Every year’s a new year but not every New Year marks the start of a new decade. The beginning of 2020 is bigger than queuing for a treadmill at the gym and pretending to like kale, it’s an opportunity to figure out exactly what you want to say the next time someone asks, “So, where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?”, and make it happen.
When it comes to living your best life, the key word is ‘your’. What are your goals? Think about the habits, the routines, the default settings that are best left in the last decade and figure out what new behaviours, mindsets and conscious changes will take the new year from just 2020 to a twenty plenty. Not sure where to start? Here are some things to leave in 2019 and get plenty of in the twenties.
LESS SCREEN TIME, MORE SLEEP TIME.
Experts agree that screen time before bed messes with your circadian rhythm – the fancy term for your body’s internal clock. How? Well, the artificial blue light emitted by TVs, tablets, smartphones and laptops suppresses the release of melatonin (the sleep-inducing hormone) making it harder to fall asleep, stay asleep and get quality sleep. A good night’s sleep, of at least 7 hours, is as important for your health as nutrition and exercise so consider implementing a digital device curfew for you and your family – start with 30 minutes before bed, aiming to build it up to two hours before bed.
LESS CALORIE-COUNTING, MORE CALORIES THAT COUNT.
Calorie counting is so last decade. Rather make a conscious effort to consume calories that count. When it comes to food, the closer it is to where it started, the better it is for you. If you can’t farm it, grow it or pick it, think twice about eating it. The further produce gets from its natural state the more it’s guaranteed to contain ‘empty kilojoules’ like hidden sugars, refined starches, processed oils, preservatives and non-nutritive additives – the leading causes of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. So if you need to count something, get yourself a pedometer and swap counting calories for counting steps.
LESS BURNOUT, MORE BOUNDARIES.
‘Occupational Burnout’ is a syndrome recognised by the World Health Organisation and, while it’s not classified as a medical condition (yet), it’s implications on your overall health are obvious. As the demands of an “always-on” culture continue to increase, so too does the need for healthy, sanity-perserving boundaries. If you found yourself feeling exhausted, mentally detached or becoming increasingly negative or cynical towards the end of last year, it’s time to assemble EXCO – you, yourself and, well, you – and write a memo about put yourself first. Sound selfish? It’s actually the opposite. Clear, considered boundaries give you the energy, peace of mind and positive outlook to be more present with others and be a better partner, parent, colleague and friend.
LESS SITTING, MORE STANDING.
It’s simple – we’re not designed to sit, we’re built to move. It’s why you’ve probably heard the phrase “sitting is the new smoking” and maybe even explored the option of a standing desk. Marathon sitting sessions actually change your body’s metabolism, slowing it down after just 30 minutes of sitting, because the muscles in your lower body essentially become switched off. The good news? Getting up for just five minutes is enough to get things going again. And, if you start standing more and sitting less, you reduce your chances of cancer, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and back pain. Need another incentive? Standing burns between 100 and 200 calories an hour. Bonus!