Contributed by Aurora LaJambre, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru
Determined to change your lifestyle, pursue a new goal or contribute more to your community this year?
Join the club! We meet in our minds every year on New Year’s Eve, because what better time to set a plan for the future than the start of a new year? First we reflect on the year past, then we pinpoint a handful of ways to improve ourselves in the next year, and we think big.
It’s not surprising that the top New Year’s resolutions, however challenging, exciting and scary, appear on a majority of resolutions lists year after year. Do any of these top New Year’s resolutions sound familiar?
10. Conquer a fear
Fear limits your life experiences. Conquering a fear is not an easy thing to do, but living with one is even harder. Many people resolve to get over a phobia, but they underestimate how bumpy, sometimes mountainous, this road can be. If you’re ready to confront a phobia, seek treatment or find a support group.
The old resolution to get more organized goes hand in hand with time management. Social media, television, games and other glowing screens will encroach on every minute of your quiet time if you let it. Designate blocks of time everyday to disconnect completely. Leave the phone/internet/app wizard at home and take a walk with a friend or cook a nourishing meal.
8. Quit a vice
Now is the time to stop doing that thing you know is bad for you whether it’s smoking, drinking, overeating, indulging in that sweet tooth, downing a pot of coffee a day or comfort shopping. Some people go cold turkey while others ease out of a bad habit. For instance, reducing alcohol consumption by half or switching to half decaf coffee. Tip: announce your goal to friends and family, and celebrate each consecutive month of success.
7. Socialize more
On average, 50 percent of Americans aim to spend more time with family and friends. Socializing boosts happiness, adds to longevity and makes life more stimulating. Make new friends by stepping out of your comfort zone. Say yes to invitations and talk to strangers at parties. Put family time on the calendar and do something active like playing tennis or taking a hike together.
Travel resolutions float to the top of many minds on New Year’s Eve, and they should. If your resolutions are starting to resemble an overwhelming to-do list, add something fun like going on an adventure. Think of a trip you’ve always wanted to take, pick an easy going travel companion and GO. A few possible destinations: the Grand Canyon, cross country road trip or a national park.
5. Take a hobby to the next level
If you run, train for a marathon. Love to cycle? Register for a race. Jack/ Jills of all athletics should set out to train for and complete a triathalon. For more indoorsy types, going big may mean writing a book, turning a craft hobby into a small business or submitting your photos, poetry or art into contests.
Self reflection and improvement doesn’t have to be all ‘me, me, me’. Volunteering automatically changes your mindset from “How can I do better?” to “What are my strengths now and how can I contribute them?” Choose a cause that’s close to your heart, and make a realistic time commitment.
3. Wrangle finances
Paying down debt, sticking to a budget and increasing income all fall under the same top New Year’s resolution of getting a handle on finances. Money is a continuous source of stress when it’s not managed properly. Start by recording every expense in a log, setting a budget based on your income, and saving as much money as possible no matter how small this may seem. Paying down debt without taking on new expenses and saving what’s left over each month, will put you in a better financial place by this time next year.
2. Improve diet
Eating better is a top New Year’s resolution because people know that a healthy diet helps the body fight disease and increases our happiness. What makes this goal so difficult is that we underestimate how difficult it can be. Don’t go overboard on restrictions. Remove most fried foods, processed sugar and supersized portions, while taking the time to prepare healthy food that actually tastes delicious. Tip: eat whole foods, and load your plate with bright colors.
1. Get in Shape
Fitness doesn’t happen unless you make it happen, and one of the simplest ways to get yourself on track is to set a goal and join a gym. New gym memberships sky rocket in January, but attendance typically tapers off as early as February. The process of getting in shape naturally has its ups and downs so don’t get discouraged if you fall off track. It takes about six months for a new habit to stick so you must persevere until July. Tip: recruit a gym buddy to give you that extra push out the door on lazy days.