The New Year fills us with both excitement and dread. Though it can be a time of new beginnings and clean slates, the New Year can also foster shame and guilt—big time. We sometimes set ourselves up for failure by making promises we can’t keep by initiating resolutions steeped in self-blame.
Break that yearly cycle by focusing on New Year’s resolutions that make you feel good rather than stressed. Try these 20 small—but mighty—resolutions to foster positivity and growth in your life rather than shame and failure.
- Buy a new houseplant. The power of plants for both emotional and physical healing is often underestimated. Research shows that plants provide many therapeutic benefits, including helping us bounce back from stress, purifying the air in our environment, and boosting focus and concentration.
- Incorporate more color into your wardrobe. Adding a pop of color to your outfit can make you feel happier. Ayurvedic color therapy posits that the seven colors of the rainbow balances and heals both the mind and body. Vata doshas thrive in orange, red, and gold; Pitta doshas can balance their hot tendencies with cooling, soothing colors, such as blues and greens; and Kapha doshas should choose bold colors like purple.
- Eat more colorful food. According to the American Heart Association, we can get all of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients we need by adding a variety of colorful fruits and veggies to our plates each day.
- Prioritize getting more sleep. Establishing good sleep hygiene practices is essential to your health and wellbeing, according to Dr. Nicole Moshfegh, author of The Book of Sleep: 75 Strategies to Relieve Insomnia. Sleep hygiene refers to a set of practices and habits that set the stage for a good night’s sleep, including for example, creating a sleep sanctuary in your completely dark and quiet bedroom, establishing a bedtime ritual, or relying on stress-relief tools like meditation. Check out more advice from Dr. Moshfegh on avoiding insomnia.
- Keep a gratitude list. It is worth remembering what we are grateful for each day to help us cope when things don’t seem so great. Just keeping a simple list of things we’re happy about will help us appreciate them more.
- Compliment yourself and another person at least once a day. Most people (including you!) like getting compliments. However, don’t be fake or crude; being genuine, positive, and respectful is a must.
- Dedicate self-care time each day. Carve out five to 10 minutes a day to just sit with yourself. Establishing both a morning routine and nighttime ritual to practice self-care is a good start. You deserve it.
- Read a book once a month. Stimulate your intellectual curiosity by picking up a new book each month. Reading has a ton of benefits, including improving vocabulary, memory, and analytical and writing skills. Subscribers can begin by browsing our book reviews.
- Drink more water. In addition to keeping you hydrated, drinking water can help fight fatigue, balance digestion, and control your appetite. To help you get the requisite eight, 8 oz cups a day, try adding herbal tea to boost your intake.
- Make sure you go to bed happy each night. Repeat this affirmation before going to bed: “I am in control of my happiness. I forgive myself and others for the sake my wellbeing.”
- Go on a social media detox for at least a week. The University of Pennsylvania released a study last year that revealed that social media is bad for our mental health. According to the study, to be less lonely and depressed, we should limit social media usage to just 30 minutes a day. Also try these four ways to stress less with social media.
- Experiment with a new recipe each week. Be adventurous and try new recipes that you would not normally consider. You might discover you love a dish you would have never tried. Sean Sherman’s Sautéed Corn Mushrooms with Fresh Corn and Fried Sage fits the bill perfectly and can be your inaugural recipe.
- Spend more time with people you like. Studies have shown that more support systems you have in place, the happier you are. Rather than building your world around work and obligation, focus on spending more time with the people you enjoy. Doing so can even help you reconnect with old friends and family.
- Make a new friend. Sometimes, we get so set in our ways that we don’t consider the possibilities of new ventures. Establishing a fresh relationship with a new friend takes work, but it is usually worth it in the end.
- Practice listening more. Listening can help us be more mindful and live more in the moment. Try these eight ways to be a more mindful listener.
- Turn off your phone at meals. Americans spend more than 3 hours a day on their smartphones. Smartphone usage has become so habitual that using them is as natural as brushing our teeth. Stop the continual interruptions by setting your device to “do not disturb” while you’re eating and enjoy your meal in peace.
- Say no more often. Stop being a people-pleaser and putting other people’s needs before your own. Putting pressure on yourself to accomplish tasks you don’t actually like or that are too difficult ramps up anxiety. It is OK to say no and practice more self-care.
- Declutter your home, car, and workspace. Dr. Kira Bobinet says that Marie Kondo’s KonMari method is popular because it “taps into our innate desire for order, minimalism, and, most notably, mindfulness. It encourages us to be thoughtful, as well as to create structure and systems in our homes that support the lives we want for ourselves.” Check out Dr. Bobinet’s kitchen decluttering tips.
- Explore intuitive eating. Rather than focusing on unattainable weight loss goals, try intuitive eating. Intuitive eating encourages people to follow internal cues to guide when and what foods to consume. In other words, to eat what you want when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. Read Emma Green’s take on the benefits of intuitive eating.
- Go on a vacation. According to the U.S. Travel Association, fewer than half of Americans go on vacation annually. However, if it is financially feasible, plan a vaca this year. Traveling can reduce stress, strengthen familial bonds, and provide opportunities to learn about new places and cultures.
Originally published at Spirituality & Health.