The trick to succeeding at new year resolutions is to not make them.

Instead of determining at the beginning of the year, what you can or cannot do for the next 12 months, take five small but mindful steps towards a better version, of your current self. 

Below are five easy ideas towards improving your physical and mental health. 

Make time for sleep

1. Make time for sleep

This one will be no surprise to anyone, but it is one that deserves to be repeated again and again.

Prioritise sleep - It's really as simple as that. If you're able to find time for TV, computer games or other common leisure activities, then you will likely have time to go to bed early. 

Quality sleep will not only improve your mental well-being, it will also decrease the risk of diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure to name just a few. Long-term health risks of sleep deprivation 

2. Go for a walk...preferably with your dog

Besides the obvious benefits of fresh air and exercise, going for a walk can help you shake off negativity and reset your frame of mind. The accumulative effect of regular exercise can heal your brain and even make you more creative. Six scientific facts about walking...

And if you have a dog, even better. Pet ownership has vast health benefits from building your immune system, improving mood and socialisation to simply lowering stress. The many pros (and one con) of having a dog.

If you don't have a dog then maybe you can join a friend who has, or borrow (a well behaved) one for a walk.

Animated doggo

Look after yourself

3. Looking after yourself

Make sure you put time aside for yourself to eat well. Minimising junk and consuming a healthy balance of protein, nutritious vegetables and fruit will help to maintain good health, prevent future health issues and significantly boost your energy and mood. Benefits of eating well

With your hunger taken care of, how about dedicating time to learn? Not only is learning a new skill useful in life, it is also confidence building, stress reducing, brain-boosting and quite often sociable. Learn for mental wellbeing

4. Reduce your screen time

Whether it's flicking through your endless Facebook feed or constantly checking for new notifications, just stop. Your brain needs to decompress and not be constantly stimulated. This is particularly relevant at night before sleeping.

If you absolutely must check your mobile or tablet in bed, then at least download a free filter app such as Twilight as this will reduce the negative effects through removing the blue tint on your screen.

Bedtime screen time can affect your brain and body rather negatively if you don't believe us watch this....

Animated phone image

Mindfulness illustration

5. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness, when exercised regularly, can change your perspective on life and inspire contentment. It's about being mindful of the present moment and fully absorbing and appreciating the present time.

There are countless benefits to becoming mindful and more self-aware, such as decreasing negativity, boosting self-esteem and enjoyment in life. It encourages you to appreciate what you have, and what exists. 

Mindfulness for mental health.

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