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8 ways to upgrade your health in 2018

women stretching Pin It
Photo: Lauren Naefe

A recent study found that, although nearly half of Americans commit to a New Year’s resolution, only 8 percent of them actually see it through. But those who set explicit goals are 10 times more likely to claim victory at the conclusion of the yea—the more specific, the better.

So while pledging to “be healthier” in 2018 is a laudable goal, it’s not likely to get you very far. But if you instead focus instead on smaller, more manageable—and, in my opinion, more fun—targets, you may achieve just that. Plus, “take more baths” just might be the best resolution ever.

 Scroll down for the 8 healthy boosts you need in the new year.

Get Started
mindfulness at work
Photo: Stocksy/Lumina

1. Start a mindfulness practice—without leaving your desk

In some ideal, Zenned-out world, everyone would have (at least) 20 minutes a day to sit down to meditate. But in 2018, you’ve got to work with the time you do have. Enter desk mindfulness—a quickie self-check-in that every busy girl needs in her life. Just cease your typing for a hot second and turn your attention to those inhales and exhales. “Not breathing [deeply] is almost like you’re ‘freezing’—AKA being stuck in a moment,” says creativity and mindfulness coach Rebecca Kronman. Ahhhh, better already.

Be healthier in 2018
Photo: Twenty20/milaspage

2. Shift your thoughts to crush your workouts

You may be all too familiar with the chorus of mental roadblocks that arise during a particularly tough workout. Come 2018, it’s time to flip the script—by changing your thoughts. “As we know, the body and mind are linked, and the mental mirrors the physical,” writes Joey Gonzalez—CEO of Barry’s Bootcamp and a Well+Good Council member. “So when it comes to fitness, if you can shift the way you think about working out, that changes everything.” Gonzalez posits that one of the keys to overcoming these toxic thought patterns is to think of your workout as needs rather than wants. So even when your inner critic screams, “I don’t want to exercise!” you’ll still pack up your gym bag and get sweating.

woman in bath
Photo: Stocksy/Trinette Reed

3. Transform your bathroom into a spa

It’s just too easy to breeze through your cleansing routine on auto-pilot—lather, rinse, tend to your shower plants, repeat. A new year is a perfect occasion (read: excuse) to give your bathroom a spa-inspired spruce that will remind you to slow down that all-important post-sweat cleanse. This switch can be as drastic as an all-white remodel, or as simple as lighting a candle and putting on your favorite tunes.

Photo: Stocksy/Bruce and Rebecca Meissner

4. Live the hygge life

In 2018, you won’t choose the hygge life; the hygge life will choose you. If you aren’t already obsessed with this cozy-chic Danish trend, now is the time to get on board. Not only will your new lifestyle give you the excuse to stock up on fuzzy socks, it also comes with comforting dishes (like this stuffed sweet potato—hello!) and a forever excuse to take a night for yourself when you need to.

Photo: Stocksy/Beatrix Boros

5. Biohack literally everything

You know that yoga teacher who always says, “your body is your best teacher?” She’s right (or at least a biohacker would say so). Dave Asprey, founder of Bulletproof, defines this trend as, “the art and science of changing the environment around you and inside you, so you have more control over your own biology.” To get started, try hacking your hair care, your gut, and your vaginal flora (yup).

Gratitude practice
Photo: Stocksy/Guille Faingold

6. Be grateful

Let 2018 be the year you stop letting negative stories—I’m so stressed; I’m so tired; I’ll never fall in love—rule your life. (Or, at least do your damnedest to try.) According to spiritual guru and Well+Good Council member Gabrielle Bernstein, you can welcome positivity—and positive results—by beginning each day by making a list of all that you’re grateful for.

Bathroom Recovery Oasis
Photo: Stocksy/Anwyn Howarth

7. Add a restorative boost to your sweat routine

As catchy as the old “work hard, play hard” expression is, it leaves out a crucial component of any well-rounded cycle—you also need to rest hard. “Exercise creates inflammation and the recovery part is where we get stronger and you heal from the exercise,” says Emily Kiberd, DC, a chiropractor at New York’s Urban Wellness Clinic. So while you’re transforming your bathroom into a spa, you might as well go the extra (restorative) mile and turn your bathtub into a nervous system-soothing haven—with the help of Epsom salts.

stressed-out girl
Photo: Stocksy/TJ Macke

8. Actively reduce your stress by volunteering

In 2016, stress rendered 40 percent of people restless at night, and by November of 2017, that number was up to 45 percent. To no one’s surprise, this bump in anxiety is a result of the elephant in every room—AKA American politics. On the bright side, the past year of political change has compelled 51 percent of Americans to volunteer, according to findings from the American Psychological Association. So if reading the news makes you want to plunge into a digital detox, stock up on adaptogenic mushrooms, and possibly move to Canada, taking action in 2018 might be just the feel-good, do-good motivation you need to power your way towards the midterm election.

2017 was an epic year for wellness. Here are the 5 fitness stories that dominated on Well+Good this year, as well as the 5 most popular sex tips