12 Resolutions for 12 Months of Wellness This Year
Will the changing of the calendar magically take away all the setbacks and surprises of this year? No way! But if you set intentional goals, you can make the most of the year ahead. Are you hoping to learn something new? Get a new job? Improve your health? The first step to setting goals is to think about where you want to be. Next, think about how you might get there.
Your goals should be realistic, attainable, measurable and time-bounded.
Set yourself up to succeed by coming up with a list of resolutions that suit YOU and your lifestyle.
Here are a few ideas to get you started!
1. Get Out into Nature! Sunlight is so good for our bodies. It helps the body synthesize Vitamin D, which contributes to improved mental health! Just 20 minutes of unfiltered sunlight triggers your body to create over 200 antimicrobials that fight fungi, parasites, and viruses!
Fresh air cleanses the respiratory tract and opens the tiny capillaries in the lungs.
Any kind of physical movement assists your lymphatic system to get moving - that's your body's natural detox system!
2. Cultivate Friendships. Maintaining friendships may have been a challenge for some of us during this time of social distancing, working from home, and most of our activities being closed or reduced capacity. We may have been able to see friends outdoors for meals and gatherings, but as the days get shorter and colder in many parts of the country, that adds another layer of complexity. Try joining a new virtual meetup group for people with similar interests. Meet a friend for a short walk outside. Give up the guild of using social media to make connections – but you can choose how you interact wisely! Take a look at this post with tips on how to gather comfortably outside during the cold months!
3. Drink More Water. You guessed it! I’m back on my hydration soapbox.
When I ask my clients, “How much water do you drink per day?” more than half of them respond, “Not enough!” Water is critical to ALL of the body’s systems functioning properly. And though at least 64 ounces is ideal, more can be better. Aim for half of your body weight in ounces. So, if you weigh 160 lbs, you can aim to consume at least 80 oz of water per day. The simplest way to get your water in is to keep a water bottle with you during the day. When you wake, drink down 16 ounces before breakfast to get your digestive juices going! Drink at least 10 ounces with every meal and/or snack, and you’re on your way to getting in your full recommendation. Be on the lookout for more tips on how to get more water in your day!
4. Commit to Kindness. Studies have found that showing kindness to others is actually linked to improved mental health for the giver and the recipient! The past year was filled with uncertainty, surprises, and for many, feelings of being out of control. That led to many a heated debate on social media, lots of negative news, and divisive behaviours from all sides. This year, choose to show compassion. Everyone approaches situations from their own past experiences, so we never know what kind of internal battle someone may be fighting. Focus energy on acts and thoughts that can serve to affect others in a positive way.
5. Eat More Veggies! Seriously. Even one additional serving of vegetables per day! Vegetables provide essential fiber to feed the beneficial bacteria in our gut! If you eat NO vegetables at all, adding just one serving per day can improve digestion! An easy way is to add a large handful of spinach to a daily smoothie – it has almost NO taste, and so many benefits! Not a veggie lover? Look for this post, coming up! "Easy Entry Level Veggies for the Non-Veggie Lover"
6. Say Good-Bye to Toxic Relationships. What is a toxic relationship? One that doesn’t serve you, and ultimately hurts you. Certainly any relationship with physical violence is toxic. But, it could be with a person who is unsupportive, unkind to you, or reduces your confidence. It could be occasional, or frequent enough that it constitutes mental abuse. It may be time to take stock and decide if things should continue on the current path. For resources regarding any sort of mentally or physically violent relationship, please reach out to a professional. Start here: https://www.womenshealth.gov/relationships-and-safety/get-help There is an “escape” button on the left side of the page if you need to leave the page quickly.
7. Meditate We’re not looking for existential enlightenment here. Commit to finding 5 minutes each day, set an alarm, and disconnect. Focus on your breathing. How does the beat of your heart sound in your ears? Imagine yourself in a place (most likely fictitious!) where you have no responsibility or concerns. Five minutes may seem short, but that time is enough to reset some of the synapses in your brain to a less stressed state. Commit to giving your mind this rest each day. A book like this might help to start anyone new to meditation.
8. De-Clutter! In this case, we’re talking about decluttering the physical “stuff” in your space. The benefits of reducing the number of physical items you use and store are many- from reducing stress and anxiety to improving sleep! Keep an eye out for tips about how to Declutter 12 Spaces in 12 Months!
9. Practice Good Sleep Hygiene. This is where I ought to take my own advice! Sleep deprivation sends our body into a state of stress, and increases hunger hormones. Disconnect from screens at least 30 minutes before going to sleep, or at least try blue light blocking glasses to reduce the stimulating effects of blue light on the brain. Attempt to get AT LEAST seven continuous hours of sleep per night, if possible. Anyone with young children knows that may not be possible. But the earlier you are able to get IN your bed, the better your chances of restorative rest and sleep!
10. Stop Making Excuses. I’ll get healthy when I’m not so busy. I’ll do it after the next big project at work. It’s too hard in the _____ (Winter because I want to be cozy and warm, Summer because I want to enjoy vacation, Birthday month because I don’t want to look out of place not eating cake, Holiday season because I’m afraid I’ll mess up.) There will always be a reason NOT to get healthy or make your goals a reality, if you let fear of failure govern your choices. If we always make an excuse, we will ALWAYS be waiting!! This year, let fear take a back seat and have the courage to make a step forward! Find a buddy, or ask for help from a Wellness Coach!
11. Give Yourself Grace. This comes directly from the resolution above. You can have excuses, or you can have progress. And with progress will come the possibility of setbacks and mistakes. Those do not have to define your year! Give yourself the grace and flexibility that you often afford to others.
12. Put Yourself First! Put YOU first, without guilt. Am I saying starve or ignore your kids? No. Am I saying quit showing up for work, or ghost your friends and family? No way!
But, have you ever heard or thought any of these? “As long as the baby’s healthy.” “As long as the children are happy.” “I HAVE to do that for them, they would be so upset if I didn’t.” “It was just easier to say yes than to explain why I wouldn’t do x,y,z for my wife/husband/kids” As parents, we are often made to believe that it’s a sign of success to be busy with all the events and tasks that we do for/with our families. And we should feel less-than if we’re NOT loaded down with the activities that we’ve so carefully lined up for our adoring broods. It’s seen as selfish or “stealing some me time” to do anything for ourselves. Give yourself permission to do something that’s just for you. See your friends. Take a bath. Take a whole hour (gasp!) for some kind of self-care without feeling guilty that the kids sat in front of a screen the whole time. You do NOT have to justify making your own health and wellness a priority!
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