5 Healthy Ways to Start the New Year
Every December 31st, we celebrate the end of one year and the start of another. 2020 was a hard year and people have so much hope and motivation to make 2021 way better than the year before. Psychologically, we feel freedom and excitement for the beginning of something new, with the belief that a simple change from one day to the next will incite a breadth of possibilities! Many people take time to draft New Year’s Resolutions with the hopes of achieving their long list of goals. However, research shows that 81% of people never maintain their resolutions.
So, how can we go into the new year with the same objectives, but better results?
Create Intentions instead of Goals
- Many times, we set unattainable goals for ourselves (i.e. going to the gym every single day when, previously, we had been going once a month). In these cases, it might be better to set a general intention of “I want to feel healthier” because that will allow us to make healthy choices across the board. This can motivate us to eat healthy, exercise, get enough sleep and have healthy relationships which is much more fulfilling than just going to the gym every day.
If you do set Goals, make them S.M.A.R.T.
- Have you heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals? These types of goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based. When setting a goal for yourself, make sure you clearly map out what you want, in a reasonable way. Instead of “I want to learn French”, you can create a S.M.A.R.T. goal such as “I will spend 3 hours a week for 12 weeks practicing my French lessons”. See the difference? These types of goals are much more realistic because you can hold yourself accountable and they are attainable goals which keep you motivated.
Focus on simplifying and decluttering
- Our world has become so complex with social media, advertisements, and options. We now have phone apps for literally everything. It can be a bit overwhelming. Simplify your life by choosing what is most important to you and getting rid of the excess. Instead of having 30 apps on your phone that you never look at, choose 5 that you use every week. Focus on decluttering your physical and emotional space. Go through all of your items and throw out or give away things you don’t need or use anymore. Emotionally and socially, it is always healthy to let go of relationships that are unhealthy or that don’t serve us anymore. It’s natural to outgrow friendships or realize we want to have better standards for ourselves. This will allow you to focus on the important relationships in your life.
Enter the New Year with a growth mindset
- Sometimes, people can be very impatient. Some people want to lose 30 pounds in 2 weeks or buy a fancy car right out of college. Then they get frustrated or unmotivated because they haven’t gotten what they wanted when they wanted it. Long story short, it can be healthier to focus on growing instead of obtaining. For the examples described above, it is better to focus on growing healthy habits that will lead to weight loss over time (i.e. drinking more water, exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet). These habits will be more sustainable in the long-run than just losing weight quickly. Also, through the process of building these healthy habits, we learn to be more confident in ourselves and more open to various opportunities. Building a growth mindset will help for years to come.
Make it about the journey
- So often, we are focused on attaining certain milestones. For example: “By the time I’m 30, I want to be married and own a home”. This can be a great goal to have if that’s what you really want. But much of the time, we are too fixated on the destination instead of the journey. Life isn’t about always getting somewhere. Oftentimes, the most memorable and meaningful parts of life are overcoming adversity or sharing simple moments with loved ones. These are the lessons and experiences that give life flavor. If we just jumped straight to being married without learning about ourselves and overcoming hardships with our loved one, it wouldn’t be as meaningful.
How do you plan to start 2021? How can you make small, but meaningful choices that will sustain you in the long-run and make your life happier and more fulfilling?
I’m excited about this new year and what it has to offer. Wishing you the best!