As the new year approaches, floods of resolution stories start coming out. I'm personally sick of resolutions because, well, they don't work. They are lofty goals that feel heavy instead of inspiring. So this year I decided to skip the resolutions and instead find some powerful yet simple ideas that can be real game changers for the year ahead.
I did some research and interviewed five experts for their best suggestions (and included some of my own expert ideas that really work) on how to be healthier, happier, prettier and richer in 2014.
Gina Marotta, happiness advocate and guide
To be happier, find the natural passions and joy hiding in your work and life right now. For 10 minutes at the end of each day, answer this question: What were the best parts of my day? In a few weeks, you will see patterns. Then make it a point to incorporate those things into your career and life daily.
P.S.: There are six other "Find Your Genius" questions from Gina, here.
Tiffany Louise, spiritual beauty consultant
-- Add a highlighter makeup pen (such as MAC Prep + Prime) to your cosmetic bag. This tiny step in your beauty routine can brighten undereye and highlight cheekbones to create a healthy glow.
-- Practice thoughts of gratitude. Authentic beauty starts from within and shines outward. As you get ready for your day, acknowledge what you have to be thankful for -- this is the foundation that works with every skin tone.
Christine Kurban, president and CEO, Sync360, Inc. and co-founder, Belly Vita
-- Surround yourself with people who make money and fellow entrepreneurs. Learn from them. Ask them questions. Listen and understand how they are successful. Be in their energy fields -- it rubs off.
-- Always respond to emails. Even if it's two weeks later because it's not urgent, always respond. Be accountable.
-- Stop focusing on marketing yourself or growing more business. Instead start focusing on how to improve your current relationships, business services, operations and products.
-- Donate. Money is simply energy -- when we give money out, it comes back to us. If you're struggling with money or want to make more -- donate to your favorite charity. It will come back to you in more ways than you know.
-- Invest in yourself. Hire a team to support you. Don't expect to know all the answers. The most successful people have teams of people helping them. I have a business coach, an energy healer, a therapist and a spiritual guru!
-- Always ask for what you want. From better hotel rooms to higher rates to meeting times that work better for your schedule. Don't be afraid to ask -- you never know how much more you can create until you do.
Erica Strama, fashion expert for The Shops at North Bridge, Chicago
-- Embrace shapewear. Did you know there's so much more to shapewear than the nude-colored bike short? Whether you're a 2 or a 22, you will see benefits from this modern miracle.
-- Make it fit. If it doesn't fit, it doesn't work. Find a great tailor (dry cleaners can work, too!), carve out at least an hour and start trying on your clothes. You'll be amazed how a nip here and a tuck there can make all the difference.
-- Wear color. Wearing black will indeed make you look slim, trim and sophisticated. But if you stare at your closet and see a sea of black (and greys and browns), it's time to add some color. You'll be amazed at what a pop of color will do to your mood -- and the mood of those around you!
Jamie Russo, chief of work and wellness at Enerspace Coworking
-- Schedule mini workday walk-breaks. Walking gets your blood flowing to stimulate focus and creativity. Note: Walking to get a tea refill or even walking in place inside of a cubical counts! Any movement is better than none.
-- Have plants in your office. Plants reduce stress and help you focus. Buy a couple low-maintenance varieties like English Ivy or Peppermint plants for your desk or book shelf.
-- Use a laptop stand. This simple and inexpensive gadget improves your ergonomics and lets you work longer without pain.
Me: Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D. -- food and nutrition expert
-- Exercise before touching a phone or computer. Once you touch technology you will get sucked into the cyberworld of emails, deadlines and fires to put out and exercise won't happen.
-- Make a vocabulary shift. Instead of thinking I really "should" exercise or I "have to" exercise, start saying I "want" to exercise. This small word shift changes exercise from a chore to something you look forward to doing.
-- Give yourself permission to half-ass exercise. When you're tired or short on time, don't skip a workout, just half-ass it. Keeping the habit and routine of workouts is more important than the effort you put in. Personal note: Doing this helps me not miss more than two workouts in a row (even though some are short and sweat-less).
-- Stage for success. Yeah, yeah -- ideally you'd plan all of your meals and snacks, but when planning isn't working, just get some healthy stuff into your home and office so it's more likely that you'll grab the good stuff.
-- Use a table + plate + chair. Eating meals and snacks mindfully from a plate while seated a table helps you naturally eat less and enjoy food more. Work hard to limit distracted eating while lounging on the couch watching TV, at your desk answering emails or standing in the fridge.
-- Practice delicious monotony. Choice is paralyzing and overwhelming. Instead of having a dozen different meal choices each week, keep your choices to just a few healthy basics you love and repeat often. Repetition can be soothing and delicious.