Pictured Above: Parnassus Books
For the most part, New Year’s Resolutions can be unrealistic. They are often lofty goals such as “eat healthier” or “work out every day” without a plan and can easily lead to nothing. I have been thinking often about how to take resolutions and actually start fresh and plan to be my best self in the new year. Here’s what I’ve come up with:
1. Create a Habit.
It isn’t enough to say you’ll work out 5 times a week. How are you going to do it? Habits are created by performing the same task when something triggers you. For instance, maybe you’ll exercise as soon as you get home from work. To form a habit, you need to consistently exercise at that precise moment. It helps to have some sort of closure after completing the task, like a reward. Perhaps as soon as you finish exercising, you have a snack. Thus, the task is bookended – it begins with a trigger and ends with a reward. And the task becomes a habit.
2. Be Intentional.
Once you’ve set a goal, avoid going through your new task (like exercising) with the mindset of, “I need to get through this.” If you force it and complete it mechanically, you won’t feel positive or excited about it. Notice what you’re doing. Be aware of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions while you are exercising (or eating healthy, or meditating, or anything else). This is something I’ve learned through yoga – not to go through the motions, but to be intentional with every move I make.
3. Treat Yourself with Kindness.
Being kind to yourself is just as important to being kind to others. If you slip up, simply be aware of it. Acknowledge that you slipped up, and try to create a new habit. Maybe change the time of day if it wasn’t work for you. Alter what you need to. Self-love, y’all.
4. Eliminate Distractions.
It is so easy to go down the technological rabbit hole – whether it be Instagram or Buzzfeed or Internet browsing. I have started setting a timer on my phone for the length of time that I am allowed to browse, like, and comment on Instagram. As a blogger, I could spend all the time in the world on that app. While it’s important to make connections and expand your network, it can easily creep into most of your day and eliminate extra time when you could be completing that yoga video or writing that novel you’ve been dreaming about.
Try timing yourself for any number of minutes that suits you and when the timer goes off, force yourself to close the app and move on with your day. If you erase even 20 minutes of every day that you spend on social media, that 20 minutes becomes 140 minutes per week and 7,300 minutes (over 121 hours) per year.
Time is precious. Be aware of how you spend it and with whom you spend it. Which brings me to…
5. Be Present.
When loved ones are in the room, and they’re talking to you, put your phone down. Look them in the eye. Your phone is not your priority. People are. You’ll regret the time you wasted on your phone instead of being present with the people around you.
6. Read More.
Reading books opens the world for us. Whenever I get into a groove of reading a lot, I feel like a better person. I feel as though my perspective has expanded. I feel more empathetic, more caring, and more aware of the world around me. Reading is one of the most valuable and important ways that you can enrich your life.
7. Immerse Yourself in Nature.
You know the benefits of spending time in nature. Taking a walk outdoors is one of the best ways to refresh your body and mind. It’s also an opportunity to meditate – Did you know you can meditate even when you’re walking?
8. Give to the Universe.
You get out what you put in. Wish everyone well who you meet. Seize opportunities to make others feel good. If anything or anyone is bringing you down, let it go.
2018 is here. And I have a feeling it’s going to be a good one.