A new year looms just ahead — so what better time is there than now to begin finding the rhythms and practices that can help us grow into the people we want to become?
Finding these new habits and patterns that will slowly, surely, and steadily move us towards our best selves while we walk away from the mistakes of yesterday doesn't have to be daunting, but instead, can be invigorating.
Here are six things that are on my New Year's resolution list that might help you with yours:
Get Hooked on Phonics
I have a personal goal of reading at least one new book every month. In the same way we work out and eat well to stay healthy, we must work out our mind and feed it well. Reading regularly has been linked to warding off Alzheimer's, improving one's mental health, and memory improvement.
Reading regularly has been linked to warding off Alzheimer's, improving one's mental health, and memory improvement.
In my own life, I've found that reading expanded my ways of thinking, gave me perspectives with which to see the world, and lead me to new passions. So set a goal that's achievable for you, but will also require some stretching — this means cutting down time spent in front of the TV and scrolling on Instagram. I promise it'll be worth it!
Carve Out Some Quiet Time
The daily grind of your career, family life at home, and your sometimes-needy best friend can deplete so much of your energy, leaving you exhausted and unable to invest in time for you, and only you. However, this act of slipping away from your chaotic world is crucial for your mental and emotional health. This can be done in a small reading nook at home, sitting in a hot bath, or even out in nature on a long walk — and the best part is, you can do whatever strikes your fancy.
Write in your journal, put on a face mask, or simply close your eyes and feel your breath going in and out, in and out. The most important aspect of this exercise is the quiet — spending time with yourself and your thoughts with no exterior influences vying for your attention. So turn off your phone, start relaxing, and reap the benefits of quiet!
Nurture Your Body
Living in a world filled with airbrushed models, fad diets, and unrealistic beauty standards, it can sometimes feel like figuring out how to be healthier is a lost cause. But here's the thing: your health doesn't have to look like someone else's, and neither does your body. Seeing as how you only get one body, why not learn how to take care of it? While this may not be the green juice cleanse that Instagram influencer swear by, it can be something that fits into your life naturally and slowly walks you towards a healthy lifestyle.
It's not about a perfect appearance, but instead about taking care of your body as you live your life to the fullest.
Your body is the wonderful machine you were given to accomplish the work you have to do in the world, so investing in its health by opting for water instead of soda (pro tip: soda water is your best friend), getting yourself to bed a bit earlier, or taking a long walk will make a big difference in the long run (no pun intended). It's not about a perfect appearance or goal weight, but instead about taking care of your body as you live your life to the fullest.
Forgive Yourself for Past Mistakes
The wonderful thing about moving into a new year is just that: it's new. It gives us an opportunity to leave behind the fears, failures, and mistakes we've made in the past, and to move with hope into the better versions of ourselves we are striving to become. It's a hard act to detach ourselves from the shortcomings and moments of which we're less-than-proud, but a necessary one as we move away from the choices that don’t have to define us into the women we were created to be. So please listen when I say: your past is dead, and your future is alive and waiting for you.
New experiences await, be it in a foreign land, in a city, or in your own hometown. If you have the means and want to go to Paris to see the Louvre, by all means, go! But if your schedule and wallet don't allow you to do such a thing, look at your neighboring towns for something new and exciting — or even your own town or city. Who knows, you may bump into a thrift store you never knew about, a fun little bookstore with rare finds, or a café with an amazing pastry selection and enormous lattes.
Look at your neighboring towns for something new and exciting — or even your own town or city.
Of course, with our full and busy lives, it can be tiring to explore new territories, but whether they be across the ocean, the city, or the street, taking time to seek out adventure will widen both your mind and your heart in the new year.
In our lives that are overrun with stress from work, family pressure, and even ourselves, we can sometimes forget that life is a beautiful gift, a gift that isn't only meant to be conquered but to be enjoyed. It's of the utmost importance that we have fun on this journey, and understand its value. Go out to dinner with your best gal pals, see that movie you've been excited about, buy that sweater you haven't stopped thinking about for weeks, and have a pizza night now and then!
I hope you found something on this list that was helpful for you on your journey. A new year and all the possibilities that are implied can be anxiety-inducing, but I'd like you to know: you have the ability to make a new year into something that brings new life to you. Let's do this!