The 25 Smartest New Year's Resolutions You Can Make Slideshow
December 29, 2016
Some can be accomplished in a day, while others may take all year
Procrastinating holds you back from achieving your goals. Fortunately, there are a lot of helpful tips and hacks to aid you in conquering your habits of procrastination, the simplest being the “two-minute rule”: If something can be done in two minutes or less, then you should just do it now. You should also start long-term goals or hobbies with just two minutes of action at a time; taking the first step, no matter how small, is always the hardest.
Change Your Diet
It’s easy to overcomplicate a healthy diet. Nutritionists, doctors, celebrities, friends, and family all offer their opinions. To simplify the process, follow the mantra of renowned food journalist Michael Pollan: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” His concise wisdom means avoid processed food, indulge in treats in moderation, and get most of your calories and nutrients from grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Commit to the Gym for 3 Months
For some, committing to go to the gym is a more inviting solution to weight loss than going on a diet. Sign up for a gym membership and go to the gym religiously (i.e, at least four to five times a week) for three months. Your physical transformation will motivate you to keep going and also improve your diet. Here’s a hint, though: Start your workout regimen halfway through January; gyms tend to be unpleasantly jam-packed for the first week or so after Jan. 1. Hold back just a bit and avoid the mob.
Contact Your Loved Ones Often
This resolution takes little effort and makes an immediate impact. Simply picking up the phone and telling a parent, family member, or friend that you’re thinking of them is a small gesture that brightens a person’s spirits. You never know what one phone call, email, or text message (or even letter, if you’re old school) may accomplish.
Continue With Education
As we age, our relationship to education changes. Going back to school provides constant stimulation that helps in many facets of life such as writing, public speaking, and critical thinking. Plus, higher education makes you even more valuable to current or potential employers.
Control Your Emotions
Expressing yourself can be, at times, a great relief, but it’s also important to know when to keep your emotions in check. Avoid burning bridges or saying things you can’t retract. Whenever something bothers you, sleep on it and reevaluate circumstances in the morning with a clear head.
Don’t Be Late
Tardiness is a sign of indifference — not a trait you want to be advertising. Nobody likes to have to wait for someone else, so start getting to places on time… or early.
Drink Less Alcohol
Oy… this one is relatable. Though a glass or two of wine at dinner, or a celebratory libation with friends, is appropriate and pleasurable, drinking to excess hinders your ability to accomplish other goals. Debilitating morning hangovers and dollars flowing out of your wallet like beer from the tap are just a couple of the negative consequences of excessive drinking.
Stress takes a toll on your mental and physical health. It can literally take years off your life. That’s why you want to position yourself so that you’re exposed to as few stressors as possible. Simple ways to relieve stress are too eat a healthier diet, reduce caffeine intake, avoid or cut way down on alcohol, cigarettes, and other drugs, and get plenty of sleep.
Express Yourself Through Art
This year especially, people have had a lot of pent-up emotions. Instead of unleashing these feelings on your Facebook page or a Reddit forum, try expressing them through an artistic medium. Getting your thoughts down on paper, either in the form of a story or poetry, is helpful and relaxing. If writing isn’t your thing, pick up some drawing supplies or a musical instrument.
Getting in shape incorporates aspects of a few resolutions: Making dietary changes that focus on more plant-based foods and home cooking; exercising consistent; and cutting out smoking all contribute to better health, and targeting just one of these attributes puts you on a path toward better fitness. The reward comes from being able to run a mile, or play a casual game of ultimate Frisbee or pick-up basketball, without exhaustion.
Learn/Improve Cooking Skills
Mastering a new kitchen technique expands your culinary confidence. With some basic epicurean insight, cooking can be a pleasurable escape. Try experimenting with different cooking methods such as braising, poaching, or steaming, and as always, make a point to expose yourself to unfamiliar flavors and ingredients. Besides being a major dating plus, knowing your way around the kitchen will save you money and inevitably improve your diet because you’ll be in control of the salt, sugar, and fat contents in your meals.
Let Go of Grudges
Holding on to past quarrels takes an emotional toll that can weaken your resolve. Grudges are corrosive; they eat at you from the inside, leaving just a shell of a person. Learn to forgive, forget, and move on, or else you will subject yourself to another year of suffering.
Often found at the top of New Year’s resolution lists, losing weight is a popular goal. It requires a high degree of willpower and discipline, but the byproducts of weight loss, which include improved confidence, a slimmer physique, and a lower risk of weight-related health problems, are well worth the struggle. The two components of weight loss are exercise and diet, and fortunately there are a lot of resources to set you on the right path.
Growing your social circles does two things: It introduces you to new friends and exposes you to potential business associates. Meeting people is not necessarily easy or comfortable, but that’s what resolutions are all about — pushing you out of your comfort zone.
Pick Up a New Hobby
Have you always envied someone who could draw or play an instrument? Well, today is the first day of the rest of your life, and it’s never too late to start a new hobby.
Want cooking to be that new hobby? Click here for 15 basic cooking methods you need to know.
Breaking away from this psychological addiction is a trying task for even the most strong-willed people, but quitting cigarettes should be on the top of every smoker’s resolution list. The American Lung Association offers advice and suggestions regarding how to quit smoking.
Read at Least a Book a Month
Sitting down with an enticing novel or a stimulating biography is entertaining, but reading also expands your vocabulary and fortifies your writing skills. A well-written story temporarily transports you away from the harsh realities of the world.
We can get lost in the seemingly endless obligations of our everyday lives, but giving back through volunteering has the power to alter our perception of our current situation. Not only does volunteering contribute vital services to people in need, but helping others relieves stress within yourself. Helping out at a soup kitchen, food pantry, or animal shelter is just as beneficial to others as it is rewarding to you.
Easier said than done, right? Though not everyone has the opportunity to save, stashing a small fraction (even 1 percent) of each paycheck into a bank account offers a comforting degree of protection, and may even lead to an early retirement.
Step Back From Social Media
When are drowning in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. Things like FOMO (fear of missing out) and “Facebook envy” affect our own self-perception and self-confidence. Try to cut back on social media time and commit more of your energy toward introspection. Even just deleting some apps from your smartphone can be a step in the right direction.
Going abroad exposes you to unfamiliar cultures, but besides being introduced to new foods, customs, architecture, and lifestyles, traveling also helps you appreciate home. Coming back from a vacation may change your perception on life. Many people say they find that although the world is very diverse, the wants, needs, and struggles of all people, regardless of location, are more or less the same.
Try to Get 8 Hours of Sleep Each Night
Do you wake up in the morning feeling groggy and unmotivated? This might be the result of not getting enough shut-eye. Getting a full eight hours of sleep a night is linked to a myriad of benefits including improved memory, longer attention span, and heightened creativity. It’s also important for your overall health.
Lists literally and figuratively bring order to our complicated lives. Making a list will declutter your mind; it will prioritize tasks, organize time, and remain as physical evidence of our productivity and accomplishments. You won’t know how satisfying it is to cross something off your list until you actually do it.
Write in a Journal
In this crazy world we live in, self-reflection is the key to maintaining our sanity. Writing once a day, or even once a week, helps organize thoughts. It’s also rewarding to look back on past entries to track your personal growth.