Every year we tell ourselves we’re going to step up our game — that this year, we will become the best versions of ourselves and pursue the things we’ve been putting off year after year.
Yet, when December rolls around, we oftentimes look back on our New Year’s resolutions with disappointment and shame. We get upset with ourselves for not following through on the healthy diet, the new workout routine, the commitment to calling our parents, the book club ambitions. We beat ourselves up for falling short and failing to be the person we strived to be for maybe one solid month in January.
Well, 2019 is a fresh plate. It’s a chance to reexamine our lives and set the path straight. It’s an opportunity to stick with the goals, day after day, month after month, to make our dreams come true. Make this year the year. It’s not too late!
Drink More Water
Water is something our body literally needs to survive, yet too often we let busy schedules distract us from taking trips to the water fountain or chugging a glass with our lunch. Well, not this year! Keep a reusable water bottle on you at all times, so that it serves as a reminder to liquid up. Not only will your body thank you, but your brain will as well. Studies show that H2O helps with concentration, balancing moods, cognition and boosting memory functions! That’s a lot of benefits, right?
Walk a Mile Every Day
At least. There’s no excuse to not get moving! Your body and mind will thank you for taking a break from sitting in front of a computer screen to get your blood pumping. So many of us say we’ll start exercising at the new year, but buying new gym memberships and trying to totally revamp a workout routine can be daunting. Instead, start small. If you’re already a Superman athlete, it’s still important to walk it out and take ‘er easy sometimes. This can help lower your risk of injury, as well as give you a mental break from the competitive, sometimes overwhelming go-go-go training regimen.
Read More Books
Have you ever challenged yourself to a book-reading contest? Have an endless list of stories you’ve been dying to read? Well, no more procrastinating! Start by challenging yourself to at least one book a month. If all goes well, bump it up to two! You’ll be amazed at the number of pages turned, the impressive stories you’ll read!
Get a Pen Pal
Or, call your mom. Too often, we let our busy lives interfere with not maintaining our closest, most valuable relationships. This year, make a point to write friends letters and Facetime extended family members.
Learn a Language
If you don’t already know a language in addition to English, now’s the time to learn. Whether you start by taking an online class, a private lesson, or download an app like DuoLingo to your phone for daily sessions, make 2019 the year you rein in a foreign language! To reward yourself, why not plan a trip to a country that speaks the language? It’ll be a fun time, and a way to test your new skills!
Start a New Hobby
A foreign language could be the new hobby, but so could ice skating, hip hop dancing or rock climbing! Have something on your bucket list you’ve always wanted to try? Give it a shot! Don’t keep putting your dreams on hold. Buy the skateboard, enroll in the ceramics class — make whatever baby steps are required in order to hold yourself accountable with a new, fun activity!
Downsize (and clean)
Clean out your closet, consolidate your shoe pile and curate your kitchen utensils. Wipe down the bathroom, throw the trash out of your car, and organize your refrigerator. A tidier living/work space is synonymous with a cleaner headspace. Studies show that the cleaner and more orderly your surroundings, the more relaxed your brain will be! Designate a day of the week to clean for at least an hour, and take about five minutes each morning to tidy up. Get rid of things you don’t use — donate to a good cause! — and promise yourself that going forward, for every item you purchase, you must give one away (unless it’s totally mandatory, of course). Ask yourself: Does this thing add value to my life?
NOTE: You can also curate the people in your life. That might sound rude, but if you’ve been filling your time with unhealthy, toxic relationships, it might be a good season to re-focus your energy on the people in your life who build you up, rather than tear you down. Ask yourself: Does this person uplift me, or drain my energy?
We can be so dang self-absorbed. Who do you want to serve beside yourself? Pick an organization that does something you’re passionate about. Whether it be reading books to mentally handicapped kids, teaching a creative writing class to a women’s prison, helping stray dogs find adoptable homes, or feeding the homeless during your lunch break, find something that ignites your interests and allows you to do something purpose-filled that’s not compensated!
Learn a New Skill
Whether it’s cooking or car maintenance, we all can think of some sort of skill we wish we had. Don’t know how to budget? See a banker and start planning a 401K. Not sure how to sew the patch in your sleeve or stitch some buttons? Take a sewing class and fix that zipper that’s been stuck for two years. Keep complaining you’re not flexible enough? Do some yoga and stretch. Don’t know how to bake? Buy some Martha Stewart how-to books and bust out some cupcakes! Amp up your resume with ordinary things that make an extraordinary life.
Not only is journaling a healthy outlet, but it’s a great way to document your favorite memories. If you’re not into writing, consider keeping a bullet journal — a system of keeping your whole life in one place, including a to-do list and bucket list — or a visual journal, with Polaroid pictures and/or sketches. Whatever your preference, this is a great way to reflect on your day-to-day life and dig deep into your innermost thoughts.
So there you have it. More hydration, more learning, more growing — We’ve got a feeling 2019 will be your best year yet!