5 New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Actually Want to Keep

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Resolution season is upon us. Something about the dawn of a new year sparks the desire for change within us. But if you’re anything like me, a lot of typical resolutions aren’t very appealing: Lose 30 pounds? Pass. Learn a new language? Handy, but I don’t have the patience.

Where most people get hung up is in believing that New Year’s resolutions need to be dramatic, life-altering commitments in order to count. Unfortunately, that is exactly why many people stray from their resolution paths after just a few weeks. But there are so many ways to improve your life in one year that may seem small, but can have a huge impact later on. If you’re looking for a nontraditional resolution for 2017, you may want to consider one of these:

1. Try one new food every month. This can be a great resolution for picky eaters. Expanding your palate is no small potatoes; the more foods you’re willing to try, the greater your restaurant menu choices become, and the more places you are able to travel without having to worry about the availability of your “safety” meals.

2. Reach out to three old friends. As adults, we lose touch with old friends oftentimes for no other reason than not having the time. If you have a few of those friendships in mind, dust off your phonebook and give them a call, text or email. Unless there has been a falling-out between you, chances are they will be thrilled to hear from you.

3. Save money. Take a look back through your bank statements for this year. How much money did you spend? Now, how much money did you save? If your spending habits could use a little work, a new year could be the opportunity you need. Try to put away $50 every time you get paid (or choose any number you’re comfortable with). At the end of the year, that could be an extra $1,200 in your pocket.

4. Learn to cope better. Most of us would agree that stress is an unavoidable constant in our lives to some degree. But how many people would say that their coping mechanisms are perfect? Truthfully, most people don’t have the best strategies in place for handling stress. Perhaps you are extra abrasive toward coworkers when you’re stressed (which can cause them to stress — please don’t be the catalyst for a stress-train), or maybe you lash out at your spouse or kids. Maybe you shut down completely and can’t function anywhere. Learning healthy coping mechanisms is a slow and ongoing process, but can make a huge improvement in your life and in your relationships.

5. Learn a new skill. This is a great resolution because of how broad it can be. Learning to do something new — even something small — can be scary, but once you get the hang of it the feeling is empowering. This resolution can encompass everything from learning to cook to learning to rock climb, and everything in between and beyond. No matter how small you may think the skill is, it’s still something you couldn’t do before and that’s nothing to sneeze at!

3 Reasons to Have a Glass of Red Wine Tonight (If You Needed Any)

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Most of us have heard that a glass of red wine with dinner is good for our health, but what makes it good? What makes it better than white wine? While both are delicious and have their benefits, white wines tend to be more acidic than reds, and don’t contain as many antioxidants. White wine may be lower in calories, but red wine packs a stronger punch in terms of health benefits.

In case you needed any, here are three reasons you may want to consider switching your nightly glass of wine from white to red:

1. Red grapes contain resveratrol in their skin, which helps protect the body from the regular breakdown of aging and has been linked to increased longevity. As a result, this powerful little compound is also found in red wine. You may have heard of the “French Paradox,” which refers to the fact that the French have a significantly lower mortality rate due to heart problems despite heavy cigarette use and diets high in saturated fat. Many studies on the Paradox have tied the red wine consumption of the French to their lack of heart disease and death by coronary failure. The presence of resveratrol, among other antioxidants in red grapes (and thus, red wine), is believed to be key to counteracting the adverse side effects of smoking and saturated fats.

One thing to keep in mind is that resveratrol is not as effective when it is isolated, so taking a supplement isn’t as powerful as eating or drinking something in which the compound is found naturally.

2. Sleep better. Red grapes contain high levels of melatonin, the chemical responsible for regulating your body’s circadian rhythms, in their skin. Small amounts of melatonin can be found in red wine; more or less, depending upon how its grapes are treated on the vine, when they’re harvested, and the process the grapes undergo during the winemaking process.

3. Improve your dental hygiene. This one might surprise you. Proanthocyanidins found in red wine, which have the properties of antioxidants, help harden tooth enamel which helps protect your teeth from bacteria and plaque. These same antioxidants can improve the health of your gums, so if you struggle with sensitive gums that bleed easily, incorporating more red wine into your diet may help.

There can be too much of a good thing, but as long as your wine habits are responsible and you are otherwise healthy, red wine can boost your health in the long run. It is important to note that over indulging in any alcohol is known to have significant negative effects on health, so moderation is key.

Bottoms up!