Okay, so we all know the way this goes. January 1st rolls around and you make an extra large promise to drastically change your lifestyle in some way. Your past annual anthems may have sounded something like this.
“I won’t drink any soda, eat any fast food, or even look at a donut for the rest of my life so help me God.”
“I’ll organize my entire life so that I never lose a thing. My house will be in ship shape all the way down to an alphabetized spice cabinet.”
“I’ll start going to the gym every day for two hours, and I’ll have abs of steel in two months.”
Before you know it, it’s February and you’re on the couch, scraping the bottom of the Ben & Jerry’s carton, watching bad TV and wondering how on Earth you fell off the wagon so quickly.
Been there. Done with that. I’m not really a big believer in the whole, “starting now” idea, where you transform your life when the clock strikes midnight. I’m all about making positive changes, but when you chunk it down and start off smaller, you set yourself up for much more success. Small changes are more manageable in the long run and can make a big difference in the quality of your life over time. Below are a few more realistic resolutions that I think are actually rather keep-able.
Drink More Water
One of the healthiest habits you can cultivate is so simple. Hydrating your body can work wonders for your skin, helps regulate your appetite so that you know if you’re really hungry or just thirsty and helps you avoid illness. If you’re not in the habit of carrying a water bottle, start bringing one with you. Aim to drink one and a half bottles a day. Then two, three, and so on. Such an easy way to feel better!
Start Learning a New Language
Learning a new language is a great way to exercise your brain and expand your skills. Plus, it’s fun! Choose a language you studied in the past and have neglected recently or the official language of a country you’d like to visit. You can easily download a free language app such as Duolingo or buy a workbook at your local bookstore. Start off practicing a few minutes a day or for larger chunks of time every week. Whatever works best for you!
Read Before Bed
I’m guilty of leaning over the side of my bed to check my messages loooong after I said I’d go to sleep. It’s too easy to get sucked into the abyss of the internet or scroll through social media at night, instead of really winding down. Put your phone in another room an hour before you hit the hay, and reach for a novel instead. You’ll get to catch up on some reading and will probably have an easier time relaxing and falling asleep on time.
Call Friends You Don’t Talk to Regularly
We’re all busy. Sometimes at the end of a long day, you barely have time to catch your own breath, let alone catch up with others. However, talking to friends or family who you don’t see on a regular basis can be a stress reliever and a mood booster. Make it a point to start calling old friends who you may have fallen out of touch with, and notice the way each interaction makes you feel. Again this is something you can do at your own pace. Maybe you prefer to shoot for one call a week or one every two weeks. You do you.
Explore a Little More
Get off the subway at a different stop, and take a stroll through a new part of town. Take a different route home from work. Go for a drive with no destination in mind. We can get so hung up on our routines, our favorite spots, and our comfort zones, that we forget to branch out. The world is big and exciting. Maybe you’ll end up discovering a new area of town you never knew about or the game-changing bookstore you didn’t know you were looking for. Either way, switching up your routine is a healthy means for hitting the reset button.
No matter what you decide to work on in the New Year, remember to take things at your own pace instead of looking for an immediate change. Consistency is key and small changes are often underestimated.