New Year's Resolutions: 10 Ways To Be Better To Your Body In 2012
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January has arrived, which means we are being bombarded with gym membership emails, we can't go to the drug stop without seeing magazine covers about exercising, and we're hearing the word "diet" everywhere we turn. Let's face it: It's hard not to think about our bodies right now and feel pressure to change ourselves, whether or not we really want to.
So, let's make it our mission this month -- and this year -- to fight back against these messages, and make resolutions that will help us feel good about ourselves every single day. Because guess what? Feeling confident and happy about your body inside and out makes you look better than any diet ever could. Plus, cooking and eating healthy foods and getting exercise can actually be fun -- as long as you remember that it's all about how you feel, not how you look. Check out the below slideshow for 10 of our favorite resolutions for a healthy mind and body this year.
What do you do to boost your confidence when you feel down? What is your feel-good resolution for 2012? Share your thoughts in the comments below or tweet @HuffPostTeen!
I Heart Me
Choosing positive body image affirmations and repeating the to yourself twice a day can make a huge difference in the way you feel about yourself. Choose a phrase that particularly resonates with you, like "I am beautiful, inside and out" or "Every day in every way, I'm getting healthier and healthier," and repeat it to yourself 10 times aloud. Even if you don't believe it at first, your body-thinking will gradually start to become more and more positive as a result.
Are you a strawberry lover or an almond addict? Make a list of the healthy, nutrient-rich foods that you already know you enjoy and try to incorporate them into your diet more often. Once you have a bunch of healthy favorites in your repertoire, branch out and be adventurous! Try new fruits, veggies, and other high-nutrient foods, and make sure you always have some in the kitchen for when you get hungry. You might be surprised how easy it is to replace junk food with delicious, healthy snacks!
Fun with Fitness
Don't make exercising a punishment -- it's no fun to dread going to the gym, and having a negative attitude will make it a whole lot harder to stick to a workout regime. Instead of slaving away on the treadmill, try to have a good time being active. Find the workout you enjoy the most, whether it's dancing, yoga, running outside, or tennis, and find a time to practice it every week. You can also increase your enjoyment by making exercising a social activity, and bring your friends along to try a fun new class!
Time To Unwind
Since stress is one of the main causes of depression and anxiety, managing your stress is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health. When the pressures of everyday life start making you feel anxious and overwhelmed, make a habit of taking a time-out until you calm down and feel better. Set aside some "me time" every week or even every day to unwind and do things that make you feel relaxed and calm, like writing in a journal, meditating, drawing, or even just reading for pleasure before bed.
Look on the Bright Side
Instead of fixating on your flaws, try to focus on your good qualities. Make a list of things you love about yourself to repeat to yourself when you start getting self-critical. Being aware of negative self-talk and choosing to focus on what you love about yourself will help you to accept your flaws rather than obsess over them.
Healthy and Hydrated
Staying hydrated is hugely important to being healthy -- drinking water aids in metabolism and helps to detoxify the body, among numerous other health benefits. Make a new year's resolution in 2012 to actually drink eight glasses of water each day. Once you feel the difference in your skin and energy levels (dehydration leads to fatigue), you'll be sure to tote a reusable water bottle around with you wherever you go.
Get Your Zzzz's
Getting more sleep will make you feel better about everything -- including your body. Lack of sleep can contribute to depression, anxiety, irritability, and stress, not to mention headaches and fatigue. No matter how much homework you need to power through, try to call it a night before 11 or 12 p.m. on school nights. It's pretty difficult to look or feel good when you're chronically sleep-deprived.
Ditch the Toxic Friends
It's a whole lot harder to be positive when you're surrounded by people who don't make you feel good about yourself. Having friends who love and accept you for who you are makes it easier to accept yourself, and will in turn boost your body confidence. In 2012, ditch the gossip girls and stick with your true pals!
Walk This Way
Although walking isn't a form of vigorous exercise, it's a wonderful, easy way to get moving and to relax at the same time. Walking has been <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/walking/HQ01612" target="_hplink">shown</a> to improve mood and manage weight, among other health benefits. So instead of driving to your friend's house, spend 15-30 minutes walking over and feel instantly less stressed and more energized.
Curb the Caffeine
After a late night study sesh, we know it's unthinkable not to grab a massive coffee the second you roll out of bed the next morning. But while it's totally fine to enjoy a cup of java once in a while, you shouldn't <em>need</em> coffee to wake up. Too much caffeine can <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/caffeine/NU00600" target="_hplink">lead to</a> anxiety, insomnia, irritability, and an upset stomach. Try switching to black, green, or herbal tea -- or better yet, fresh orange juice -- and soon you'll find that you can be energized in the morning without your usual double shot of espresso.