With the start of a new year the resolutions list starts piling up with all kinds of ideas, expectations, and projects that we hope to accomplish during the year and probably beyond. However, a number of these resolutions go to the graveyard before they see the light and some of them go the whole way to fruition.
Likewise, if we are to go through with our resolutions we need to give them ample time to grow and ripen, Rome wasn’t built in a day anyway. Here are few tips to help you create realizable New Year goals :
- Make sure your resolutions are realistic and therefore are doable.
- Break down your resolutions into smaller chunks and focus on one chunk at a time. Move to the next chunk only when you finish the one you are working on.
- Select your resolutions from your list of priorities in which case you will feel compelled to accomplish them.
- Broad resolutions are just that: broad. Make specific resolutions.
- Embrace failure and know that that we actually do not faily we only learn.
In addition to these tips, here are some practical ideas and suggestions to help you create your own New Year resolutions, if you haven’t already created them, that is.
1. Drink and eat healthy
Hydration and healthy food are key to a well nourished body. You can’t expect to tap into your best cognitive capacities using bad fuel. Mind and body work synergistically and interdependently. Make it one of your new year’s resolutions to be mindful of what you eat. I have recently read a book on mindful eating by Jan Chozen Bays which I believe you will find helpful in this regard.
2. Keep fit
Keep fit (not thin) because it is healthy. Unfortunately, the commercial hype surrounding the concept of fitness has made several people shun away from it all together. At its core, fitness is the basic ability to maintain a physically (as well as cognitively) functional body. You don’t need to follow any so-called ‘fitness guru’ to attain this goal. A minimum of 20 minutes walk per day is scientifically proven to have major health benefits from boosting the immune system to countering weight promoting genes.
4. Read books
Reading takes you places you would probably never visit and allows you to live vicarious experiences beyond your wildest dreams. Reading also expands and enriches your knowledge repertoire and makes you wiser.
Start easy and build your reading stamina and before you know it books will become your best companion. Audiobooks are key in this regard. They allow you to listen to books anywhere anytime. You can play your favorite book while driving, commuting to work, traveling, waiting in a waiting room, while working out, etc.
However, convenience is not the only factor why you need to consider turning to audiobooks. There is also, as Sebastian Modak noted, “a sense of comfort to be found in spending hours with a voice and a story”. This is the ‘very human pleasure of being read to’.
5. Stay positive
Make it a habit to approach life from a positive perspective. Each time you wake up or before you go to bed at night (or both), take 10 or 15 minutes to meditate, relax, and destress. You can use apps such as Headspace and Calm to help you with mindfulness activities. Think about the things you are grateful for and fill your heart with forgiveness and empathy.
6. Spend more time outdoors
Embrace nature as it has incredible healing powers. The health benefits of ecotherapy or green therapy, that is the practice of spending time in nature with the purpose of improving mental and cognitive health and overall well being, is well documented in the medical literature.
7. Go to bed early and wake up early
Sound sleep has huge health benefits as it is the time when the cells of our body regenerate and our internal systems do the clean-up work. Yet, for many people sleep does not figure among their priorities. People are caught up with the exigencies of the day to day life trying to catch up with everything even when catching up means truncating hours from their night sleep.
Lack of sufficient sleep can sometimes trigger acute mood swings and lead to hasty decisions. It can severely undermine one’s risk assessment skills and decision making abilities.
Make it one of your new year’s resolutions to do your best to have quality sleep. Regulate your circadian rhythm by going to bed and waking up at the same hour every day including on weekends. To enhance the quality of your sleep, try to get at least 7 to 8 hours of night sleep. Sleep Education has this handy list of healthy sleep habits to help you enjoy quality shut-eye.
8. Perform digital detox
Certainly, technology has facilitated so many facets of our life from doing business to socializing and learning. Technology has become an important part of our life. We spend hours and hours interacting with our digital devices on a daily basis.
Once in a while (may be once a week/or ten days) perform a digital detox (including social media detox). Take a break from your digital devices. Let your friends and family know about your digital detox so they don’t freak out when you disappear.
Travel takes you to new places, introduces you to new people, and helps you discover new cultures and ways of living. Most importantly, travel pushes you to step out of your comfort zone, a practice which can extrapolate to other spheres of your life allowing you to embrace new challenges and take a more daring approach to life. This year is the year you take those places you always wanted to visit off your bucket list. Whether you go alone or accompanied, the important thing is to make and enjoy the move.
10. Keep a journal
I must admit, I am a journal addict. I have been journaling on a daily basis since I was a student in high school. It is a habit I picked up from mom. Over the years and with tons of wordage jotted down, I finally come to realize the importance of journaling in my life.