By: Leah Dermo
As February flies by and we start to think about spring, it’s not surprising that most of us have already fallen off the New Year’s resolution bandwagon, we promised we’d stick to this year. Have no fear, it happens to the best of us. There’s something about a new year, the fresh starts and the new goals, which encourages the idea of bettering ourselves with a new hobby or ditching a bad habit. The unfortunate this is we tend to make these plans or goals based on the time of year rather than based on our own desire or willingness to change. Not to worry- it’s never too late to show yourself some love.
Whether your goal for 2017 is to lose weight or save up for your first house, we have created a guide for our readers who want to ensure 2017 can still be their best year yet.
1) Get back to your roots
As we grow older, many of us lose sight of our hobbies and interests that seemed so important to us growing up. It’s important to not only know what makes you happy, but to keep that a priority in your life. You can get back to those roots by taking some time to rediscover what you love. When was the last time you played soccer, or picked up a guitar, or danced to something other than the Top 40 they played at the bar last Friday night? Try to channel your inner child, the one you were before you become a ‘responsible adult.’ When you find out what really makes you forget about your responsibilities for a minute, you’ll rediscover a happiness within you that you may have forgotten you even had.
2) The Power of No
Saying “no” is something a lot of us struggle with. Whether it’s saying no to after work drinks with friends, or saying no to your co-worker who has asked you to finish their media report for the third week in a row, saying no once in a while can really benefit your mental health, straighten out your priorities and have a positive impact on your overall wellbeing. It’s important not to think of this as rude or inconsiderate, but rather giving yourself what you know you want and need. For example saying no to those afterwork drinks because you really to want to unwind and catch up on Scandal, or knowing that doing your co-worker’s work is not really getting you any further in you position. By not committing to plans you never really wanted in the first place, you will feel significantly less stressed and have more time to do and focus on the things that you truly want to do.
3) Do something you’ve always wanted to
At the beginning of the year, people are filled with optimism and have a tendency to list all these new things they’re going to try. The reality is 90% of the list is rarely ever looked at throughout the year. Think about how long you’ve wanted to travel to Thailand, or how many years you’ve considered taking up boxing. Now think of how many times you’ve ever come close to acting upon it. To make 2017 a year you’ll never forget, think less and do more. We suggest picking one activity, club, event, trip or hobby that you would like to do in 2017- and working towards it. Whether it’s knitting or salsa lessons, trying something new, and working at it, will give you a sense of accomplishment and excitement to start your year off right.
4) Drink less
We all enjoy the occasional (or daily) glass of wine at the end of a stressful day to take the edge off. However, what many people forget is that alcohol is a depressant, causing fluctuations in our moods, especially during the winter months. People also tend to forget that alcohol is high in calories and sugar, not to mention a costly luxury. If you have any plans to lose some weight and getting in shape this year, or even save for that house, the key may be to cutting down your alcohol intake. This isn’t to say that you should set an unrealistic goal to cut out alcohol completely, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt you or your bank account to stay in once and awhile. There is various benefits mentally, financially and physically to cut back on this daily habit.
5) A little gratitude goes a long way
If you read any books or articles on positivity and happiness, they will often discuss the importance of practicing gratitude. A positive daily habit to get into, before starting your day, is to simply write down or say out loud at least one thing you are thankful for each day. Specialists suggest this trains your brain to focus on positives rather than negatives, surely promising a brighter, more optimistic year for anyone who does it.
6) Take a break from social
Most of us have been so consumed by social and digital media for the last ten years or so, changing the way we socialize. Although it might not feel like it at the time, too much social media intake can have a negative toll on our mental health. We are increasingly sacrificing our face time with our close friends and family for our Instagram and Twitter feeds. We suggest choosing one day a week, or maybe every month, when you turn off your cell phone and leave all your social networks, texts, memes and emails for the following day. Use this time to catch up with an old friend, take a walk downtown or in the park, visit your family, read that book that’s been sitting on your shelf for months, maybe people watch or go to the gym (no flexing snapchats today, sorry!). Balancing your time and energy will keep you more in touch with the world and people around you. You’ll be surprised with how fresh you’ll feel.
7) Baby steps
Healthy eating is the most talked about New Year’s resolution, with growing health food stores and whole restaurants dedicated to bettering your diet, you would think it’s an easy resolution to stick to. If you’re like the rest of us and had fallen off the healthy food bandwagon halfway through January, not to fret; there is an easier solution to quitting your love affair with junk food. Start with your normal diet and change one meal or snack a week to a healthier alternative, like carrots and hummus instead of all dressed chips. Or try ordering a bottle of water instead of a beer at lunch. The following week, try to change two snacks or meals. Gradually, you’ll start to look and feel healthier without cutting out everything you know and love at once.
Instead of beating yourself up for not sticking to your 2017 New Year’s resolutions, take this time to ground yourself, find out what motivates you and be patient with yourself. By gradually changing up your everyday routine to better yourself and meet your goals, 2017 will surely be your best year yet.
What are your resolutions and how are you sticking to them?