THE BLOG
12/08/2014 08:23 am ET Updated Feb 07, 2015

15 Things to Help You Be Happier and Healthier in 2015

It's hard to believe that we are close to saying goodbye to 2014. I feel like most of the days go by pretty slowly, but the weeks and the months seem to fly by. Now is a good time to start thinking about the New Year and some of the things you'd like to accomplish. If one of the things you'd like to be in the New Year is happier and healthier, try these 15 quick, easy things in 2015.

1. Drink more water. I know, I know, you are probably all sick of hearing this one, but hydration is so important. Bottoms up!

2. Eat more vegetables. This is one of the best things you can do for your body. Get in more of those good, dark leafy green vegetables, vibrant reds and purples, and even white veggies such as onions and parsnips.

3. Get enough sleep. For a good night's sleep, unplug your electronic devices at least a half hour before bedtime, give yourself a nightly ritual to help signal to your body that it's time for bed, and keep the room dark, quiet, and on the cool side.

4. Get out in nature. There's nothing like being out in nature to make you feel more alive. No one can convince me that walking on the treadmill in a sweaty gym is as good for your soul as a walk in the park. Sure, both will give you a cardio workout, but the walk in the park will leave you feeling good all the way down to your soul.

5. Cut out the junk. Junk food, junk mail and junk people, will no doubt weigh you down. Start cutting out the junk food by sticking to eating things with ingredients you can pronounce; take care of the junk mail by getting on the no junk mail list; and tame those junk people by consciously cutting down the amount of time and energy you spend with them.

6. Get some exercise. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day if your schedule is really busy; get in more if your schedule permits. Find something that you love to do and then -- go do it!

7. Get a checkup. Don't wait until you're already sick to go see the doctor. Schedule an annual checkup just to make sure things are working the way they should. Be sure to know your weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure numbers and if anything is amiss, work to get those numbers into an acceptable range.

8. Green your routine. Chemicals are everywhere: in the air that you breathe; the beauty products you put on your skin; and the cleaning products you use to clean your home. Try cutting out some of the toxic chemicals by switching to more natural, non-toxic items.

9. Volunteer. Few things will make you feel better in life than giving back and doing something for others. Find a charity or organization you believe in and learn more about how you can help to support their efforts.

10. Get real. Living in denial is no way to live at all. If you are in a toxic relationship, have toxic habits, are heavily in debt, or are engaging in dangerous activities, it's time to get real with yourself and work to fix these issues head on. Acknowledging you have a problem is the first step towards working to fix it.

11. Have some fun. The joker had it so right when he asked the question, "Why so serious?" Life shouldn't be such a drudgery. Have a little fun! Pick up some hobbies or activities that bring you pleasure. Watch a comedy on TV or go see a funny movie. Play with your kids. Laugh with your friends. Find the fun in life.

12. Stop being so hard on yourself. No one is perfect -- NO ONE! Stop being so hard on yourself. Maybe you aren't as thin as you'd like to be, your house isn't "perfect," or you don't have your dream job yet. You've spent so much time being hard on yourself, let's see what happens when you start cheering yourself on.

13. Stretch yourself. That is, both literally and figuratively. Spend a few minutes every morning stretching your body and getting yourself ready for the day, then, throughout the day, think of ways to stretch yourself. Take a new class, read a new book, go for that big promotion! Challenge yourself and see how far you can go!

14. Skip the soda. There is honestly no nutritional value in soda. There is nothing in your soda that your body actually needs. And forget diet soda. Skip it all! If you want something "fizzy," try flavored seltzer water or mix some plain seltzer water with a tablespoon or two of black cherry concentrate and a splash of lime juice for a healthy, homemade black-cherry "soda."

15. Practice gratitude. Being thankful for what you have in your life is such a powerful way to help you love and appreciate everything around you. Even on my worst days I remind myself that there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for. Each night before you go to sleep, think of three things that you are grateful for. Drift off to sleep with that spirit of gratitude in your heart.

Want a whole year's worth of really great tips like these? Pick up my new book, Your Best Year Yet! 365 Days of Little Changes That Add Up to Big Results! It's available now on Amazon.com. The book is full of real-world, real-life information to help you gain control over every area of your life from finances to exercise, to relationships.

Take care of yourself, be nice to yourself, and be well! Here's to a great 2015!