Although there is a lot of criticism regarding the whole "new year, new me" mindset, I personally feel that trying to improve certain aspects of your life is a great thing. Perhaps you don't necessarily need to use a new year as an excuse to make a positive change in your life, but if writing 2019 instead of 2018 gives you the inspiration to do so, I only encourage it.
Of course, everyone knows the corporations that mainly benefit from the whole "new me" idea are gyms. Once December rolls around, myriad advertisements bombard us to convince people to buy a membership. These sales may serve as motivation for people to start a healthier lifestyle but, more often than not, these "fitness goals" revolve less around bettering themselves overall and more about reaching a lower number on a scale.
Unfortunately, it does not seem that people have grasped the idea that skinny does not equal healthy, nor will being skinny automatically bring happiness. As someone who has struggled with insecurities regarding their weight for the majority of my life, this is a message that I constantly have to repeat over and over again in my head when my fellow friends inform me that their goal is to lose ten pounds by next Christmas.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve your wellbeing, but there are alternate aspirations you can shoot for in the next year that do not involve counting calories.
1. Drink More WaterGiphy
Throughout my life, I've read too many articles about how much water you're supposed to be drinking during the day. Some say eight glasses a day, others say three liters a day, and I'm sure others have said that I should be consuming a gallon of water every fifteen minutes. No matter what the actual amount is, it's likely that all of us should be consuming a little bit more water. This can mean carrying a water bottle with you or making sure you drink at least one glass when you wake up in the morning because increasing your intake is known to have so many benefits, both physical and mental.
2. Become More Environmentally ConsciousGiphy
Perhaps by buying a water bottle, you can complete two goals in one. The imminent danger that our planet is in has become more well-known, encouraging companies to create more eco-friendly products. This can include purchasing clothes crafted from recycled material, drinking sustainable, fair-trade coffee, or maybe even decreasing your meat consumption. You don't have to become a full-on hippie who tries to live purely off the energy of the universe, just try not to buy a plastic water bottle at the grocery store.
3. Reduce Time on Social MediaGiphy
As much as I know about how social media can negatively impact mental health, I cannot help but mindlessly scroll through Instagram or swipe through Snapchat stories simply to entertain my brain for a few minutes. I always tell myself that I should be doing something more productive (like writing my article that's due tomorrow) or use this leisure time for healthy stimulation such as reading, but I'll admit I am slightly addicted to my cell phone. Reducing time does not have to mean completely eliminating social media. It could just be timing how long you spend on Youtube for a study break, so your allotted fifteen-minute slot does not become two hours of time wasted.
4. Connect to Yourself SpirituallyGiphy
Whether this is through practicing your faith, through prayer, or through meditation, developing your spirit can improve your mental health in so many different ways. Finding a purpose in something greater than ourselves can help us feel like we're not alone like there is a power beyond that can guide us. Meditation specifically may make people uncomfortable and vulnerable if they don't quite know what they're supposed to do, but everyone can learn through practice. Even ten minutes a day can be life-changing.
5. Start a JournalGiphy
For a long time, I was very apprehensive about journaling because I didn't think I was "artistic" enough to get into it. I always saw images of beautiful bullet journals and thought that my attempt could never look so cool, so I shouldn't even try. Journaling can help alleviate stress and even manage mental illnesses, and it doesn't have to necessarily be aesthetically pleasing to do so. You can write down everything that happened to you in a day, things that you're thankful for, or even just doodle in the margins.
Having a health goal for the new year is great, but you shouldn't be trying to achieve that "bikini body" in time for swimsuit season. 2019 should be the year that you improve yourself holistically. If that means having a bite of a brownie because it'll make you happy, do it.
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