New Year, new you! The new year is a perfect opportunity to get around to doing all those things you have been putting off for weeks, months, or maybe even years. You know what we’re talking about ⎼ that gym membership you pay for but never use, that Rosetta Stone course you bought and never opened, those meatless Mondays that never happened. Well, it’s time to stop saying “I’ll do it tomorrow” and start acting today.
Just remember to start small. Don’t choose something that is too unrealistic to accomplish because if you’re not able to implement it, it’s likely you’ll become discouraged. Setting small, attainable goals is the best way to make sure that the changes you make are going to stick.
Try some of these simple tips to give yourself a productive and happy New Year:
Get That Money
Many of us struggle with money; it’s just a fact of life. By setting a budget, you’ll be able to focus on the things that actually matter to you and save money for more expensive things. That vacation you’ve always wanted to go on? It’s attainable if you cut out some excess spending and start a savings account. Budgeting doesn’t have to mean spending less money; it just means spending your money wisely and knowing where it is going. That money you spend on your daily coffee can be easily saved by making a cup at home instead. Simple things like that will help you save more money in the long run!
This one of the most common goals people set for themselves, and also the one that people abandon fastest. Instead of setting a weight-based end goal for yourself – such as, “I want to lose 10 pounds” – try making this into a lifestyle goal instead. Perhaps you will vow to cook at home more times during the week, instead of eating out. Or maybe you will try to take 10,000 steps every day. Simple things like this will help you to lead a healthier lifestyle and can be easier to stick to than setting a weight-loss goal. Many of these things can also be done with a friend. Having someone to help keep you motivated and accountable can make it easier than just trying to do it alone.
Get a Hobby
The New Year is a great time to try out that new hobby that you’ve been putting off. You can use this time to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Maybe you’re looking to exercise your comedy chops and join an improv group, or perhaps you’re trying to make yoga and meditation a part of your daily routine, instead of an occasional thing. During this time, there will be a lot of other people also trying out new things, so you won’t feel so alone being the newbie in the group, and you might even make a new friend! And remember, you don’t have to leave home to get a hobby. You can try things like knitting or drawing. Doing these activities more often will help keep you focused and feeling accomplished.
If you’re not already keeping a diary, journaling is a great way of increasing mindfulness and appreciation for things in your life as well as a great outlet for processing how you are feeling. You don’t have to start writing detailed entries from day one, if you’re new to it though. You can start by writing down one thing that happened to you that day, or one thing that you’re grateful for. Doing this will help you to see all the good things in your life and will help you to chart the year, giving you something to look back at when the year is over.
Instead of resolving to do something once a day, try breaking it down into doing something once a month. Maybe you want to go to a new restaurant or a concert once a month that you’ve never been to before. Maybe you want to volunteer once a month, or donate to an organization that you are passionate about. These things will give you something to look forward to and plan for once a month, and it is a much easier goal to achieve because you don’t have the pressure of trying to do it every day. And of course, you can set a different interval if you find that you enjoy doing it, such as bi-weekly or even weekly.
Generosity is one of the proven habits of happy people: giving to others gets us a lot in return. Plan gifts and cards for people you love ahead of time, and you’ll find yourself feeling happier and less stressed than you would if you waited until the last minute. Beyond that, you don’t have to spend money to be generous. You can be generous with your time, making more time for meaningful relationships with those you love. You can be generous with your words by being more complimentary to those around you, leading to stronger, more positive relationships with them. This is an easy way to build relationships and increase your own personal happiness in the process.
Get a Routine
Accomplishing a goal requires creating long-lasting habits. As discussed, these should be small, attainable things for you to do. Perhaps you run late a lot. Try leaving 5 minutes earlier to be on time, so it becomes a habit. Make sure you wash your face every night or take your vitamins every day to make a healthy habit for yourself. These small habits will make a better overall lifestyle for you and are much easier to attain than a huge goal. Even if your habit is taking 15 minutes of “me-time” at 8pm every night, it’s something that is going to benefit you in the long run. That’s the key in making positive change!
What all of these suggestions boil down to is this: starting small is going to make it easier to stick to your goals, and they should be easily attainable things that will improve the overall quality of your life. No matter how small your goal is, if it’s something that you are going to be able to stick to, then it’s worthwhile! Let’s all resolve to make this our best year yet!