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2X4: Four New Year’s Resolutions You Won't Break

Last year, you were geared up to use your gym membership, but by February your motivation may have started to wane. Instead of choosing a resolution you won't keep, resolve to make one of these easy changes in 2014:

  

Photos: West ElmWest Elm

Make Your Bed. Wanna be happier? Pull your sheets and blankets up and make your bed. Not once or twice a week, but every single morning. It only takes five minutes and is directly correlated with increased productivity and happiness throughout the rest of the day. Why does this work? Making your bed is what experts call a “keystone habit,” which basically means it leads to other good habits. Think of it as a morning boost to your daily productivity.  

Remove Indoor Pollutants. Cleaning up the air you breathe in your house doesn’t have to be a major hassle – just bring a few outdoor plants inside. According to NASA, houseplants are good for your health because they grab and filter polluted indoor air. If you're only going to spring for one plant, get a Chrysanthemum. NASA recently confirmed that these plants are the best at removing three of the most common indoor air pollutants (benzene, formaldehyde and ammonia). So buy a Chrysanthemum, and your resolution is complete (as long as you can keep it alive). Safety Note: Chrysanthemum is toxic if ingested by some animals, so keep it out of reach from pets!

  

Photo 4: West Elm

Start a House Fund. Stuff happens – that’s a fact of life. Instead of living in constant fear of a broken furnace or a flooded basement, get ahead of the game and start a house fund. That way, you’ll be able to easily manage any unexpected SNAFU that happens in your home. It’s easier than you think: Calculate how much you need to save each year, and then set up an automatic withdrawal from your bank account to a separate savings account. Then, you don’t even have to think about it again until you need the money!

Clean Your Sponges. If you regularly run your dishwasher then your work is pretty much done for this resolution. Once a week, just toss your sponge in the top rack and go about your business. This small action has a big reward: a study of 30 different surfaces in 22 homes found that the kitchen sponge has the most bacteria –more than your toilet seat or bathroom faucet! Over 75 percent of those sponges also tested positive for coliform bacteria, which can cause food poisoning. Um, ew. Protect your family by cleaning your sponges!

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