It’s that time of year again where we reflect on our past and look to the future. There’s something about a fresh calendar that inspires us to want to do better as a go-forward. Most of us know from experience that life-altering affirmations and major commitments to change often fall by the wayside by the time February rolls around (how many pieces of neglected fitness equipment are lurking in your closets?), but making minor tweaks to our daily routines or product choices is certainly doable. Here are some manageable health and beauty resolutions you can make for a more positive 2013.

Give each day a clean start

We all know that proper cleansing is the first step in skin care, but some of the harsh products out there are downright dirty. Sodium lauryl sulfates, parabens, synthetic fragrances and other nasty petrochemicals feature prominently in most soaps, body washes and facial cleanser formulations. There’s no need to give yourself a chemical bath to remove dirt, oil, sweat and other impurities. Mother Nature’s botanical ingredients are kinder, gentler and more effective at doing the job, making these products a more skin- and earth-friendly choice. It’s an easy switch to stock your shower and bathroom vanity with pure, natural, organic brands.

For the shower and sink-side, try affordable, multitasking Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, available in an array of luscious scents in both bar and liquid forms, or any of Leap Organics Foaming Hand Soaps or Body Washes. For the more delicate face, The Body Deli’s delicious super-food based cleansers will give each day a fresh start - try the blueberry or melon one and you’ll never go back to drugstore brands again.

Get more sleep

Easier said than done for many of us hyper-busy, stressed-out, pulled-in-many-directions people. Intellectually we all know that we need a nightly 7-9 hours of beauty rest to repair, restore and revitalize for the coming day, but sometimes it’s hard to unwind after the circus-like juggling acts of the day. You hop into bed desperately hoping to switch off and catch some zzz’s but with a racing mind and restless body, sleep is elusive.

Resist the temptation to reach for a medicinal sleep aid. Mother Nature has the solution in slumber-inducing herbs, flowers and essential oils like lavender, neroli and chamomile. Strategic aromatherapy not only triggers the deep relaxation necessary for some solid shut-eye, it smells wonderful too. Try a spritz of Primavera’s Sleep Therapy Lavender Pillow Mist or Calming Honey Chamomile Organic Airspray to set a tranquil tone to your bedroom and help bring on the serenity of sleep.

Go aluminum-free

There has been a lot of buzz about the cumulative health risks of aluminum in underarm products like antiperspirants and deodorants. Aluminum-based compounds work by blocking sweat ducts to prevent the body’s natural perspiration which can breed bacteria that give off the offending odor.

It’s pretty effective, but at what risk? It is known that these chemicals are absorbed into the skin and to the bloodstream and various studies suggest a link to breast cancer, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s and more. While there’s no conclusive evidence to prove a causal link, there is enough anecdotal concern to raise more than a few red flags.

Why not make 2013 your year to hedge your bet and make the switch to natural aluminum-free underarm care? We carry a range of floral, citrus and herbal scented natural deodorants that help neutralize offensive bacteria and keep you feeling – and smelling – fresh. Try Weleda’s Wild Rose Deodorant, Erbaviva’s Lemon Sage Deodorant or Dr.Hauschka’s talc-free Body Silk Powder. Some people go through a week or two’s adjustment period where their bodies wean off their familiar synthetic products, but taking a natural, healthier approach to managing B.O. is a positive step for the long run, plus the alternative could be the pits.

Shampoo without sulfates

Here’s another easy substitution to make for the new year that will really go to your head. Out with the questionable chemical concoctions that strip your strands of necessary oil with petroleum-based bubbles and in with natural sulphate-free products that cleanse your hair and scalp with beneficial botanical ingredients. You won’t believe how strong, shiny and healthy your tresses will be after a few weeks off the hard stuff.

The fact that this is also a better, greener choice for the planet is icing on the cake. You can’t go wrong with Rahua Shampoo from Amazon Beauty, Yarok’s Feed Your Volume Shampoo or any of John Master’s masterful hair care products. He even has an unscented Bare line for those who are fragrance-adverse.

Indulge in more massages

We probably don’t have to twist your arm to buy into this recommended resolution. Who doesn’t love a good massage? Not only does this pampering indulgence relieve muscle tension, soothe the soul make and your body feel divine, it has a range of therapeutic benefits including improved circulation, lower blood pressure, fewer headaches, better sleep and reduced cortisol levels (ie: stress).

While not everyone has the time or budget to enjoy regular spa visits, couples can commit to mutual massage sessions at home (you never know where it might lead) and even those without a partner can treat themselves to a tender foot rub or deep shoulder knead. A good book or internet search can get you in touch with proper techniques, and a supply of irresistible, nourishing, natural massage oils and balms will seal the deal on your commitment to this ritual. Treat yourself to Badger’s Vanilla Orchid Antioxidant Massage Oil, Dr.Hauschka’s Moor Lavender Body Oil or Suki’s Delicate Hydrating Oil and you won’t have trouble keeping this resolution throughout the year.