For many of us, it’s an annual tradition: come up with New Year’s resolutions so we can be our best selves, diligently follow the plan for a few days or weeks, and then ditch the resolutions and go back to our usual habits.
Part of the problem is that we often set overly ambitious targets. Once we start to fall behind on our goals, we eventually give up in frustration. This year, set some goals you can actually achieve.
Ease into exercise
Most of us would benefit from some more physical activity. But joining a gym or signing up for classes can feel daunting. Instead, start small. Find a friend who you can go on a brisk walk with two or three times a week. If you’re back in the office, consider riding your bike to work once a week. Get off the bus or subway a couple stops early and walk the rest of the way. And use the stairs a couple of times a week instead of taking the elevator.
Master home cooking
We’ve all felt the pinch of inflation. One way to save money on meals is to skip restaurant and takeout meals and prepare your food at home. Cooking at home also gives you control over how much sugar, salt and fat you consume.
If you’re the kind of person who eats out for almost every meal, set a goal of making at least one dinner at home a week - and make extra so you can have leftovers or freeze it for another day.
If you already cook at home regularly, encourage your children to join in and learn a valuable life skill. Inspire variety by challenging yourself to try one new recipe every week.
Get to bed earlier
Regular, restful sleep boosts your mood, health and cognitive functioning. Try to have your head hit the pillow 30 minutes to an hour earlier than you’re used to.
Start by avoiding caffeinated drinks and vigorous activities late in the day. To help you fall asleep earlier, put away your phone and laptop and turn off the TV at least an hour before you plan to go to bed. Instead, dim the lights in your room, and maybe curl up with a book.
Protect your digital self
Make this the year you protect yourself from cybercrime. Don’t reuse a password for multiple purposes or accounts. If you’re worried about remembering all your passwords, consider using a password manager. With this tool, you only have to remember one password to access all your accounts.
For a higher level of security, consider using passphrases instead of passwords. Passphrases are a series of four or more random words that are easy for you to remember, but almost impossible for cybercriminals to guess, such as BathroomLampClosetMug.
Also set up a schedule to make sure all your devices and software are updated. Better yet, enable automatic updates whenever possible. Make a habit of clearing your cache and browser history after browsing online, and always log out of your accounts.
Find more cybersecurity tips at getcybersafe.ca.