Before we get started on the topic of New Year’s resolutions, let’s get one thing straight: this does not need to be a time to apply unhealthy pressure on yourself or indulge in feelings of guilt. In fact, I only set goals I know I can keep and encourage you to do the same. Why not set yourself up for success? There is nothing better than working towards something and then achieving it.
It truly is a gift to yourself to realize a goal. Doing so not only gives you something to look forward to but also boosts self-esteem and overall fulfillment. I believe this is particularly relevant during the COVID-19 health crisis we find ourselves in around the world. Life may not be going as planned, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find satisfaction in these altered living conditions of social distancing, shut-downs, and mask mandates. This is a time to prove to ourselves that we are strong, resilient, and capable of making the best of our lives, regardless of what’s going on with the pandemic.
For today, how about we narrow in on a particular area of your life you want to improve? We’ve all heard that it’s best to make a specific goal and avoid broad, general ambitions. So I’m here to help! Keep reading to discover some well-defined New Year’s resolution suggestions organized by topic which you may want to take on. I’m sure you’ll be able to identify one that you’d like to spend extra effort on developing during 2021. If you’re feeling extra ambitious you’re welcome to pick a couple of goals!
It’s safe to say that during quarantine we’ve all grown to really treasure our relationships with loved ones. When you’re limited to the number of people you can safely interact with face-to-face, you come to really appreciate the people in your own household (at least that’s the case for me!). Strengthening connections with them is truly worthy of every effort we can make.
So here are two potential New Year’s resolutions you can adopt to fortify your relationships:
Tuck your children in each night, regardless of their ages
Commit to schedule in a few minutes every night to say good-night to each of your children. This is an important time of day to reconnect them but will look different depending on their ages. Young children will likely settle in to sleep easier if a simple song or story is a part of their bedtime routine. Plus they will end the day being reassured of their parent’s love for them. Even teens will appreciate the chance for a quick conversation about their day. It will let them know that you are there and ready to listen if they ever want to talk about anything going on in their lives.
Give your spouse/partner an eight-second hug every day
I had to include this in honor of the incredibly influential Collin Kartchner, who passed away earlier this year. If you’re not already familiar with his work, he led a crusade to save kids from addictions to screen time and provide alternatives to smart phones. After researching and consulting with medical professionals, he promoted an eight-second hug because of the accompanying oxytocin release, decreased anxiety and depression, and increased connection. Although his platform was aimed at relationships with children, this tip will clearly enhance your marriage as well. So make it a goal to give your partner an eight-second hug every day this year!
All, or at least most, of us are interested in the maintenance of our bodies. It’s been tempting to let exercise or nutrition go this year as we’ve been forced to stay home more than ever before. But we need to recommit to feeling strong and fit, balanced and well. Since we’ve each heard plenty of advice on how to be healthier, I’m going to keep it simple for you.
These are two ideas of New Year’s Resolutions which will promote better physical health for you:
Buy avocados every week
Not only are they delicious when properly prepared, avocados offer significant health benefits. They contain many of the vitamins and minerals your body needs daily, such as fiber which improves your digestion, potassium (contains even more than a banana!), and folate which boosts your mood. Additionally, avocados are a heart-healthy food which help lower cholesterol. If you have a constant supply of this healthy food, you will find savory ways to enjoy them. For example, you may fall in love with avocado toast, avocado smoothies, avocado pasta, or avocado tacos. And incorporating this nutritious fruit into your diet will lead to other healthy choices as well.
Track your steps
Whether you decide to use a smart watch, an app on your phone, a fitness tracker, or a good old fashioned pedometer, make it a point to keep track of how many steps you take. As someone who appreciates data and stats, I can see myself setting mini-goals throughout the year to increase my step count or distance traveled once I have access to that information. Being aware of your steps will promote an active lifestyle. I suspect you’ll find yourself ditching elevators and walking to errands which are close your house, all because you want to see the numbers go up on your step counter.
It’s no secret that our minds need attention and stimulation just like our bodies. Don’t let your cognition slip after a historic year which required most of us to stay home and physically distance from others. Both of these suggestions will up-level your thinking skills and push your brain to grow and expand.
Make one thing with your own hands this year
Customize this goal to suit your interests and talents. For instance, you could choose to write the first 50 pages of a story idea you’ve had for a while, make a jean blanket, build a wooden bench, or plant a herb garden in your yard. Whatever you pick, the act of creation will promote mental stimulation. Forcing yourself to create something on your own will engage your cognitive faculties like nothing else.
Learn and use a new word every month
As students, we were introduced to new vocabulary words on a regular basis. Why stop that just because we’re adults now? I challenge you to begin every month of 2021 by finding a new word (check out the Quizlet app!) and writing it on your mirror, on a sticky note attached to your dashboard, or on your family’s calendar. Doing so will remind you to find ways to infuse it into your conversations and build your vocabulary.
A troubling effect of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the depression and anxiety which has afflicted countless individuals who have lost so much that gives meaning to life, including employment, health, and social gatherings. While I acknowledge that sometimes a professional is best equipped to help pull you out of emotional distress, there are a few things we can each do to rebuild our emotional strength.
Here are two concrete ways you can bring more happiness into your life:
Get dressed every day
While it may sound dreamy to stay in yoga pants and yesterday’s make-up, there are serious benefits to getting ready even if you don’t have anywhere to go. You will feel so much more energized if you shower, apply makeup, style your hair, and get dressed head-to-toe daily. Research shows that this routine affects your behavior and improves your mindset. It sends the message that you are worthy of time and effort. Marie Kondo, author of the amazing book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, believes that if you dress in grungy clothes it will look like you belong in them. So if you want to feel better about yourself, care for your physical appearance even if you plan to stay home all day.
Make a (brief) entry in your journal daily
You’ve heard this before, but there is good reason why journaling is often recommended for a better life. I feel like if there’s one thing you’re going to record it should be what you’re grateful for. There are proven benefits of regularly acknowledging the good things in your life. For one, it sets you on a quest to find something to appreciate every day. You’ll go about your normal activities searching for what to write down in your journal at the end of the day. You’ll set aside your troubles, even if just for a few minutes, as you identify something that’s going right in your life. At least that’s my experience!
Put Your Home in Order
Is there anything better than having an orderly home? I think we all agree that it feels great to have a clean, organized home (especially as many of us have been working from home more than ever before) but it sure can be challenging to get it that way. There are so many tasks to stay on top of including laundry, stocking the fridge, filing bills and important paperwork, keeping up with yard work, and cleaning the grout. In the midst of all these mundane responsibilities, it can be easy to forget about bigger picture jobs that enhance the vibes in your home.
Without further ado, let me offer you a few potential New Year’s resolutions to up-level this aspect of your life:
Every time you make a purchase, get rid of something you don’t need anymore
Not only will this simple practice eliminate clutter, but it will also make your living space feel more orderly. And the best part is that other people may really benefit from your hand-me-downs. You could always donate them to one of several organizations which collect gently used household items, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters or the MS Society. By making it a habit to clear out unused items, you will save yourself the headache of rummaging through an overcrowded closet later.
Meal prep, meal prep, meal prep!
If you haven’t tried this before, you need to! It only takes a few minutes to put together a weeklong menu and corresponding grocery list, but it saves you so many decisions throughout the week. No more wondering what to eat each night or making rushed trips to the store because you don’t have that vital ingredient you need. With just a little bit of planning, your experience preparing food could be stress-free!
In the words of Porky Pig, that’s all folks! I hope you’ve found this list helpful. Many of these goals positively affect multiple areas of your life. For instance, eating more avocados might boost both your health and your happiness since food influences our moods. Likewise, working on a creative project may satisfy your need for mental stimulation but also contribute to a deeper connection with a loved one if you work together on the project. I see this overlap as a beautiful thing and intend to select a few resolutions which will enhance my life in more than one way!