I don’t know about you, but the holidays are certainly creeping up on me. It feels like just yesterday I was clearing the table after Thanksgiving dinner—and now we’re just days away from the new year! And it’s about time to have those resolutions locked in. I’ve never been one to place a lot of importance on setting New Year’s resolutions, but this year I’m turning over a new leaf: I’m taking this opportunity to really improve my life and the lives of those around me. And I want you to join me—consider taking on these 10 New Year’s resolutions:
1) Acknowledge your worth.
We are our own worst critics—and man are we tough on ourselves. Make it a priority this year to ease up, to acknowledge your worth instead. Build yourself up instead of tearing yourself down; vow to stop the criticism for that pimple on your chin or for your “too-unruly” hair. Love yourself, including the imperfections or self-perceived flaws.
2) Learn to enjoy healthier foods.
Every single year, many of us set goals pertaining to losing weight or going on diets. And oftentimes, we fail—because we hold ourselves to unrealistic expectations. Instead, you should simply set out to enjoy healthier foods… and the rest will follow suit. We could all benefit from eating more nutritious foods, as it doesn’t just improve our physical health but our mental health as well. So, start incorporating healthier foods into your diet that you actually enjoy. That way, you’re likely to stick with it!
3) Incorporate exercise into each day.
Okay, most days—we all need a day off here and there. The point is that exercise is incredibly important, as it keeps your muscles, bones, heart, and mind healthy—and the more, the better! So kick off the new year with the goal of incorporating exercise into every day that you can. You don’t even have to go to the gym if you don’t want to or don’t have time: take your dog outside for a walk; dance around in your living room; whatever gets your body moving and heart pumping will fit the bill.
4) Spend more time with loved ones.
It’s all too easy to get caught up in hectic schedules and neglect time with the people we love most—but it’s time that changes. This year, make it a priority to spend more time with friends and family. Find a way to fit each other into those busy schedules: meet your best friend for lunch once a week; FaceTime your distant relatives when you have a minute; plan a weekend trip to see your parents. According to a recent Harvard study, maintaining these meaningful relationships is essential to optimal emotional, mental, and even physical health.
5) Have more gratitude.
Many of us take what we have for granted: the roof over our head, the food on our plate, and the people that love and support us unconditionally. It’s easy to forget about these blessings when you’re stuck in a rut, but remembering and acknowledging these fortunes may be the key to getting out of that rut. Simply being thankful for what you have can improve your physical and psychological health, help you sleep better, and improve your self-esteem. So make it a goal to be grateful, day in and day out—you’ll reap these amazing benefits and more.
6) Show that gratitude.
It’s one thing to be thankful, it’s another to show that gratitude. You might habitually mutter a “thank you” at the grocery store and when you’re out to eat, but it shouldn’t stop there. Tell your loved ones just how thankful you are for them; take some baked goods over to the fire station to show your appreciation for their hard work. And channel that gratitude into something even greater by giving back—volunteer at a local shelter or donate to a well-deserving charity.
7) Prioritize your happiness.
Make it a resolution to prioritize your happiness this year; to channel your time and energy into what makes your heart feel good. This might involve reevaluating your job, how you spend your free time, and even who you spend your time with. If possible, eliminate or limit those things or people that prove to negatively impact your wellbeing. And shift your focus to what boosts it: perhaps time spent with good friends; that new dance class; or serving your community.
8) Stop and “smell the roses.”
Life can be a doozy—but it’s important that we slow down to actually enjoy it, that we stop and “smell the roses.” This year, make it a resolution to focus on the present. Practicing mindfulness will help you accomplish this goal: simply live in each moment; bring your attention to what’s happening here and now. Instead of worrying about what happened in the past or what may happen in the future, concentrate on what’s current. Doing so can relieve stress, boost well-being, and prevent mental illnesses like depression.
9) Be kinder.
Our world could always use a little more kindness. So, make it one of your New Year’s resolutions to perform simple acts of kindness each day—everybody involved will benefit, including you! Various studies have tested and proven the many positive effects of kindness: being kind makes you happy, it inspires others to be kind too, and it can even help you live longer.
10) Give yourself a break.
With New Year’s resolutions comes the pressure of succeeding at them. Oftentimes, we experience a setback or find that our resolution was just a little far-fetched—and we beat ourselves up for it. But we shouldn’t. Make it a goal this year to give yourself a break: if you slack off on exercising for a week, tell yourself it’s okay; if you put time with loved ones on the backburner, forgive yourself. And then move onward and upward—remember why you set those goals and get right back on track. It’s never too late to work at and achieve your goals.
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