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40 Micro-Improvements to Un-Fail Your New Year's Resolutions

Lifestyle

Well, some say it's a to-do list for the first week of January. Statistics say it's something only 8 percent of people will keep up throughout the year. And I say they it's a collection of failures we line up for ourselves to experience. Every year. Except for 2018 -- am I right?


Reputable sources on the internet list the top 10 New Year's Resolutions as follows:

  1. Eat Healthier and Diet
  2. Lose Weight and Get Fit
  3. Quit Smoking
  4. Spend More Time with Family
  5. Learn Something New
  6. Get Out of Debt and Save Money
  7. Travel to New Places
  8. Be Less Stressed
  9. Volunteer
  10. Drink Less

Which for our generation roughly translates to:

  1. Stop salting food
  2. Make use of FitBit
  3. Stop smoking...cigarettes
  4. Answer mom's phone calls
  5. Buy more Groupons
  6. Uber only when necessary
  7. Attend more weddings
  8. Stop texting exes
  9. Volunteer...to flaunt on social media
  10. Vodka soda. Vodka soda. Vodka soda.

The problem with these noble aspirations is that they require considerable lifestyle changes and committed efforts to follow through. And though the start of a new calendar year may feel like enough motivation to do so, more often than not, we find ourselves right back where we started (just in lower spirits...)

This year, you can continue the cycle of goal fatigue from those overbearing resolutions -- OR -- you can set yourself up for success with a few mini-goals that are well within your reach. In the spirit of your success, we've crafted a list of micro-improvements to make in terms of: health, organization, money, happiness, travel, relationships, and volunteering.

Do yourself a favor and over the course of the next 365 days, accomplish one, two, or just a few of the below, and relish in the fact that you're achieving greatness! Or just be proud you're being an adult, which we've all learned the hard way, is not easy...

Here, the 40 Micro-Improvements that will help you stick to your New Year's resolutions
HEALTH

1. Get your teeth cleaned.

Dig up your insurance card. Locate website. Search for a provider. Set an appointment (like, maybe 6 months from now). Forget appointment.

2. Throw out expired food.

And makeup. And anything else with an expiration date. And while you're at it, clean your makeup brushes.

3. Put gym clothes and shoes in your car.

Or just put those clothes you've been meaning to donate in your trunk, so that you can a) finally drop it off at Goodwill and b) use them as workout clothes until you do so.

4. Get a flu shot.

At the beginning of the season. Think how many calories you'll save on soup and ice cream.

5. Grilled, not fried. On the rocks, not frozen. Salt rim, not sugar.

How to order at every Mexican restaurant.

6. Embrace dry shampoo.

“For a good, clean feeling. No matter what."

7. Get more massages and facials.

For health reasons, duh. Buy packages or encourage these as gifts from loved ones.

8. Floss.

Often.

ORGANIZATION

9. Clear out your email inbox

Download Unroll.me to instantly see a list of all your subscription emails and unsubscribe easily from whatever you don't want.

10. Delete your weird high school friends on Facebook

It helps if you do this on their birthday, when FB reminds you they exist.

11. Put an emergency tampon in key locations

Like your gym bag, glove compartment, boyfriend's house and every purse you own.

12. Give someone an extra key to your apartment.

Make sure it's not the weird friend from high school.

13. Throw out hideous promotional items you've accumulated over the years.

You don't need that Bank of the West blanket, or NuvaRing hat. It's fashion over function this year.

MONEY

14. Collect old gift cards and spend an entire day cashing them in.

You'd be surprised what you can still get at a Barnes and Noble.

15. Try to return that dress you lost the receipt for.

Maybe they'll take it, right?

16. Save a little bit of money.

Download an app (like Qapital) that automatically deposits into a savings account...or an emergency Vegas fund.

17. Invest a wee bit of money.

Spend half the time you do checking Instagram on checking stocks. Or the news. Or something time-worthy.

18. Shop clearance first, not last.

Nordstrom Rack is your friend.

19. Cook something once in awhile.

Microwaving counts. Salads also count.

20. Only order online from Amazon Prime.

AKA free shipping. AKA never pay for shipping.

HAPPINESS

21. Watch one Disney movie a month. Maybe two.

But seriously, no judgment if it exceeds 10.

22. Wear more costumes.

Or at least wear the appropriate color on each holiday: green on St. Patties, red on Valentine's (black, depending on your relationship status), etc.

23. Eat frozen yogurt as a meal.

Try your hardest to “wow" a Yogurtland employee. It's like a personal trophy.

24. Give more gifts.

Hand out glow jewelry or flash tattoos to people you don't know at a party to witness true joy.

25. Dress up as much as possible.

Wear clothing with kittens or puppies on it. Or whatever makes you happy.

26. Ditch the bitch voice inside your head.

She sucks.

27. Take more naps.

This includes in the car on your lunch break.

TRAVEL

28. Take a solo trip.

Find a cheap Airbnb and go make a friend.

29. Spend less money when you do travel.

Stop pretending foreign currency is “Monopoly money." It's real.

30. Go somewhere you don't speak the language.

This includes neighborhoods in your own town.

31. Figure out how to redeem points for a fully expensed trip.

Or just figure out how to redeem points. Seriously how do they do it?

32. Make believe.

Feel like you're traveling by using a random foreign accent to confuse people. It's great.

RELATIONSHIPS

33. Stop ghosting people.

Just kindly type: “Not interested." Easier written than said.

34. Be pickier.

Stop going on dates because you've been “meaning to try that place."

35. Be more strategic.

Start going on dates that end in tickets to see Hamilton.

36. Be more thoughtful.

Send people random “thinking of you" cards...or DM's.

37. Be more aware of others.

RSVP for your friend's events before they have to remind you to do so.

VOLUNTEERING

38. Donate old clothes.

But no shame if you try to sell them first. eBay is your friend.

39. Volunteer at home.

To show family/significant others “how it should be done."

40. Be a good friend.

Take a girlfriend to lunch and offer to listen to her problems. And listen, Linda, listen.

There you go, you're now armed with 40 tools that can make or break your 2018. With these in mind, tackle the New Year the right way (which just translates to whichever way you see fit…)

If not, there's always next year...

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Health

How This CEO Is Using Your Period To Prevent Chronic Diseases

With so many groundbreaking medical advances being revealed to the world every single day, you would imagine there would be some advancement on the plethora of many female-prevalent diseases (think female cancers, Alzheimer's, depression, heart conditions etc.) that women are fighting every single day.


For Anna Villarreal and her team, there frankly wasn't enough being done. In turn, she developed a method that diagnoses these diseases earlier than traditional methods, using a pretty untraditional method in itself: through your menstrual blood.

Getting from point A to point B wasn't so easy though. Villarreal was battling a disease herself and through that experience. “I wondered if there was a way to test menstrual blood for female specific diseases," she says. "Perhaps my situation could have been prevented or at least better managed. This led me to begin researching menstrual blood as a diagnostic source. For reasons the scientific and medical community do not fully understand, certain diseases impact women differently than men. The research shows that clinical trials have a disproportionate focus on male research subjects despite clear evidence that many diseases impact more women than men."

There's also no denying that gap in women's healthcare in clinical research involving female subjects - which is exactly what inspired Villarreal to launch her company, LifeStory Health. She says that, “with my personal experience everything was brought full circle."

“There is a challenge and a need in the medical community for more sex-specific research. I believe the omission of females as research subjects is putting women's health at risk and we need to fuel a conversation that will improve women's healthcare.,"

-Anna Villarreal

Her brand new biotech company is committed to changing the women's healthcare market through technology, innovation and vocalization and through extensive research and testing. She is working to develop the first ever, non-invasive, menstrual blood diagnostic and has partnered with a top Boston-area University on research and has won awards from The International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering and Northeastern University's RISE.

How does it work exactly? Proteins are discovered in menstrual blood that can quickly and easily detect, manage and track diseases in women, resulting in diseases that can be earlier detected, treated and even prevented in the first place. The menstrual blood is easy to collect and since it's a relatively unexplored diagnostic it's honestly a really revolutionary concept, too.

So far, the reactions of this innovative research has been nothing but excitement. “The reactions have been incredibly positive." she shares with SWAAY. “Currently, menstrual blood is discarded as bio waste, but it could carry the potential for new breakthroughs in diagnosis. When I educate women on the lack of female subjects used in research and clinical trials, they are surprised and very excited at the prospect that LifeStory Health may provide a solution and the key to early detection."

To give a doctor's input, and a little bit more of an explanation as to why this really works, Dr. Pat Salber, MD, and Founder of The Doctor Weighs In comments: “researchers have been studying stem cells derived from menstrual blood for more than a decade. Stem cells are cells that have the capability of differentiating into different types of tissues. There are two major types of stem cells, embryonic and adult. Adult stem cells have a more limited differentiation potential, but avoid the ethical issues that have surrounded research with embryonic stem cells. Stem cells from menstrual blood are adult stem cells."

These stem cells are so important when it comes to new findings. “Stem cells serve as the backbone of research in the field of regenerative medicine – the focus which is to grow tissues, such as skin, to repair burn and other types of serious skin wounds.

A certain type of stem cell, known as mesenchymal stem cells (MenSCs) derived from menstrual blood has been found to both grow well in the lab and have the capability to differentiate in various cell types, including skin. In addition to being used to grow tissues, their properties can be studied that will elucidate many different aspects of cell function," Dr. Salber explains.

To show the outpour of support for her efforts and this major girl power research, Villarreal remarks, “women are volunteering their samples happily report the arrival of their periods by giving samples to our lab announcing “de-identified sample number XXX arrived today!" It's a far cry from the stereotype of when “it's that time of the month."

How are these collections being done? “Although it might sound odd to collect menstrual blood, plastic cups have been developed to use in the collection process. This is similar to menstrual products, called menstrual cups, that have been on the market for many years," Dr. Salber says.

Equally shocking and innovative, this might be something that becomes more common practice in the future. And according to Dr. Salber, women may be able to not only use the menstrual blood for early detection, but be able to store the stem cells from it to help treat future diseases. “Companies are working to commercialize the use of menstrual blood stem cells. One company, for example, is offering a patented service to store menstrual blood stem cells for use in tissue generation if the need arises."