Here we are, firmly planted in 2023. Since forever maybe, the start of a new year has come to symbolize a fresh start and a time to turn the page toward better habits and a better quality of life.
No surprise, many of our good intentions involve health and wellness: drop weight, quit smoking or vaping, cut back on booze, unplug more and sleep better. Can’t argue with any of those.
But you know what they say about good intentions…. Whether or not they pave the road to hell, a lot of our gleaming resolutions lose their luster pretty quickly. It’s estimated only 8% of us stick with goals we set for the New Year.
The University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) rolled out secrets to attaining our goals, and it begins with setting realistic expectations. That means not biting off more than you can chew.
Truth is, the mother-of-all goals which may prime us to achieve other items on our punch list, involves mental health and well-being. Can I get a ‘second’ on that? It’s been a tough couple of years to put it mildly, but experts say facing the New Year in a better headspace will help you achieve your heart’s desire.
So here a couple of bite-sized actions that can help you on your way.
1- Join a group. Find an activity you like or something you’d like to try. Put yourself out there and meet new people and try new things. Socializing and staying active are known to stimulate our brains and make us happier.
2- Volunteer. Seriously, try it- you’ll like it. Carving out time to do for others, forces us to not think about ourselves. Besides, it’ll give you the ‘feels’.
3- Prioritize time with loved ones. How many times do we say ‘let’s get together’ and then don’t? Whether it’s family or friends, personal relationships deserve the right-away. After all, that’s were our greatest joy lies.
4- Out with the old. Cleanse yourself by purging things you don’t need or don’t want. It may be hard parting with stuff you’ve had for ages, but trust me it will be cathartic.
5- Change the view. Getting away, goes a long way in changing your perspective. Even if you can only spare time for a short trip, or even a stay-cation, stepping out of your everyday routines helps reset your mind.
6- Make time for self-care. We toss that around a lot. But it really does align with wellness. Self-care can be as simple as carving out quiet time to meditate or as extravagant as a special spa day. Give yourself time and space to indulge in something purely because it brings you joy or satisfaction.
7- Get moving. Okay, okay, this is always on everyone’s list of New Year’s resolutions. Only in this instance it is exercising for mental health, not as a mechanism for weight loss- although that may be a great side benefit. Moving more releases endorphins which can lessen anxiety and depression and boost mood.
8- Drink more water. Staying properly hydrated has many benefits; from keeping your body in good health to enhancing your complexion. It’s also easy- and cheap. You’re welcome.
9- Lean into change. Learn to embrace new things, change is inevitable so evaluate your choices and dive in. Holding on to old patterns and people can bring you down and keep you from growing and evolving.
10- Give thanks. Gratitude is the gift that keeps on giving. Studies have shown time and time again, that reflecting on the ‘good things’ can absolutely turn around not only your mood, but your thoughts and actions. So, never underestimate the power of positive thinking.
These goals are fail-proof; you can pick and choose, skips days or not. Incorporating these principles into your life will go a long way in delivering on the ‘Happy” New Year.