As the new year starts, you see it everywhere. People are at the gym, frequenting Chipotle, and taking a little more time out of their day to decompress. I recently found that it isn't necessarily what you're doing so much as it is how you feel. Do you wake up every morning feeling good? Or are you still dissatisfied with the going through the motions rut you have been in?

I have started doing five things that have made all the difference in the way I feel about each day ahead of me before it starts.

1. Start Your Morning on The Right Foot 

I wake up thirty minutes before I normally would, go outside without my phone and just relax. Rather than making a mental note of all the things I feel that I have to do, I learned from my communications professor to look at them as a privilege. Instead of thinking, "Shit, I have to get an oil change today all the way in Mount Pleasant," I thought to myself this past Monday, "I get to go and get my oil changed today." It sounds silly, but it puts things in perspective.

2. Physical Activity 

I go to the gym everyday. It started as a means of weight-loss. However, now it is much more. I look forward to it, and the feeling after a workout even if it is just a quick mile, is priceless.

3. Fresh Air 

Spending more time outside has helped. Fortunately, in Charleston, it has been averaging about eighty degrees the past weeks. You really don't realize what an impact the seasons can have on you, but for some a day in the sun can cure just about anything.

4. Detach 

Screen time: cut it out. Take a walk, ride a bike, or just hang out and actually engage in conversations with friends.

5. Stop Beating Yourself Up

Stop holding yourself to unattainable standards. You made a resolution and broke it? Okay? So did ninety-five percent of people that made them in the first place. You accidentally broke your diet? Allow yourself a cheat day. Stop taking life so seriously. The cookie won't kill you, but your self image will every time.

I don't know it all. I struggle every single day, but remembering these five things have improved my outlook on everything from relationships to academics and even my personal outlook on myself, which hasn't been this positive in a long time. The biggest lessoned learned is to pick your battles whether internal or external, it will save you time, effort, and doubt.