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7 Bad Habits to Leave Behind in 2016 (and Why Ditching Them Can Make This Your Happiest Year Yet)
Instead of adding even more items to your to-do list in the new year, identify a few uninspiring, unfulfilling habits to quit.

Tim Swaan
Leave your those things that are weighing you down behind.

Itís very important to live on purpose, not by accident.”
Life is built on routines. Itís easy to go yearsóor even decadesówithout consciously assessing whatís working and whatís not. As a result, many of us are surrounded by people, obligations, objects, and habits that arenít exactly making our lives better (far from it!).

Well, no more. With a new year upon us, itís the perfect time to take a fresh look at your daily existenceóand drop all the dead weight thatís holding you back.

We tend to think of "quitting" as a bad thing, but the fact is, the things that used to fit well into your life may not be honoring who you are now. Itís very important to live on purpose, not by accident. So instead of piling even more responsibilities onto your plate in the form of overly ambitious New Yearís resolutions, resolve to become a quitter in 2016.

As an experienced image consultant, I focus on the entire body-mind-spirit connection when working with clients because I know that the impression you make isnít just determined by what you wear; itís also influenced by your attitude, outlook, and self-image. Here, I share seven habits and behaviors you might want to consider quitting in 2016:

Quit making excuses about your health. Have you been meaning to lose a few pounds (for the last 10 years)? Itís so easy to bump exercise and healthy eating to the bottom of your to-do list. There are usually so many other tasks that seem more pressing: Get that report to the boss. Set up a time to get the car inspected. Make sure the kids get to cello lessons on time. Meanwhile, you tell yourself, Iíll start going to spin class next week. Problem is, "next week" never arrives.

If you donít like the number you see on the scale, itís time for the excuses to stop, regardless of how legitimate they are. And thereís a good reason for this tough love: Your weight isnít just about your silhouetteóitís about your health, your energy level, and your confidence, too. Plus, the smile on your faceóand the way all your friends will remark on how fabulous you lookówill make you feel better every day for the rest of your life.

Quit burning the candle at both ends. Do you feel tired and run down? Are you overextending yourself? Do you pack your days too full and get too little sleep in order to accomplish everything you want to? You may think youíre getting ahead, but in reality, youíre hurting your quality of life. There are more studies coming out each year that affirm the health benefits of getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

If you make taking care of yourself more of a priority, youíll feel better about taking care of other people and have more energy throughout the day. Taking time for yourself isnít selfish; itís healthy and necessary. Whether you spend a day at the spa or simply take 10 minutes to purchase and enjoy a cup of hot tea in the midst of running errands, investing in yourself will make you more resilient and will also reduce your stress and tension.

Quit spending so much time with people who donít enrich your life. How many people do you regularly spend time withóeven though you donít really want to? You know the ones: Perhaps your sister-in-law constantly asks to get together, but spends the entire time criticizing everything from your clothes to your career to your parenting. Or maybe a certain frenemy peppers the conversation with backhanded compliments and one-upmanship, making you feel like your whole life has been one long series of bad decisions.

People with whom you feel obligated to spend time can suck up your energy and positive outlook, dragging down an otherwise great day or week. Often itís impossible to back out of the relationship entirely, but there are things you can do to minimize its negative impact on your life. First, make sure you have set up clear boundaries. In some cases, people might not realize how bad theyíre making you feel! And second, remember that you can gracefully say no to one social activity while accepting another, more positive one.

“ Remember, youónot your boss, your friend, or your childís teacheróare in charge of your calendar.”

Quit saying "yes" to everything. Many of us have trouble saying no for a variety of reasons: We donít want to let others down, we donít want to be seen as weak, weíre afraid to refuse, etc. However, until you learn to say "no" when you need to, youíll never be in the driverís seat of your own life.

You donít have to chair every event, take on every project, host every party, participate in every activity, and accept every invitation. Remember, youónot your boss, your friend, or your childís teacheróare in charge of your calendar. Right now, before 2016 gets off the ground, decide ahead of time whatís most important to you and prioritize those things. Then you can feel okay about saying no to some of the rest.

Quit at least one bad habit. Maybe youíre always running late, or youíve been overspending lately. Perhaps you tend to procrastinate on big projects until the last minute, or you stuff yourself with junk food when youíre stressed. The truth is, we all have bad habitsóand New Yearís resolutions are tailor-made to help you get rid of them.

To start, pick one bad habitósomething that causes you a lot of stress would be a good choice. Then design a game plan that will enable you to kick it once and for all. For instance, if youíre always dragging into work late, you might set out your clothes and pack your lunch the night before, wake up 15 minutes earlier, and refrain from turning on the TV until after youíre showered and dressed. Youíll probably find that in most instances, bad habits really arenít that difficult to scrub out of your life. Summoning the motivation to change and taking that first step are the hardest parts!

Quit looking "good enough." Most of us will never be runway models, but thatís no reason to settle for a humdrum, forgettable appearance. Wearing clothes (or a haircut, or makeup) that are dated, not flattering, or "good enough" isnít doing your self-image any favors. And like it or not, people really do judge a book by its cover. Donít you want to make an impression that clearly communicates your drive, personality, and confidence?

Get clear on colors and styles that are most flattering for your age, coloring, and body type, and stick with those guidelines whenever you make a new purchase. And face it: Wearing gym clothes whenever you can get away with it makes you feel sloppy and not as productive. You might also want to ask a trusted friend for honest advice. But if you want more personalized results, I recommend working with an image consultant whose trained eye can help you to look your absolute best.

“ And if youíre anything like me, seeing the beautiful pictures that only nature can paint will put you in a great mood for the whole day.”

Quit spending so much time inside. This year, make a resolution to get more fresh air. Take a walk, run, or bike ride a few times each weekóor just sit in a local park or on your back porch while reading a book. Getting out of your office or living room will help you think about yourself and your life from a whole new perspective.

Spending time outside helps you clear your mind, makes you feel more energized, and improves your health. Whatís more, doing even the most minimal exercise outdoors helps emphasize the need to drink more water and take care of your skin with sunscreen and moisturizer. And if youíre anything like me, seeing the beautiful pictures that only nature can paint will put you in a great mood for the whole day. Itís a totally different experience than sitting on the couch to watch a movie.

The beginning of a brand new year is the perfect time to reassess your life. Instead of adding more things to your 2016 to-do list, do yourself a favor and jettison whatís no longer working for you. When you get rid of habits, mindsets, and behaviors that are no longer working for you, youíll make room for new things that make you feel good and help you grow.

Marla Tomazin, Certified Image Consultant, established her image consulting business in 1990 with the goal of helping clients identify an authentic image and develop its effective expression. From a successful career in the fashion industry, Marla gained expertise in retail buying, merchandising, sales, and marketing. She began with May Company in Denver after earning a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Denver. Marla moved to New York where she worked with several well-known Seventh Avenue design firms. The progression to Certified Image Consultant was a natural transition. Her clients include women, men, and corporations seeking external revitalization that mirrors their internal development. Marla has appeared on numerous TV and radio stations and programs. For more information, please visit www.marlatomazin.com.

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