Don’t Make Resolutions. Build Habits.

It’s January, which means one thing is certain — we’re trying desperately to stick to our ambitious, and often guilt-driven, new year’s resolutions. With the new year happening right after the holiday season, we more often than not make grand plans to lose weight, exercise more, and never sleepless than eight hours a night. However, these resolutions are usually a product of late-night holiday parties, big feasts, and a healthful serving of cookies. In fact, in 2017 nearly 50% of people said their new year’s resolution was to lose weight. Think about it though: If the new year happened after summer —when we’re more active and spend lots of time outdoors — do you think you’d make the same resolutions?

In addition to just the odd timing of resolutions happening after an indulgent holiday season, the elephant in the room is that people have a hard time sticking to their resolutions. One large survey found that 80% of resolutions don’t even stick until February, which signals there might be a flaw in the system, rather than in our intentions.

Why Resolutions Don’t Work

Often, our resolutions are really big, visionary goals. Think: lose 10 pounds, save $10,000, or get six-pack abs. These visions are really hard to turn into daily actions, and we end up being at a loss with how to realistically attain these big resolutions.

That’s why building habits might be the better way. Habits are rituals and behaviors that we automatically perform, which allow us to carry out essential activities that are vital to our lives, like showering, getting dressed, and even reading before bed. Now, imagine if packing your workout clothes for the gym was as simple and mindless as brushing your teeth at night!

Habits are more reliable than resolutions because while they take time to form, once you do create them, it’s harder to let it fall to the wayside. While establishing habits isn’t always the easiest, it’s definitely attainable. Here are some guidelines for how to develop healthy habits for the new year.

Your Step-by-Step Habit Forming Guide

1. Start with a small action that will start the domino effect of establishing your habit. For example, say you want to cook more meals versus eating out. A good action to start with is to write a grocery list on Sunday morning that is filled with fresh and healthy ingredients.

2. Pick an anchor behavior that will trigger this new action. For example, brushing your teeth can trigger you to floss. For this grocery list example, maybe you always write one on Sunday morning while drinking your first cup of coffee at the kitchen table.

3. Make sure this behavior is easy and even fun! If you like writing lists by hand, maybe buy yourself some fun paper and a pen for your grocery-list writing. If you’re more of a digital person,  search for and download an app on your phone. Consider bookmarking some of your favorite recipe blogs on your computer so you can enjoy time searching for delicious meals to make. Or invest in a few good cookbooks. This will inspire you to cook and eat healthier.

4. Stay consistent. Habits are easier to form if you do them in the same place around the same time. Don’t write your grocery list on the fly, in between a million other tasks. Take time and make this a ritual.

5. Give yourself a pat on the back. Even if you may think this habit is small, it’s helping you reach a bigger goal: eating healthier. So when we tell ourselves “good job!” we get a little shot of dopamine to the brain which triggers our reward system. This not only feels good, but gives us a better chance of continually replicating our action and truly turning it into a habit.

6. Repeat, repeat!  While the grocery list creation might only need to happen once a week, other habits can happen daily. If you want to get stronger, you could start a habit of doing 50 pushups in the morning before you eat breakfast. If you want to create this habit, do it in the same room in between your other morning tasks, whether that’s brushing your teeth, making coffee, or checking the news. The repetition helps make this habit become automatic.

By taking small steps and creating habits, you could see some big results. So instead of making huge resolutions, consider focusing on habits that you can stick to every day that will help you make lifestyle changes you can adhere to for life.

CBD Oil: The hottest trend, but is it really safe and effective?

It seems like wherever you go, Cannabidiol (CBD) is there — from CBD coffee and creams to CBD dog treats, oils, and chews. But what exactly is CBD, how can it help with health, and is it safe to use and consume?

For starters, CBD is not the same as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Rather, CBD is derived from the hemp plant, a cousin of the marijuana plant. While CBD is found in marijuana, it’s not the component that causes a high. Moreover, the World Health Organization has stated that CBD cannot be abused and/or become addictive — good news all around!


But Wait — Is CBD Legal?

The quick answer to this question is: it depends. Every state in the US has certain laws that legalize CBD, yet there are a lot of gray areas, depending on if and how much THC is present, how it was grown and licensed, and if the CBD production followed federal regulations. And remember that while a state law might say it’s legal (in a state like Colorado, for example) the federal government still recognizes CBD in the same class as marijuana.

That said, CBD is becoming more and more mainstream, and laws around it are starting to loosen. In December 2015, the FDA lightened certain regulatory requirements so researchers could conduct CBD trials to better understand how it impacts our health. For more information on its legal status, search CBD laws by the state you live in.


CBD: What We Know About the Health Benefits

The tricky thing about touting the health benefits of CBD is more studies on humans need to be done to verify various claims. However, we do have some smaller, short-term studies that show promising results.

Interestingly, the strongest evidence around CBD health benefits is that it can help treat epilepsy symptoms in children. There are now three successful clinical trials that show that the medication Epidiolex (which contains CBD) can treat two rare forms of epilepsy — Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome — better than antiseizure medication.

CBD is also widely known for treating pain. (If you’re an athlete, you may have rubbed CBD lotion on sore muscles!  Certain small studies (in rats) demonstrate that CBD applied on the skin could lower pain and inflammation from arthritis, while other numerous humans studies reveal how CBD can inhibit inflammatory and neuropathic pain.

Rather than being addictive, a handful of studies show that CBD oil can actually help combat addiction. In an analysis of 14 studies, researchers concluded that CBD is therapeutic for people with opioid, cocaine, psychostimulant, cannabis, and tobacco addiction. This benefit is especially promising, given CBD’s potential ability to fight and replace opioids, a current alarming epidemic here in the United States.


CBD: What is it used for?

Many people also use CBD oil to treat anxiety and depression. While (once again) there are limited studies, a handful of experts believe that CBD interacts with serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and social behavior.

One study put anxiety and CBD to the test: 24 people with social anxiety disorder either received 600 mg of CBD or a placebo before having to speak in public. The group that received the CBD reported less anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort while presenting their speech compared to the group that received the placebo.

Additionally, a large 2015 analysis stated that CBD oil is a promising treatment for social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. With more studies currently being conducted, scientists and doctors should have an even better understanding of how it can safely promote better health.


Is It to Use Safe?

Since CBD is not FDA regulated, this is a tricky question to answer. Without being regulated by the FDA, you can’t know for sure that the product you’re purchasing actually contains the active ingredients written on the label. Moreover, experts disagree on what is the proper dosage for various people depending on certain medical conditions and ailments.

For starters, if you’re taking any medication, it’s best to tell your doctor you’re thinking of using CBD since it could interact with other types of drugs. Some users report certain mild side effects of using CBD, like nausea, fatigue, and changes in mood.


How Do I Consume CBD?

While CBD can be found in countless products, the most effective way to consume it is orally as an oil. Users administer a few drops under the tongue until it is fully absorbed. You can also add CBD oil to coffee or juice, consume it in a capsule, or enjoy in coffee or chocolate. Just remember that before trying CBD, it’s best to talk with your doctor to make sure you consume the right amount and it doesn’t negatively impact the other medications you might be on.

Don’t Be Fooled: 10 Diet Myths Debunked

As we ring in the new year, we more often than not are also ringing in a new approach to healthy eating. After all those holiday cookies and cocktails, it’s easy to get a little bit off track and use the new year as a way to maintain or lose a little weight.

To do this, many people cling to a specific diet or get stuck on popular sayings they’ve heard about the best ways to lose weight. We’re here to debunk those myths, and explain the more beneficial ways you can make habit changes to stay healthy, lean, and feeling good, both in mind and body.

10 Things You’ve Heard About Dieting, and Why They’re Wrong

Carbs are bad

This one is big. The most important thing to remember is that not all carbs are created equal. Whole grains, such as quinoa, brown rice, and whole-wheat bread, have more concentrated sources of fiber and other important nutrients the body needs, like B vitamins, iron, folate, and magnesium. In general, whole grain carbohydrates are good for you, and should have a seat at the dinner table. Refined and enriched grains, like white bread, pasta, and white flour tortillas aren’t the best choice you can make, but they won’t — and I repeat — won’t be the cause of your weight gain. As long as you eat in moderation, and don’t have a huge bowl of pasta every night, a simple carb every now and then won’t do damage to your diet.

Low fat and fat-free are healthier options

Despite somewhat decent intentions, the idea of making food low-fat or fat-free has actually caused more harm than help. First of all: fat isn’t bad for you. And second of all, taking the fat out of foods usually means that things like sugar are added, which stimulates insulin release, facilitates the storage of fat, and encourages inflammation throughout the body. Plus, the reduction or removal of fat means your protein uptake will take a downward tumble, and the food you’re eating won’t feel satisfying. The result? You’ll probably end up feeling hungry a few minutes later and will need more calories to satiate your growling stomach.

Always look for sugar-free

While sugar isn’t great for you, sugar-free foods are often filled with chemicals. While there’s a lot of controversies around artificial sweeteners, the FDA has approved five of them: saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, and sucralose. However, some health experts say people who consume sugar-free foods may end up simply replacing those lost calories through other food items. Others say that artificial sweeteners just make our sugar craving more intense. All in all, you can’t go wrong putting whole and natural foods in your body, so a little natural sugar — like honey or maple syrup — is more healthful than a fake sugar chemical.

Eating late at night will make you gain weight

The thing to note here is that people often think late-night eating leads to weight gain because what people consume late at night is often high in calories, sugar, and fat. (Midnight pint of ice-cream, anyone?)Yet if you have a light snack, like a bowl of popcorn or a piece of fruit, your healthy diet isn’t thrown out the window. If you’re hungry late at night, don’t deprive yourself. Just focus on making healthier choices.

If you’re overweight, you’re unhealthy

This is a tricky topic that could warrant an article (or two) on its own. But the short answer is that science has found that overweight people aren’t necessarily at greater risk for certain health conditions. One study found that people who are overweight have a fifty-fifty chance of having high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or elevated blood sugar levels, compared to normal-weight folks who had a 25% chance. In the simplest terms, there is a myriad of factors that lead to someone being overweight, and that doesn’t automatically peg someone as being unhealthy. Remember: health is holistic, and it’s not just what you look like or what number you see on a scale.

Fast to lose weight quickly

While intermittent fasting has become a science-backed way to lose some weight, it can easily be taken too far, or become an unreliable way to lose pounds and keep them off. Skipping meals is not the answer; you’ll just end up more hungry and will make up those calories later in the day. While the number on the scale might dip a bit if you fast, you’ll quickly gain the weight back one you start eating normally. In general, fasting can become an unhealthy habit, and the definition of good health should never include restricting yourself from calories, nutrients, and vitamins that give you energy and help you thrive.

Eat small meals to boost metabolism

This one is heard quite often in the diet world. Yet research shows that meal frequency doesn’t actually have an effect on metabolic rate. There have been numerous studies that compare eating more smaller versus fewer bigger meals, and all the results found no impact on fat loss or metabolism. In other words, focus on how many calories you’re consuming in total, versus when you’re actually consuming them.

You can eat whatever as long as you exercise

You can’t outrun an unhealthy diet. While exercise is a key component to good health, think about it like this: If you burn 400 calories on a run, you can easily make that up by indulging in a post-workout croissant. So if you’re an avid exerciser, don’t let that be an excuse to eat anything you want at any time of the day or night. Those calories will quickly add up.

Vegetarians can’t get enough protein

While eating a vegetarian or vegan diet isn’t necessarily healthier, some people are interested in it for ethical and environmental reasons. However, many fear they can’t get enough protein if they don’t eat meat. Fear not: You can get substantial amounts of protein through other sources, like beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, eggs, soymilk, whole grains, and even spinach. The meat-free protein list goes on and on — we promise.

Drinking water will lead to weight loss

Yes, staying hydrated is an important part of a healthy diet. No, stuffing yourself full of H20 will not lead to rapid fat loss. The critical differentiator here is that drinking water won’t specifically trigger weight loss. It can aid in the process, however, since often times we think we’re hungry when we’re actually just thirsty. Keeping a water bottle handle helps to ensure you can drink water regularly and not get phantom hunger pains when you don’t necessarily need to eat between meals.

Now that we’ve debunked these diet myths, you might be wondering how does one lose weight the healthy way? The short answer is that losing weight is a holistic process and includes changing habits around food, exercise, sleep, and stress. By focusing on eating whole, fresh foods (ditch packaged food!), watching your meal portions and snacking-sessions between meals, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and regulating stress levels, you will be at a way healthier weight than if you live by any of those diet myths you might have heard.

10 Study Hacks Every College Student Needs

10 Study Hacks Every College Student Needs

Wishing you were still lying on the beach in the summer? Yeah, us too. But there comes a point where we have to get back to studying. Being a college student is challenging enough so why not make it easier with some simple hacks. We’ve got the study hacks you won’t learn in a lecture hall.



No, not for Halloween or Prom, but for the day. The act of getting dressed up (as if you were going to leave the house) signals to your mind that you have something to accomplish that day. But we know comfort is just as important, so dress up in something cozy – it’s all about balance! Why not pair some simple black leggings with a fancier blouse to give the effect of a chic look.


Credits to Benjamin Franklin for this one, but… “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” When you have an assignment coming up, break up the assignment into little tasks. Then, plan when those little tasks need to be completed. Pro tip: Set the due dates for the little tasks by working backwards from the due date of the actual assignment.

Be sure to also give yourself wiggle room! Plan on having your work done in advance just in case. You never know if a task is going to take longer to complete than anticipated (which is often what happens).



Some people like to study with background music and others don’t. As always, we suggest doing what works for you! If you like to work in a silent space, work in a quiet environment or listen to white noise. If you prefer hearing something in the background, we recommend listening to alpha wave. Shy away from any music that has lyrics in it because the brain struggles to process lyrics and do work at the same time!



You know when you get a notification on your phone/computer and the buzz goes off, there is no resisting. You go to check your notification, get distracted by something else, and somehow end up spending an absurd amount of time procrastinating. Putting your phone on airplane mode will make you more productive and stay focused.



The Pomodoro Technique – a time management method that uses a timer to break work up into sections. We know it’s hard to give studying your full attention when you study long hours, so it’s important to block off your time! Spend 50 minutes studying and then give yourself a 10 minute break (or whatever time frames work best for you).


We’ve all heard about it, but how does it actually work? No, eating salmon (thanks to the fatty acids!) will not give you photographic memory or equations to all those math problems. However,  eating nutritious foods will help your brain function more optimally. When you want to reach for that candy bar, think about if it will help or hurt your mental clarity.

A lot of studies have found that foods like blueberries, nuts & seeds, avocados, and even dark chocolate are great for the brain! But we know eating those foods as it is can get quite boring, so we’ve collected a series of foods that will keep you fueled and focused. Even better, these snacks won’t be turning heads when you eat them at the library!



Learning by teaching. When teaching someone else, it will show you what concepts you know like the back of your hand, what concepts you kind of have a grip on, and what concepts you have no idea how to explain.

Also, when studying with other students, try to study with the “right” people, a.k.a. no one who is going to distract you and take you off track!



“Sleep is for the weak,” right? No! When you’re sleep-deprived, you can’t focus, which means you’re not going to be able to learn properly. Also, sleep helps strengthen memory, which is obviously necessary when you’re trying to retain information.



Move in a way that makes your body feel good. Running, weights, yoga, walking, swimming, barre, cycling… the possibilities are endless! And, no. You don’t have to slave away at the treadmill for hours to get in a “good workout.” You don’t even have to be drenching in sweat once the workout is done to call it a “good” workout! Taking short walks between study breaks can be just as beneficial. It is all about finding what works for your body. The body was made to move, so honoring that by exercising will aid in new brain cell growth! Not to mention, other side effects of exercising include boost one’s mood and sleep!

Same old thing making you feel uninspired? If so, switch up your studying environment! Libraries, coffee shops, study rooms, or parks are a few places you could go to study. Don’t want to leave the library? No worries! Just find another area in the library and it’ll feel as if you’ve entered a new space (because technically you have).


Article courtesy of Kira Bernhard