The new year is right around the corner which means that now is the time that everyone decides that they will completely change their life. They make all of these goals, work very hard to achieve them for about a month, then go back to doing the same things they've been doing for 8 years now.
I didn't want to fall into this pattern again, so I decided to change the way I thought about making lasting changes. So here is my list of 18 resolutions I want to try for 2018:
1. Exercise 3 to 4 Times a Week
Everyone tends to make weight loss goals for the new year that specify an exact amount of weight they want to lose. But setting a goal such as "I want to lose 20 lbs" tends to put a lot of undue pressure on people. They get tired of working towards it when the pounds don't melt off fast enough. Making a goal to work out a specific number of times per week is a much more efficient goal. It will help you develop a healthy and stable habit without pressuring you to change the scale.
2. Change Your Diet: Less red meat, more vegetables
Instead of starting the year off with a cleanse or some outrageous Hollywood diet, it's better to start making slow gradual changes. If you eat a lot of red meat, try to eat one less steak a week. If you hate vegetables, try to eat one new vegetable each month. Find recipes to make them taste good and eventually love them equally or even more than red meat. Healthy living is a journey, so try to take small steps towards the right direction.
3. Learn a New Language
There are so many benefits to being able to speak multiple languages. Knowing many languages improves your cognitive skills and helps ward off early onset dementia. It also allows you to communicate with more people and make you a more competitive candidate in the job market, especially when it comes to international offices. Also, if you're into lifelong learning and the continued pursuit of knowledge, this goal is right up your alley. Some of the best language learning programs and applications I know of include:
-Duolingo (perfect for those with more money at their disposal)
4. Take Yourself on Dates
Make 2018 the "Year of You!" Make self-care more of a priority in your life in the new year. Make it a habit to take yourself out once a month. Go and see that movie you're really excited about. Go to that new art exhibit. If you don't like going out, have a night in. No matter what it is that makes you feel replenished and ready to take on another day of being authentically you, do it!
5. A Chapter a Day Keeps the Stress Away
Read more books! Approach this resolution similarly to how you would approach getting fit and eating better: don't worry about the number of books you read a year. Just focus on building the habit of reading. Try to get into the habit of reading one chapter or a few pages each night before bed. There are so many benefits to building a reading habit such as improving your writing skills, memory, vocabulary, focus, and concentration.
If you aren't a hardcopy book person, go for audiobooks. Oh, the doors technology opens!
6. Start Writing Morning Pages or Journaling Regularly
There are so many benefits to journaling. It's a way to discover yourself and clarify your thoughts and feelings. It's a great stress relief and problem solving method. It's an amazing addition to your self-care routine. The process of morning pages is basically writing 3 pages in a stream of consciousness each morning, as explained in The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. If that doesn't work for you, you can journal at night or use an art journal/sketchbook. If physically writing doesn't work for you, you can try journaling apps such as Day One or Momento.
7. Declutter Your Space
A clear space gives way to a clear mind. Personally, I can tell when I am neglecting mental health and in need of a self-care day when my room is messy. Benefits of decluttering include improved focus, better mood, and better sleep. For those new to decluttering, I would suggest following the KonMari Method as outlined in The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.
8. Start Using a Planner or Bullet Journal
If you really want to get it together, organize yourself, set goals, and manage your time better, I would suggest a planner or bullet journal. I am personally a fan of the Passion Planner while my sister loves her BuJo. If you aren't someone who likes pen and paper, use an app. Some of my favorites include Google Calendar, iCal for Mac and iPhone, and Cal from the team that brought us Any.do.
9. Work on Breaking One Bad Habit
Use 2018 to become your best self. Think about that one destructive habit you have and work on breaking it. For example, if drinking is your bad habit, you can make the goal to be sober for 2018 by having at least one less drink a week. Or if your bad habit is having constant negative thoughts about yourself, you could try saying positive affirmations every morning to break it. Spend some time to think about the things you do that are physically, mentally, or emotionally damaging to yourself, and choose one to get rid of.
These are all resolutions to create our best selves in 2018. In part two, we'll talk about resolutions to help us have our best relationships in 2018!