By Michaela Garretson
Just like that, another year has arrived. Whether 2018 was one of your best years, or one full of challenges and obstacles, this year can - and should - be YOUR year. Before you become overwhelmed with thoughts of making and checking off resolutions, think about all that you want to accomplish, what activities you’ve been putting off for years, what changes you’ve been avoiding.
This year, instead of making set deadlines, try working towards accomplishments. Deadlines can be great motivation at your job or in college courses, but your personal life doesn’t have to be a robotic “reach this deadline, move to next goal” routine. Take joy in the moment. Acknowledge where you’re at, and create doable steps to reach what you’ve been desiring.
1. Challenge Your Mind
Learning shouldn’t end once you’ve graduated! There are so many ways to expand your mind as you get older - and I don’t mean binge-watching various Netflix shows! Your local library or community center is likely to offer a variety of classes - from sewing, fiction writing, language courses to cooking lessons! Search online for free or low cost classes. Just like physical exercise is important for your body, exercising your brain is super important too! Challenge yourself to finally learn Spanish or to enroll in that financial class that will answer all of your budgeting questions.
2. Stress Less
“Really? And how exactly do you propose doing that?” That would have been my exact response last month if someone suggested that I should stress less. The last few months of 2018 were hectic with work, holiday plans, and trying to overcome a seemingly never-ending sickness. I tend to think I can handle stress well, until it shows up unannounced, leaving me off guard with no idea what to do.
There’s no one-size-fits-all for stress relief, but one action I’ve found that’s really helped me is taking the focus off of myself - shifting my thoughts to other things in an effort to avoid becoming more overwhelmed with my current circumstances.
- Take a friend out for coffee
- Buy a plant
The act of taking care of something other than yourself can redirect your attention to greater things. If you find yourself prone to stress, consider making a list of activities that make you feel calm. It can be as simple as lighting a candle, taking a walk around your neighborhood, or cooking a new meal. Having a ready list of stress-relieving suggestions can be so helpful during those chaotic moments!
3. Don’t Make Goals Based on What You Hate
Unfortunately, the tendency to pinpoint every flaw we have is far too easy. And because of that, making goals can spring from a feeling of dissatisfaction towards ourselves. Whether that’s making tough weight loss goals or unhealthy eating restrictions, remember this: Your body is constantly growing and adapting. It works hard for so you can power through the day! Find ways to strengthen and appreciate your body throughout the year. Whether that means joining fun, new fitness classes or limiting how many fitness classes you take. Feed yourself energizing foods, but remember to enjoy life - every sweet moment.
4. Limit Social Media
I know, I know. You’ve probably heard this countless times, but how much have you really applied this to your life? Thanks to recent updates on Facebook and Instagram, you can check the time spent on the apps. You’ll probably be surprised how much of your time is spent scrolling, liking and posting.
With that said, make it a point to sift through what people or accounts you are following. Who you follow can really impact your self-thinking. Are you following people who uplift and inspire you, who encourage you to be the best version of yourself? If you find yourself comparing lifestyles or increasingly jealous, tap that unfollow button! Granted, sometimes it’s not always easy unfollowing family, friends or coworkers. Instead, mute their posts. Social media should be a fun tool to connect with loved ones, be inspired, and share your creativity.
5. Explore More
Been dreaming for years about a trip to Thailand, but can’t envision how to make that dream a reality? This year, make an effort to take one vacation. It doesn’t have to be two weeks, it could be two days. And it doesn’t have to be across the world - it could be a staycation in the next town from your home! Try this activity: write down one dream place you want to travel to (disregard finances for the moment!) and one more convenient (whether money-wise or distance-wise) location.
Now, think about the potential costs of each trip. If you set aside money each week, would you be able to travel to one of these places? Though travel ultimately requires some money, the benefits of seeing the world, experiencing other cultures and meeting new people will create a lifetime of memories!
6. Do Periodic Check-Ins
Throughout the year, take some time for reflection. Reflect on your goals, where you are personally, emotionally, physically, and how that aligns with your goals. What could you work on? What are you proud of? Have your goals changed? And to quote another article on the Midori Journal, “give yourself permission to mess up.” Appreciate all you have!
How are you working to make this your year?