You’ve done it before – made New Year’s resolutions with every intention of keeping them over the course of the following year, but found yourself breaking down and reneging on them within a month. Sometimes the problem is simply that you have made far too many overreaching resolutions and when this massive overhaul proves too difficult you ‘throw the baby out with the bath water’ and find yourself behaving worse than ever before.

That said, the dawning of a new year can be the best time to start making changes for the better in your life – there is something cathartic about turning over a new leaf at the same time you turn over the calendar page.

Instead of thinking about these steps as ‘resolutions,’ think instead about ending these four toxic behaviours in order to simply live more happily and dramatically increase your well-being.

1. Competing with others on Instagram 

Social media has made communicating and staying in touch with our loved ones so much simpler than ever before – but for many people it has also unleashed a green eyed monster of jealousy. Seeing glamorous models enjoying bespoke cocktails, breezy Mediterranean holidays and effortlessly chic fashion can make anyone feel frumpy and behind the times – but remember, a lot of these instagram photo shoots are heavily styled and are only possible with a team of photographers, lighting experts and make up artists. Taking a nice picture is fun; spending hours ruminating about why your life doesn’t live up to your frenemy’s life online is toxic. You can’t compete with the Rich Kids of Instagram – they are the kids of billionaires – and if you think what you see is real have a quick look at Essena O’Neill who has been writing extensively about the lie that is social media.

2. Quit Smoking 

You know that smoking is bad for your health, and the anxiety that comes from constantly feeling like you need to quit is bad for your mind. No one can deny that quitting smoking is difficult – but by using your will power, smoking cessation methods and support groups to end your crippling addiction to nicotine you will be making a positive change in your health that will send ripples across your entire life.

3. Impulse Shopping 

Ever noticed how you get sales notices the same day as your student loan? The shops know better than you do when you have cash and they want you to spend it. For many people, the opportunity to shop online from their mobile phone, and pay for stuff through two clicks, has made it easier than ever to spend money 24/7 – and sometimes this is money that you do not actually have. Most students will graduate with almost £60k of debt, according to the NUS, so why go into debt in order to buy stuff you can’t afford and don’t need? If you truly want or need an item, sleep on this for a few days before you click on “buy” online.

4. Cut out the junk

Munching on a bag of crisps every lunch hour? Downing three pints after work more days than not? Grabbing a cheeky takeaway a few nights a week? Not only are these fatty junk foods causing your scales to tip, they are giving you a nasty brain fog and contributing to clogged arteries, heart disease and other maladies. Make better food choices and you will feel – and look – better than ever. 4m people in the UK now suffer from type 2 diabetes, this is almost completely lifestyle based.. so if you don’t want to cut junk out for the money, cut it out for yourself. Your life, literally, depends on it and YOLO!

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