! Make specific resolutions like the ones listed above, and set a plan in motion to achieve them. By this time next year, you’ll be surprised at the progress you’ve made!

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