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New Year’s Resolutions – Thrive in 2015

Every year, we all make resolutions that we can’t keep. We promise ourselves we will cut back on all the junk food, go to the gym at 4 a.m. every morning, and possibly get a $30,000 bonus!

But then comes January 2. The days are short and we don’t get as much sunlight and because of this, it becomes hard to keep our happiness, let alone our resolutions.

During the harsh, cold months of winter some of us face constant fatigue, sadness, carb cravings and overheating (which can lead to weight gain), withdrawal from others, frustration and irritability, lack of energy, body aches and pains, and other challenges to keeping on top of your goals.

How can anyone keep a resolution in the dead of winter? We have some ideas, and it starts with making resolutions that we can actually keep. Here are a few.

1. Work out — outside!

No, we are not kidding you. Skip the gym, grab some gloves and a coat and head outside to get your exercise. Play with your kids, go sledding, go skiing, build a snow fort, shovel your driveway, take a walk, a run, or a hike, or ride your bike (get some knobby tires on that thing) and feel the cold on your cheeks and in your lungs. The fresh air and the natural light are so good for you. While everyone else waits for spring to get more active, you can work on being fit and happy just by staying outside instead of beating yourself up for letting that expensive gym membership go to waste.

2. Make Vitamin D your new best friend.

If you aren’t on good terms with Vitamin D, you should be. Vitamin D gives us a natural energy boost, and not having enough in the winter is part of why many of us experience the blues.

You can get Vitamin D in two ways. First, you can spend more time outside and absorb it in the sunshine (see resolution No. 1). Or, you can eat Vitamin D, either in foods themselves or as a supplement. A few foods that contain Vitamin D are fortified milk, egg yolks, liver, and certain kinds of fish. However, if you’re more calorie-conscious or can’t handle dairy, you can also take vitamin D supplements (consult your doctor, of course).

Whether you drink more milk or take a few extra pills in the morning, get some vitamin D — you’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll feel!

3. No carbs allowed! (Well, at least not too many of them.)

We know how tempting it is to load up on comforting foods when the weather is cold, but munching on carbs is a terrible idea for you. Those heavy foods will make you want to retreat into a warm cave and not come out again until the snow melts. Stick to foods that have tons of vitamins, like fish, fruits and nuts.

Many vegetarian meals are also packed with vitamins and minerals that help keep you upbeat but will still fill up your belly. You don’t have to stop eating carbs entirely – after all, this is the time of year when some of us do our best baking – but significantly limiting your intake of them will dramatically improve your energy level.

4. Did someone say vacation? Why yes, we did!

Instead of sharing a sunny beach with thousands of other people in July, head south in the winter for some R&R. You’ll pay less money and feel much better after a few days of lounging outside.

If all else fails, promise yourself to reach out.

If you can’t keep your resolutions, don’t ever be afraid to reach out. Talk with a counselor or other mental health professional who can help you. Having a counselor can help you keep your resolutions.

This time of year can offer so much joy — take a few steps now to keep a smile on your face all season long!

Do you have any tips for staying true to your New Year’s resolutions? Share them in the comments section below.

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