I’ve always been resistant to the idea of a “New Year’s Resolution.” As a rule, I’m resistant toward most things that “everyone” is doing. I think I have made one or two resolutions in my lifetime, both of which were quickly forgotten. However, withe the New Year right behind us, I find myself reflecting on what resolution I would make, if I was making one. (This is mostly because people ask.) So, this year I decided to make a list, of things that are worthwhile, and actually doable, for the New Year.
- Look at your phone less. At first this seems easy enough. But if you are addicted to your screen, like I am, it can be hard. I’m not saying to give it up cold-turkey. But start making certain times of day “screen-free,” like when you are eating, or spending time with friends and family that you don’t see that often.
- Talk to strangers more. I know, this is breaking a cardinal rule of childhood. But, we are becoming more and more distant from each other. How often have you had a conversation in a check-out line? Or talked to the person who delivers your mail, or picks up your garbage? Get to know people. Even if it is for a second. The more people talk to each other, the easier it is for people to see that we are all basically the same.
- Don’t feel guilty about what you eat. Life is short. Enjoy it. Eat cake. Drink wine. Have fun. If these things are done in moderation, they are harmless. I’m not saying to only eat cake and drink wine. Just stop putting yourself down for doing it. I know so many people who insult themselves as they indulge. If you want to indulge, every so often, do it. And love every minute of it.
- Eat new foods. This one would just be fun. Try something new every month, or every week. Broaden your palette and your horizons. Learn about the regions certain cuisines are from.
- Exercise more. Do not exercise because it is supposed to help you loose weight. Find a form of exercise (might I suggest yoga?) that you enjoy and do it because it feels good. One sure way to kill a resolution is to resolve to do something you don’t like.
- Start a meditation practice. Once a day, or week even, give yourself a span of time to be still, close your eyes, and breathe. Make it easy on yourself. Schedule meditation into your day, when you know you will have a little bit of time. It doesn’t have to be much. You do not have to be looking for enlightenment. Simply purposefully slowing down can create huge change.
- Be grateful. We are all grateful from time to time, especially when things are good. But create a daily practice of being grateful for even the little things. Some people like to create a gratitude journal. I discuss it with my kids at bedtime. It takes just a few minutes. You can be grateful for anything, running water, family, yoga, fresh fruit, etc. Remembering to be grateful at one point every day quickly bleeds into the rest of your life. Try finding gratitude for a traffic jam, because it gives you more time to listen to a podcast, or song. And if this feels fake, or forced, do not despair. This is one of those things that you can “fake until you make.”
- Recycle more. This one is simple. Get a bin; put your recycling in it. Take care of our planet.
- Drink more water. This one doesn’t count if you buy plastic water bottles. Buy a cute bottle, seriously, your options are endless online. Keep said cute bottle full of water. Drink the water. Your body will thank you.
- Be present more. I know that in a modern world, we have to plan. We need to look at our past mistakes to learn from them. But when the opportunity presents itself, be present. When you are eating, brushing your teeth, driving, shopping, talking to a friend, loose the distractions. Our minds get addicted to distractions. We can feel safe in our overthinking of things. But we are really distracting ourselves from our lives. Life happens in the present moment. Do not miss it, planning the next one.
These are just suggestions. Don’t do any of them because I told you to. Find a resolution that works for you. And remember that you do not have to start on New Year’s Day. If one resolution fails by March, start a new one. Make a different one each month! Each week, each sunrise, each breath is a new beginning. Good luck, and happy New Year!