It happens every year. You say to yourself, “This will be the year where I make some big changes!” But let’s be honest; big changes are hard. If you really want to make a change in your life this year, there are some little New Year’s resolutions you can make with yourself that will make a huge difference. And best of all, they’re easy enough that you can actually keep them.
1. Talk to yourself.
Even if you have amazing friends and family who are always encouraging you, no one is a better cheerleader for your life than yourself! If you’re always internally bringing yourself down, it will eventually drown out all those encouraging words from others. Instead, take up a mantra and tell yourself how amazing you are. Wake up in the morning and say “Today will be an awesome day.” Positive self-talk is proven to boost confidence, so talk to yourself often and be kind.
2. Eat at least one veggie per day.
Almost everyone has “diet” in their list of New Year’s resolutions. But changing your entire diet or trying something that’s a passing fad is setting yourself up for failure. Instead, resolve to add one vegetable per day to your diet. Maybe instead of chips with your sandwich, you opt for carrot sticks or cucumber slices instead. Hey, even just adding lettuce or tomato to your burger is great!
3. Take a walk.
Most of us are guilty of living a rather sedentary lifestyle. Have you ever been at work and realized you haven’t moved from your desk for the entire day? Or even seen the sunshine except on your drive to work? Adding a bit of extra exercise to your day is not only good for your body, it’s good for your mind. Let it shut off for a moment and take in some fresh air. Even one 20-minute walk per day can add years to your life. Try setting a daily reminder to get up and move! (Grab a co-worker if you want some company!) If you can’t manage that, try incorporating a little extra movement in other parts of the day, like parking further away or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
My favorite time of day to get in some reading is right before bed. I turn off all the devices in my life and just read an old-fashioned book. Whether you love steamy romance novels, biographies of historical figures, or even a newspaper, just read. Have kids? Read to them! Studies show that people who read even just a few minutes a day increase their vocabulary, keep their brain sharper, and have more emotional intelligence than those who don’t.
5. Practice manners.
In a world drowning in smartphones, we are losing the ability to connect with each other in person. Keep it alive! Be the person who holds a door open for a stranger. Help someone reach an item on a high shelf in a grocery store. Say please and thank you to your waitress, and mean it. Let a car into traffic, even if you’re running late. Some New Year’s resolutions are for the greater good. And the more goodness you put into the world, the more will come back to you.
6. Reduce stress.
We’ve all heard it: stress is a killer. When you’re in a constant state of tension and stress, your body begins to slowly break down. Give yourself a break, for at least five minutes a day. Turn off the TV, the computer, and your phone. Take time to breathe in and out, and just be quiet and peaceful. Think of an ocean, or a field of wheat waving in the wind. Just escape for a minute. And essential oils are great to add to your quiet time (if you’re into that sort of thing). You’d be surprised at how much a soothing scent can make you feel better.
7. Get more sleep.
Sleep is essential to a good life. When you’re asleep, your body is healing itself and resetting for the next day. If you aren’t getting enough, it compounds and each day feels worse than the last. Take a hint from your grandmother and go to bed early! Try to get those 8 hours in; any less and you’re starting to border on sleep deprivation. Once you get in the habit of going to bed earlier, your internal clock will change and you’ll start getting sleepy earlier. Make sure to limit screen time in the evenings and give yourself a little time to wind down before bed. Get those extra Zs. Your body will thank you!
8. Declutter your house.
We are obsessed with stuff in our culture. We buy things in bulk to save a buck, and every holiday is all about how many things you can give someone to show you care. Add “cut out clutter” to your list of New Year’s resolutions. Chances are, you’re literally drowning in things you don’t use or need. Start with one room and use the “one-year” rule. If you haven’t worn it or used it in a year, toss it. If it’s broken, ripped, or stained, throw it away. If it’s in good shape, donate it or plan a yard sale. You don’t have to do it all at once, but create a schedule to work through your whole house this year.
9. Save money.
Money… it seems you can never have enough. This year, make a small change with your… change. Throw your loose change in a jar and you’ll be amazed at how much it adds up to at the end of the year! You might be thinking, “This is 2018 and no one uses cash anymore, grandma.” That’s okay! There’s an app for that. Some of the GigSalad team swears by Digit because it learns your spending habit and sneaks out a bit here and there into your savings account. This is a resolution you can easily keep because you don’t even have to think about it!
This year, show those pearly whites. The simple act of smiling (even if you don’t feel like it) is an instant mood booster. Sometimes you have to fake it ’til you make it! There’s proof that smiling activates your frontal cortex which tells neurotransmitters in your brain to release dopamine and serotonin, making your happier. #Science, folks. Not to mention, the interactions with those around you will be more pleasant with a friendly smile on your face! We’re not sure it gets any easier than smiling to uphold your New Year’s resolutions.