I recently wrote a piece on how to achieve your New Year’s resolutions in four easy steps. If you need some help developing your 2019 resolutions, here are some ideas, broken down by some of the most popular categories:
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- Do something every month that scares you. Whether it’s trying something new (cooking class, visiting a new country, you name it!) or trying something you hadn’t thought you were capable of (like rock climbing), taking on a new challenge can be fulfilling, and a great way to stretch yourself.
- Replace negative thoughts with positive. Positive thoughts create a positive life – and a positive mindset will assist you in accomplishing your other resolutions! Be mindful of your complaints or negative emotions. When you catch yourself in that downward spiral, take a minute to consciously replace those thoughts with positive ones.
- Schedule daily “me time.” Set aside a few minutes each day for you. Add it to your daily schedule and don’t cancel on yourself – treat it like an appointment! You can use this time to center yourself. Read a daily devotional, pray, keep a gratitude journal, or use the time to organize your day. Whatever you need – it’s your time!
- Be present and grateful. Choose daily to remain present and grateful for the blessings in your life rather than focusing on the past or speculating about the future. Ways to do this could include meditation, making it a point to say “thank you,” and telling people when you appreciate them. Volunteering also helps you feel grateful while you do good for others.
Be realistic. Losing weight is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, and yet most people give it up after a few weeks. Make your resolution about more than just numbers on a scale. Make it about making positive changes to your life that will help your health long term.
- Establish a fitness routine. Whether new or returning to exercise, working up to about 30 minutes per day of exercise will have health benefits from building up stamina and strength to fighting depression to losing weight. But if you start out aggressively, you’re more likely to quit. Some ideas for starting slowly and working it into your everyday life include:
- Walk more and increase your activity by regular intervals each week. It’s okay to be gradual as long as you’re committed to doing it.
- Get an under-desk elliptical or bike (you can find them for as little as $50 on Amazon). I’ll be honest here, I’ve never tried one of these, but they look awesome.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator at work.
- When you’re going shopping, park in a spot further away than you normally would, one that requires some additional walking.
- Stand up once an hour and walk around your house or office. (I have a handy Apple watch that reminds me to do this. Now that the newest version is out, prices have been cut on the older versions.)
- Healthy and mindful eating. Like exercising, don’t change your eating habits so aggressively that you’ll burn out quickly. For example, maybe don’t try to go cold turkey on sugar on January 1 – if you’re like me, you’ll make it a couple of days and then go nuts on holiday cookies. That being said, the average American eats 77 pounds of sugar per years. That’s around the weight of a 10-year-old boy! If sugar is your kryptonite, maybe you can start by eating more vegetables, and reducing your sugar intake to natural sugars, such as those found in fruits. It also helps to write down what you eat every day. The Fit Book is one of my favorites to keep track of both activity and food intake.
- Drink more water. Buy a water bottle to sip on throughout the day. If you like to visualize your progress, this water bottle with a time marker is a fun way to measure your daily intake.
- Get enough sleep. For many, including me, this is much easier said than done. I wish I could live on 3 hours of sleep a night! I can’t – I need a full night’s sleep but rarely get it. If you have trouble sleeping, you might try a white noise machine or app, essential oils, or perhaps a new pillow. If none of these work, you might have a doctor check out whether sleep apnea or another health concern is the issue.
- Take care of your health. Do you get a physical each year? How about an annual visit to your dermatologist annually or your annual mammogram? Do you take a multi-vitamin? Or get the flu shot each year? Preventative health is just as important as the other stuff, and would be an easy resolution to check off your list.
- Choose a new skill to learn. This year, I will continue to educate myself on a lot of different topics as I get this blog off the ground! But two skills I have consciously decided to take on this year are learning Photoshop and Excel. I am literate enough in both to perform very simple tasks, but I really need to be working at a higher level. I decided to sign up through Udemy for a couple of photoshop classes, as well as a class in Excel. (If you’re an Ebates member, you will get 10% back right now when you purchase an Udemy course – see below for more on Ebates). I’ll let you know how it goes!
- Commit to 10 minutes of reading per day. Reading keeps your brain active and can reduce stress. Not to mention increase your vocabulary and improve your memory. Whether you’re reading the latest romance, mystery, presidential biography or The Economist, reading is just plain ol’ good for you.
- Commit to a weekly review. When we dedicate time to focus on where we are in all areas of our life, we immediately feel a little more “on balance.” You can use this time to check in on your budget, your to-do’s for the following week, or your family calendar. Put the review time on your schedule and don’t cancel on yourself!
- Daily journaling. Commit to just five minutes of journaling every day. Whether it’s a gratitude journal, or a one-line-a-day journal, or a simple lined notebook, journaling can help with planning, organizing, as well as calming your spirit.
- Organize your home. Okay, easier said than done (just ask my husband). But seriously, you can easily develop a list of projects you’d like to get done over the next year and focus on one per month. You could make this your year of living organized!
- Make progress on long-term goals. What are your financial goals? Is it to get to a point where you’re doing more than just making it to the next paycheck? Is it to pay off debt? To save for your kids’ college? Start the year by figuring out what your goals are, and then work on some ways to make progress towards them this year. Dave Ramsey has great advice on setting financial goals and figuring out how to accomplish them.
- Set up a budget – and stick to it. Start the year by seeing where you are. What are your monthly expenses? Lay them all out in a document or spreadsheet. Then you can see not just what you’re spending, but what’s left. Have you set your long-term goals? Do you want to pay off debt? To get your retirement on track? To pay off student loans? Once you know what you’re spending each month and what’s left, then you can set up a plan to meet your goals.
- Commit to saving money. Use your budget to find new ways to save money each month. You could make small changes, like buying generic brands at the grocery store. One month you could explore couponing. Another month you could look for apps that pay you. And if I can put in a plug here – I signed up for Ebates in November and have already made $187. I thought it sounded like a scam at first, but it really is amazing to get paid just for online shopping I’d be doing anyway! Here is a code that will get you $10 just for signing up. Ibotta is another one that gives you cash back for everyday purchases. I haven’t tried it yet, but I plan to!
I hope this list has given you some ideas. Let me know what your 2019 resolutions are and if you have any other suggestions in the comment area below. Best of luck as you work to accomplish them!