For many people, New Year’s Day prompts the creation of resolutions to follow in the new year. Declarations to eat better, exercise more, lose weight, get organized, get out of debt and quit a nicotine habit are historically popular resolutions. However, studies show that the enthusiasm for keeping resolutions wanes with each passing week of a new year, which may result in people feeling discouraged or even depressed.
Another approach to New Year’s resolutions is to create a list of goals that are easily achieved and may even enrich your life. One tip regarding resolutions — write them down. Studies show that people who write down their goals are 42% more likely to achieve them. Here are some suggestions to consider including on a list of New Year’s resolutions that you are likely to keep and be glad you did.
Be kinder to yourself and others
Kindness goes a long way, both to yourself and to others. Make a goal of doing one act of kindness for someone else and one act of kindness for yourself each day. These acts can be as small as offering a genuine smile or opening a door for someone with an armful of packages or taking 30 minutes to enjoy a bubble bath or a hike along a nearby lake.
If you are like most people, you may believe that you must commit a significant amount of time in order for a volunteer effort to make an impact. The truth is, even an hour of volunteer time for an organization or cause you believe in can make a difference. Make a goal of carving out one hour a month to volunteer for a cause that speaks to you. If you feel inclined to volunteer longer as the year goes on, that is great, but commit to just one.
Get more sleep
In our hurried lives, most people would benefit from more sleep. If you would like to ideally sleep an extra hour each night, start with a goal of hitting the hay five minutes early for the first week. Just five minutes. Increase your earlier bedtime by five minutes each week until you are sawing an extra hour of zzzs each night.
Instead of having a goal of working out an hour or running several miles each day, commit to moving your body at least 15 minutes each day. That can mean taking 15 minutes to walk up and down the stairs in your home, dance to some fun music, walk around the block, ride your bike, stand at your desk and do light stretches or chase your children around the yard. Our bodies were designed to move, and they will perform better and feel better if we keep them active. You may find yourself wanting to move even more each day!
Studies show that people rarely slow down long enough to really breathe. Sure, we all breathe to live, but taking time to enjoy deep, cleansing breaths that relax us somehow seems to elude us. Take two breaks of one minute each during the day to truly breathe. Check out apps like iBreathe and Insight Timer to help guide you through your breath breaks.
Stay in touch with others
We often tell others that we should get together or at least stay in touch better, but life gets in the way, and we usually do not follow through as we would like. Make a point to reach out weekly to one friend or relative you have not talked to in some time. Write a note, send a text, call or schedule a lunch date. You never know how much it could mean to someone that you connected with them, not to mention how much it will mean to you.
Learn something new each week
Whether it is trying a new recipe, learning how to do a fun craft, tackle a DIY project or reading about a country you would like to visit or topic you are interested in, take 30 minutes each week to learn something new.
Read one chapter of a book a day
Many people have a stack of books they want to read, but never feel like they have time to get to them. Commit to reading just one chapter a day (10-15 minutes) and you will be surprised at how many books you will read from cover-to-cover by the end of the year.
Spend time outside each day
Science has proven that our bodies are healthier in every way when we spend time in nature. Spend 15 (or more) minutes outside each day, no matter the weather. Chances are that your mood will improve, and your outlook will be brighter!
This list is by no means exhaustive. There are many more ideas for New Year’s resolutions that will not overwhelm but will make your life richer over the course of the year. Visit https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/wellness/advice/g985/achievable-new-year-resolutions/?slide=1 for more suggestions. Happy New Year!