According to an English study, it takes an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become a habit.
This fact alone invites us to reflect on the importance of setting ourselves new goals, especially as we enter the New Year. Why is this such a good time for change? The start of a new year symbolizes a fresh start, a blank canvas on which to paint our aspirations and dreams. It's a time when we feel naturally inclined to reflection and self-improvement, giving us the opportunity to reassess our habits and set meaningful goals.
But what kind of resolutions should we consider? Rather than choosing vague or unachievable goals, let's focus on achievable, concrete resolutions that give us pleasure and have an impact on our well-being.
Here are our ideas for small, everyday resolutions for young and old alike, to get the year off on the right foot!
20 minutes of sport every day
Just 20 minutes of physical activity a day can increase life expectancy by 3 years. Regular exercise, even in moderation, can have a profound effect on our overall health. It improves cardiovascular function, strengthens muscles, increases bone density and reduces the risk of many chronic diseases. What's more, exercise benefits not only the body, but also the mind. It has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, boost self-esteem and improve sleep quality.
Practice Gratitude for +25% Happiness
Cultivating gratitude on a daily basis can transform our perspective on life. Taking a moment each day to appreciate what we have improves our mood and overall well-being. Gratitude reduces stress, strengthens relationships and helps us see the world in a more positive light. As a family, establish a daily moment where everyone shares something for which they are grateful. This could be during dinner or before bedtime. Older children can keep a gratitude journal to help develop a positive outlook.
Daily Meditation: -14% Stress
Practicing meditation every day, even for just a few minutes, can help manage stress, improve concentration and promote a calmer, clearer state of mind. To make this practice accessible to all ages, here are some recommended meditation apps:
- Petit BamBou This application offers meditations specially designed for children. The short, playful sessions are perfect for introducing younger children to the practice of mindfulness.
- Namatata With guided meditations for children, Namatata offers short, engaging sessions to help young minds relax and learn meditation.
- Mind : Mind offers meditations adapted to teenagers, addressing themes such as school stress, anxiety and self-confidence.
- Petit BamBou In addition to sessions for children, Petit BamBou offers a wide range of meditations for adults, covering various aspects of mental and emotional well-being.
- Insight Timer (French version) Insight Timer offers a wide variety of meditations in French, with options for all levels and interests.
- Respirelax+ Respirelax+ is a simple and effective application for learning to manage stress and relax, suitable for all ages, although it focuses more on breathing than on classical meditation.
Quality Sleep: -17% Risk of Mental Illness
Restorative sleep is a pillar of mental and physical health. Getting enough sleep every night can improve memory and concentration, and significantly reduce the risk of mental disorders.
Here are some age-appropriate strategies for improving sleep quality:
- Story box: Use devices like the "Lunii" or "My Fabulous Storyteller" that tell soothing stories to help children fall asleep.
- Bedtime routine: Establishing a regular routine with calm activities such as a warm bath, a story or soft songs can signal the brain that it's time to prepare for sleep.
- Soft, soothing nightlights: A small nightlight with a soft glow can reassure children who are afraid of the dark.
For Teens and Adults
- Breathing exercises: Techniques such as deep breathing and meditation can help calm the mind and prepare the body for sleep.
- Disconnecting from screens: Encourage teenagers to turn off electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime to reduce exposure to blue light, which can disrupt natural sleep rhythms.
- Relaxing routines: Routines like a relaxing herbal tea, reading, or listening to soft music can help signal the body that it's time to rest.
- Relaxation techniques: The practice of gentle yoga, meditation or progressive muscle relaxation techniques can help release the tensions of the day.
- Sleep-friendly environment: Make sure your bedroom is an oasis of calm, with a comfortable temperature, a quality mattress and pillows, and minimal noise and light.
25 grams of sugar a day
This is the amount of sugar intake recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO): less than 10% of total energy intake for adults and children, and ideally less than 5%, which equates to around 25 grams (or 6 teaspoons) of sugar a day. Reducing sugar intake to this level can significantly reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. What's more, it contributes to better dental health and an overall improvement in well-being.
Reducing sugar intake can be a challenge, especially for children accustomed to sweet flavors. Fortunately, there are many resources and alternatives for cutting back on sugar while indulging yourself. Here are a few suggestions for the whole family:
- Naturally sweet snacks: Choose fresh fruit, dried fruit or plain yoghurt as alternatives to sweets and sugary snacks.
- Cookbooks for children: Books like "Je cuisine à la manière de..." by Mélanie Martin offer fun, healthy recipes suitable for children, encouraging a low-sugar diet.
- Family cooking workshops: Involving children in the preparation of healthy meals can help them develop an interest in lower-sugar foods. Activities like making smoothies or homemade cereal bars can be fun and educational.
- Food Tracking Apps: Apps like MyFitnessPal can help teens become aware of their sugar intake and find healthier alternatives.
- Recipe books for teenagers: Books like Michel Oliver's "La cuisine est un jeu d'enfants" can give teenagers ideas for tasty, low-sugar recipes.
- Healthy cooking books: Books like Danièle Gerkens' "Zéro Sucre" offer delicious recipes with no added sugar.
- Natural Sugar Substitutes: Use natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup or stevia to sweeten your food and drinks.
Time in nature reduces the risk of depression by 7%.
Spending time outdoors is not only enjoyable, it's also good for your mental health. Nature has a calming effect, helping to reduce stress and anxiety and increase feelings of well-being. Whether it's a simple walk in a park or a hike in the mountains, contact with nature is a powerful natural antidepressant.
Developing a Growth Mindset: Daring to Try Something New on a Regular Basis
To cultivate a "growth mindset", one of the most stimulating and rewarding resolutions is to commit to regularly trying something new. Whether daily, weekly or monthly, the challenge is to step out of your comfort zone and explore new activities, ideas or skills.
A few ideas:
"Learning is the only way to turn the impossible into the possible."
By incorporating these resolutions into your life, every little step you take is progress towards better health, a happier mind and a more fulfilling life.
"A journey of a thousand miles always begins with a first step." - Lao Tzu
Happy New Year, and may each day be a new opportunity to grow and shine!
- European Journal of Social Psychology
- Harvard Medical School
- American Psychological Association
- National Sleep Foundation
- Psychology Today
- Journal of Health Psychology
- American Journal of Public Health