2018 is here! Often, this transition into the new year is coupled with countless resolutions, made in hopes of improving yourself from the previous year. Losing weight and getting fit is often among the most popular new year's resolutions. If you're looking for something different this year, listed below are 18 ideas to improve yourself in 2018 that aren't related to joining a gym.
1. Read every day.
Whether it's in the morning while you're eating breakfast or a short 20 minutes before you go to sleep, reading every day is a way to give your brain a good workout.
2. Pray more.
Pray often and strengthen your relationship with God. If you're not religious, meditation is a good alternative for relieving stress levels and increasing peace of mind.
3. Drink more water.
Drinking the recommended amount of water daily is honestly an accomplishment for me if it happens. To help with this, keep a full water bottle with you at all times.
4. Have a regular sleep schedule.
A consistent sleep schedule has a variety of benefits for your body's health such as improved mental health and better sleep quality. If you're looking to regulate your schedule, try waking up earlier. Early risers are shown to have more consistent sleep schedules compared to those who wake up later in the day.
5. Keep a daily gratitude journal.
Before going to bed each night, write one thing you were thankful for throughout the day. You're going to sleep with a happy and grateful mind.
Ideally, take a few hours out of your day once a week to volunteer. Nursing homes, hospitals, or even libraries are often looking for volunteers.
7. Start saving money.
Decreasing money spent on material goods - clothes, shoes, makeup, etc. - and making coffee at home are two great ways to start saving money in the new year.
8. Spend less time on social media.
Various studies exist pairing social media with mental health issues in teens and young adults. Decreasing the time spent on social media can improve your mental state, and may lead to increased productivity as well.
9. Keep a food journal.
Keeping a food journal does not necessarily need to equate to counting calories or tracking macro-nutrients. Being conscientious of the food you're eating will most likely help you lead a healthier lifestyle.
10. Get organized.
Clutter and disarray has a surprisingly large effect on mental state. Cleaning and organizing can help increase productivity, lighten your mood, and increase sleep quality. It may seem like a burden to do, but the payoff will be well worth it.
11. Be vulnerable.
This one might be cliche, but don't be afraid to be vulnerable. Be completely open and honest with your feelings towards people. Be more appreciative of the little things in life. Always look for reasons to be happy.
12. Learn to cook.
Learning to cook can help you become healthier and also help you save money. Stop spending money on fast-food restaurants and instead search for recipes online.
13. Be more present.
Turn off your cell phone, put your worries aside, and really be present in conversations. Give your full attention to people whenever you're interacting with them. It will make a world of a difference in your relationships.
14. Be an active news reader.
Sometimes, it's difficult to keep up-to-date on the news between classes, work, and our other social activities. Reading the news keeps us informed and active citizens. Download a news app, watch a video, or read the newspaper; just stay connected.
15. Make breakfast a priority.
A cold piece of leftover pizza does not count as breakfast. A nutritious breakfast such as eggs, oatmeal, or a fruit smoothie will provide a much better start to your day.
16. Reduce your carbon footprint.
Recognize your personal contribution to climate change. Try walking or biking to work instead of driving, or take public transportation instead of your own vehicle. Buying locally-grown food or reducing your dairy/meat intake could also help reduce CO2 emissions.
17. Take care of your teeth.
Dental hygiene is so incredibly important and is often overlooked. Be sure to take care of your teeth, not just by brushing and flossing daily, but don't forget to make appointments for regular cleanings.
18. Smile more.
Research suggests that smiling can transform your life. It not only is proven to lift our mood, but it can make us appear more attractive to others and brighten the mood of those around us as well. If you're looking for a simple, yet effective, new year's resolution to improve your life, smile.