Ah, New Year’s resolutions. How often people forget them by the time February rolls around. Why do so many folks fail to keep promises to improve their lives?

The principle is elementary. If you genuinely want to change your life for the better, don’t wait for a specific date. Start making those changes now. Not tomorrow, not next week or when Monday rolls around — today!

1. Learn to Meditate

Meditation has many benefits. According to one study of 100 athletes, those who meditate for 12 minutes experience a smaller decrease in mood due to stress. In fact, those who exercise mindfulness routinely show considerable mental resilience, with higher scores in both attention and mood than those who forgo the practice.

Meditation allows you to separate yourself from your thoughts and observe them without judgment. Encourage your kids to practice with you to improve their behavior. Try a guided meditation on audio or breathing exercises. For example, inhale for a count of four, pause, then exhale. Show them how their belly should gently rise and fall when they breathe.

2. Practice Oral Hygiene

You brush twice a day, and you make sure your little one’s toothbrush is wet before they go to bed. However, do you floss as often as you should? Periodontal disease isn’t a mere matter of aesthetics. Poor oral hygiene can increase your risk of diseases like dementia, as bacteria can enter the bloodstream in the mouth and cause inflammation.

Floss your teeth daily, starting now. Make it a priority to teach your kids good oral hygiene at a young age, too. Schedule your baby’s first dental visit soon after they cut their first tooth, and supervise the way older children brush. They should lather for two minutes, paying attention to scrub along the gumline.

3. Meal Prep and Eat Healthy

How many times do you hit the drive-thru each week? If it’s more than once, that’s too much. Even one trip can result in consuming a full day’s worth of calories and sodium. Begin meal prepping, where you make healthy dishes to refrigerate or freeze to grab during the week.

Pick one day of the week to go grocery shopping. Prepare ingredients in individual and family-sized portions, ready to toss in the pan when you’re exhausted. Freeze treats like healthy black bean burritos to take for lunch. Sit down with your kids and decide what meals they’d like to eat. Then, collect healthy recipes from magazines and online.

4. Move Your Body

When you postpone exercising, you set a negative expectation for yourself. By delaying your commitment to getting fit, you establish the idea that moving has to be painful or arduous. If you wait until the New Year to get healthy, this mindset will make you more likely to hang up your tennis shoes.

Find a workout program that you love. If you’re the extroverted sort, you might welcome the camaraderie of a fitness facility. If you prefer to fly solo, perhaps hiking is your yen. Even if you put on music and dance around with your kids, you’re raising your heart rate — and instilling the idea that moving your body is fun!

5. Work Through Past Trauma

How much does your past influence your present? If you’re like the majority of mere mortals, the unconscious thought patterns established in your childhood continue today. That’s fine if you had an ideal upbringing. Yet if you’re carrying around baggage, you miss the opportunity to enjoy the present. You could also unintentionally pass your fears to your children.

If you’re dealing with issues like past abuse, seek out a licensed therapist. Techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy can help you reframe negative messages you’ve internalized. You might think, “I’m worthless. Nobody will ever love me,” if you heard that message as a child. Talk therapy can help you say, “I’m a valuable person worthy of love.”

If you can’t afford therapy or insurance doesn’t cover it, practice healing techniques independently. Think through past events the emotions you associate with them. Remind yourself that you’re safe. Then, ask yourself what you’ve learned through the experience. If your memories involve another person, write them a letter. You can decide whether to send it out toss it out. Once you process the emotions, let them go.

Follow Through on Resolutions Today for a Better Tomorrow

If you want to improve your life, don’t wait for the calendar to read 2020. Get started on a better life today.

Learn how to meditate and conquer stress. Get the whole family involved in meal prep, starting with finding delicious recipes. You should also work through past trauma, which allows you to live in the moment and enjoy your family. You don’t have to wait until New Year’s. What’s today’s resolution?