25 Amazing Resolutions That Have Nothing to Do with Weight Loss
Because fitting into your skinny jeans is so last year.
If you desire a more fulfilling and ambitious year ahead, but have already lost the weight or attained all of the fitness goals that you set for yourself, perhaps it’s time to venture into unchartered territory. Maybe it’s time to finally start that feminist book club that you’ve always dreamt about or take Latin—no matter what your dreams may be, let 2019 be the year that you finally realize them.
So, in order to help you along on your path to self-improvement, we’ve called in the experts to give you resolutions that are so much better than trying to lose weight—in fact, they just might spark a personal revolution.
Learn to be more self-aware.
Loving yourself and taking the time to put your needs first can be incredibly rewarding, but it’s not an easy process. First, you have to define what loving yourself means to you. Wellness expert Amina AlTai says people tend to subscribe to general practices of self-love without understanding what this notion means in their own lives. “Self-help can be incredible and valuable, there’s no doubt about it,” she says. “However, self-help, like a quick-fix diet plan, is chaos if you’re not connected to the truth of who you are. Self-help by itself is not enough. If we want to thrive, we need to have self-awareness too.” In 2019, make it your mission to get to know yourself and create your own definition of “living your best life.”
Reduce your carbon footprint.
It’s about time we all start living more environmentally-conscious lives—and it’s not difficult to make some small changes. According to Eric Otjen, assistant curator of mammals at SeaWorld San Diego, it all starts with reducing your water usage. “Running water from a central facility into your bathroom requires a high amount of energy that releases greenhouse gasses into the environment,” Otjen says.
It’s those greenhouse gases that result in global warming, but there’s one little thing you can do to cut back: put a brick in your toilet’s tank. It may sound strange, but the brick displaces water in the tank, allowing you to use up to half a gallon less per flush. Not only will this trick reduce your water bill significantly, but it also helps protect the environment. A win-win for the new year!
Be better at staying in touch.
This year, Ketan Kapoor, the CEO and co-founder of technology company Mettl, is vowing to use his phone addiction for something beneficial: to keep in touch with friends and family. Kapoor suggests using the calendar in your smartphone to keep track of birthdays, anniversaries, and special events. Now you won’t miss an important date and you’ll consistently connect with those who mean the most to you.
Give your skin an extra treat.
Taking care of your skin can be expensive. But there’s one way to show your skin some kindness in the new year without spending hundreds of dollars on a specialist, says Sarah Akram, a board-certified master esthetician. “Find a face mask that works for your skin type and leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes,” she says. “I recommend looking for a mask with lactic acid in it that will help slough off dead skin cells, hydrate your skin, and give you a nice glow.” After removing the face mask, Akram suggests following up with a serum and moisturizer to produce the best results.
Being more mindful can actually ease stress and increase your overall health. So why not give it a try in the new year? According to Nancy Rynes, spiritual teacher and author of Awakenings from the Light, mindfulness simply means remaining in the present and focusing on whatever you’re doing at that moment in time. It doesn’t even require meditating—it can be done in any place, at any time, Rynes says.
“For newbies, start with your daily shower. It’s great for beginners because it involves most of your senses: touch, hearing, smell, and sight. The more senses an activity involves, the easier it will be for you to maintain focus,” she explains. “Get the water going and step into the shower, focusing on the feel of the water on your skin. If you start making grocery lists in your mind, simply refocus on the experience of the shower. Do this in the morning to start your day off on a peaceful note.”
Make yourself more of a priority.
Many of us feel guilty about allowing our needs and desires to become a top priority, says Dr. Samantha Hiotakis, a mindset coach and lifestyle strategist. But this is the year to ditch that guilt and make room in your life for your own goals and dreams. “Prioritizing and creating space for yourself in life is not selfish and is nothing to feel guilty about,” Hiotakis says. “It’s something everyone needs to start doing, fast, for the sake of their own happiness and wellbeing. This simple mindset shift sets the intention to start ranking highly on your own to-do list and to write yourself back into your own life’s agenda.”
Choose one action word and emulate it.
Whether you’d like to be more “fearless” or more “focused,” picking one word can initiate big change in the year to come, according to Jonathan Lockwood, a consultant, spokesman, and policy advisor in Colorado. “Every year I choose a word to serve as the epicenter of change in my life. This year, I’m choosing the word fearlessness,” he says. “When you choose a word as a lens to create change in your life, you’re changing the game. Instead of fixating on your weight or waking up early or drinking less, you can choose a word like ‘action.’ This can drive your behavior in every way to think, Am I fulfilling the word ‘action’ right now? It becomes less about ‘fixing’ yourself or ‘stopping bad habits’ and more about starting a positive, values-driven change.”
Have a weekly date night.
Even if you’re currently single, making time each week for a date night can prove to be incredibly beneficial to your mental health, says Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics. “If you’re in a relationship, then make it a bonding experience, and if you’re single, treat it as a way to get to know yourself better,” Backe says. (Bonus: That’ll help you work toward self-love, too!) Even if it’s a minor activity—like taking the scenic route home from work—it has the power to truly feed your soul.
Spend more time outdoors.
You don’t have to be athletically-inclined to take more time to enjoy the fresh air. “All you have to do is take a few minutes each day to sit outside and experience the world around you,” says Samantha Morrison, a health and wellness expert for Glacier Wellness. “In addition to promoting a more mindful lifestyle, this can help foster a new appreciation of the environment, Mother Nature, and the breathtaking, beautiful world hidden behind the distractions of modern living.” Just a few minutes spent walking around your neighborhood can easily shift your mood, so why not give it a try? And for more free ways to boost your mood, here are 33 Things That’ll Make You Happy That Don’t Cost a Thing.
Read one book per week.
Reading tends to fall by the wayside amid our ten-hour work days, morning workout classes, and responsibilities at home. But books are the key to keeping your brain as sharp as ever, according to David Barbour, co-founder of Vivio Life Sciences. “Your entire life will improve, from vernacular to confidence, to insightful ideas and input. Reading will strengthen your memory, intelligence, decision-making, and appreciations you have.” Barbour says reading is the “foundation for all further growth—personal, professional, and romantic.” Feeling extra resolution-oriented? Then don’t just read a book per week by yourself—join a local book club that where you can discuss and better understand what you’re reading. Plus, book clubs also hold you accountable for finishing the reading goals you’ve set!
Reach out to your extended family.
When is the last time you spoke to your great aunt who lives alone or a cousin you used to be close with? If you’re struggling to remember your last interactions with your extended family members, then now is as good a time as any to reestablish those connections. The bond between family members can easily be fixed with a simple phone call or text to open the lines of communication once again, says Milana Perepyolkina, author of Gypsy Energy Secrets: Turning a Bad Day into a Good Day No Matter What Life Throws at You. A more fulfilling bond with your family members can make your new year the best one yet.
Institute work-free weekends.
Let the impending new year give you a new lease on life—or, at least, one with an off button. Take this tip from divorce and break-up coach Prudence Henschke, who is vowing to make each weekend work-free by setting clear boundaries between her professional life and personal life. “Being self-employed and working partly from home, while juggling the demands of parenting, the boundaries between work and home life are blurred. I work odd times and days which can leave me feeling like I never shut off,” Henschke says. “In 2019, I am planning to set boundaries for weekends with no work, no email, and limited social media.” So next time you reach for your smartphone on a Saturday, cuddle up with family on the couch and unwind instead.
Learn to embrace adventure.
Creating adrenaline-pumping moments, no matter how extreme, can give you a new lease on life, says Bert Mandelbaum, a sports medicine specialist and orthopedic surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute. “It doesn’t have to be skydiving. You can start small. How about a trip to a place you’ve never been before or tackling a project you’ve always been scared you’d fail at?” Mandelbaum proposes. “Now’s the time. Do it! And if you fail at it, dust yourself off and try it again.”
This year, jump into at least two or three adventures, no matter how uneasy they may make you. Once you learn to sit with that discomfort, you’ll be able to handle anything that comes your way.
Define and enforce your personal boundaries.
Resolving to define and enforce your boundaries is a good place to start on your journey to self-love and self-improvement, says writer and artist Caitlin Fisher. These boundaries could exist in the workplace, or even in how much you’re willing to give in your personal relationships. If someone insists on constantly crossing your boundaries, you should learn to stop feeling guilty for limiting their presence in your life. After all, negative energy should have no place on your list of resolutions for the new year.
Get more sleep.
In order to ensure that your brain will be able to make all of your resolutions realities, it’s important that you’re getting the required seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Not only is sleep necessary for day-to-day function, but getting the required amount can reduce your risk of serious health problems, like diabetes and heart disease, as well as decrease stress and inflammation, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It may seem difficult to wind down at the end of the day, but simple changes—like not using electronics, eating, or working out late at night—can help get you there.
Take more mental health days.
We don’t go into the office when we’re physically not at our best, so why not follow suit when our mental health isn’t great? A mental health day away from work can recharge your batteries, says Bryn Butolph, CEO and founder of Eat Clean Meal Prep. “In the new year, I will be encouraging my team to take more days off—and allowing myself to follow that same suggestion,” he says. “As a business owner, I know how hard I can push myself, but it’s really important to recognize when breaks are needed, or when I just need to unwind and spend time with the family. Work can wait—it’ll be there when I am energized and ready to focus on it.”
Follow more positive influencers on social media.
We’re all guilty of following a least a few people on social media who don’t exactly emit positive vibes. Making a conscious effort to follow more positive influencers and celebrities can actually help increase feelings of self-acceptance and self-love, says mental health and wellness coach Emily Cutler. It makes sense, considering we usually start our days by checking Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
“Last New Year’s Day, I decided to spend an hour or so choosing some body positivity, fat acceptance, disability pride, and LGBTQ pride Facebook pages to follow and blogs to subscribe to,” Cutler says. “Seeing posts from these blogs and pages throughout the year helped me learn to celebrate minds and bodies of all shapes, sizes, abilities, and preferences, which in turn helped me view my own body and mind more positively.” Not only will this small change in your feed foster a healthier state of mind, but it can also open up your world to other viewpoints.
Ask for that promotion.
You know all of the reasons you rock at your job, but sometimes, you need to remind your boss of what you bring to the table—and it’s best if you take the opportunity when you see fit. “Don’t wait for your boss to give you a review—take the initiative to do some self-discovery, and you’ll not only strengthen your work performance, but also be better equipped to advocate for yourself and the position or promotion you desire,” says International Coach Federation-credentialed life coach Laura Weldy.
In short, it’s time to stop waiting for your annual review to ask for that new role or raise—just do it now. That mentality is actually something you can apply to other areas of your life, too. Don’t sit back and wait for great things to come your way; make this year the one where you finally go after what you want.
Stick to the two-minute rule.
This year, aim to fill your to-do list with more check marks by implementing the two-minute rule. It was created by Itamar Shatz, an academic at Cambridge University and author of Solving Procrastination, and states that you should stop postponing tasks that take two minutes or less to complete. Shatz’s reasoning is that you’re just wasting time by putting the item back on your to-do list to complete at a later time, especially when it requires little effort in the first place. “Doing this will help you get things done quickly, which will ensure that you don’t procrastinate on them, and which will free up your cognitive resources so you can focus on the more important stuff,” he says.
Make a list of 12 people that you want to know better—and get to know them.
Even if you feel as though you have more than enough friends to keep your calendar busy and your mind stimulated at all times, adding a few more friendly faces to your inner circle could greatly benefit every aspect of your life, according to Dani Egna, the founder & CEO of INKED by Dani. “Branch out in the new year and get to know people from different fields and friend circles, and grow relationships with people in your line of work,” Egna says. “Create a calendar reminder at the start of each month to get in touch with each of these people to meet for coffee or drinks.” Since the new year is all about personal growth, adding people to your life who could foster this development is a great way to start achieving your personal goals this year.
Make use of a personal agenda or planner.
Rather than keeping all of your important appointments on your phone, take a much-needed break from technology and log all of your daily to-do’s in a physical planner or agenda, suggests Eric J. Anderson, co-founder & organizational development manager at CalculatorBuddy.com. Putting this information in a physical format that you can see and touch makes it much harder for you to ignore and helps to hold you accountable.
Write down the reasons why you’re thankful every day.
In the new year, make it a priority to vocalize your gratitude. Simply take five or ten minutes out of your day to write down two or three things that you’re grateful for on that particular day. Doing so can help you realize all of the ways that your life is amazing, even when you’re feeling down. This practice forces you to truly evaluate the things in your life that bring you joy—and perhaps even cut those things out that do not.
Learn a foreign language.
According to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, learning a foreign language can greatly benefit your cognition and brain power, even later in life. After learning just one other language outside of your native tongue, your intelligence, memory skills, problem-solving abilities, and linguistic awareness increase exponentially. So, whether you’d like to use an app like Duolingo, take a class, or hire a tutor, the benefits of this pursuit are seemingly endless and should be on top of your list of resolutions for the new year.
Do at least one thing you love every day.
While it may sound like a simple practice, many people tend to get so caught up in excelling at work and pleasing others that they forget about the hobbies and rituals outside of their professional life and personal relationships that truly make them happy. According to Shine co-founders Naomi Hirabayashi and Marah Lidey, it’s important to allow yourself to find a source of happiness that you don’t have to share with anyone else. “Get in the habit of doing something you love every day,” say Hirabayashi and Lidey. “Whether it’s jotting down favorites quotes in a journal or picking up a photography class, find something you love that’s outside of work and allow yourself this enjoyment.”
Never go to bed in a messy room.
Just because you’re working to improve yourself this year doesn’t mean that the cleanliness and appearance of your home need to take a back seat, says Amaro Saputo, an account executive at Citizen Relations in New York City. “Quickly straighten up your room each night before you go to sleep. Sleeping in an uncluttered room will also help you mentally feel at peace,” she says. Since a clean, tidy space can affect your mental health in a positive way, perhaps it’s time to make the effort to reorganize those bookshelves and declutter your kitchen drawers for better peace of mind in the new year!
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