1. Add a Single, Healthy Habit to Your Daily Routine
Often when making New Year’s resolutions, you think of unhealthy habits that you want to rid yourself of, such as cutting out sugar or to drop certain people from your life. While these are both worthwhile goals, an easier way to attain them is to add a positive habit to your routine and watch as it naturally crowds out the ones that no longer serve you.
For example, instead of making a resolution to cut all sugar from your diet (which, let’s face it, is a pretty tall order), commit to eating more fruit. By adding more fruit to your diet, you may not crave processed sugar as much, finding it easier to cut back.
2. Re-frame Your Relationship with Stress: Use It to Your Advantage
The majority of Americans would benefit from shifting their relationship with stress in the new year. Stress can certainly be unpleasant, but by re-framing how you view stress, you can use it to your advantage.
Imagine taking advantage of stress to achieve goals instead of allowing it to delay them. This can be done in a few ways:
- Give stress a purpose.
- Use stress to motivate your behaviour to achieve goals.
- Step back and assess why you’re feeling stress. (The root cause of your stress might surprise you.)
In addition to developing a healthy relationship with stress, it’s also vital that you manage your stress levels. Practice self-care, in whatever form that may take for you, to keep stress from building. (If left unchecked, stress can take a toll on you physically and emotionally).
3. Do One Nice Thing for Someone Else Once a Week
If you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution that is almost guaranteed to make you feel better and is easy to put into practice, this one’s for you. Gesture as simple as texting someone a few words of encouragement can make someone’s day and takes less than 30 seconds.
Make a list of simple acts of kindness you can do once a week and stay consistent with it. Once you see the impact small gestures can have, you may want to aim for once a day. But start small as you’ll be more likely to stick with your new habit. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Surprise a neighbour or friend with a cup of coffee.
- Send a letter letting someone know you’re thinking of them. Everyone likes receiving a surprise card in the mail!
- Research volunteer opportunities in your area that require a weekly commitment.
- Cook dinner for a loved one or roommate.
- Call a friend and do more of the listening than talking.
4. Take on a New Hobby or Learn a New Skill
Whether it’s mastering the piano or joining a book club, your brain loves novelty. Not only do you feel a sense of accomplishment after trying something new, it might also boost your brain power and slow cognitive decline. For best results, choose a challenging activity that gets you out of your comfort zone. In other words, the more nervous you are about a new experience, the better you’ll feel after you’ve accomplished it.
5. Set Aside 10 Minutes for Self-Care Every Day
Self-care encompasses your emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health and is vital for your overall well-being. If you don’t take care of yourself, your body and mind will eventually do what it needs to do to let you know that it’s feeling abandoned.
Commit to honouring what YOU need in the new year by setting aside at least 10 minutes per day to tend to yourself. This will look different for everyone based on personal preference or need. For example, if you’d like to manage your anxiety in the new year, meditating for 10 minutes a day might be a good place to start. Or if you want to feel better physically, take a 10-minute walk in the morning to centre yourself before your day unfolds.
Whatever you decide to do, stay as consistent as possible. Try to practice self-care at about the same time each day. (First thing in the morning or last thing at night works well with busy schedules.) Again, give yourself at least 10 minutes in the beginning and gradually extend your self-care routine over time. By the end of the year, you’ll surely feel the difference!