Are you looking for a fresh start for your best self?
Read below for 21 hacks on how to honor your health and happiness this new year.
1. Actively listen to those around you. Listen to respond, not react. Resist the temptation to interrupt. Engage in conversations and summarize what is said while showing empathy and patience. Turn down your internal voice and stay in-tune with body language. If you make conversation a collaboration, you can create a more meaningful sense of community and successfully understand others in social situations.
2. Boost endorphins with exercise. Soak up the sun and boost your mood with physical activity. You can even breathe your way to better health with yoga breathing techniques! Whether you want to get toned or transform into tip-top shape, weight training with dumbbells or using your own body weight for planks and pushups can improve balance, bone density, and heart health, just to name a few benefits.
3. Clear the clutter and clean! Organize your overflow. Maybe it’s your mail, or perhaps your clutter is in the closet — wherever it is, declutter the mess and design a new space for the new year. Take before and after shots to see how far you’ve come!
4. Connect with your kin and closest of friends. Lessen the feeling of isolation and loneliness. Pick up the phone and remember the power of hearing the happiness in the voices of your loved ones. Or, start social distancing virtual dates — did you know a healthy support system combats cognitive decline?
5. Create an at-home serenity spa. Whether it’s applying a face or hair mask, building a bubble bath to soak in silence, creating a calming playlist to put you at ease, or do-it-yourself manicures and pedicures, take time for you and find ways to stay peaceful in your home this year.
6. Cultivate kindness. There are actual advantages to altruism. Send a thoughtful letter or care package, leave a silly voicemail, let someone cut in front of you in line, smile at a stranger, or say something positive to a passerby.
7. Dare to daydream. Focus on your future and what you want for yourself. Identify your weaknesses and welcome them as a means of inspiration to improve. Be continually curious and always look to take your current skill sets to the next step. When it comes to happiness, you can never aim too high. Take small measurable actions towards accomplishing your goals.
8. Engage in healthier eating habits. Stick the sweets on the highest shelf and remember that bad habits are easier to break if temptation is out of sight, out of mind. Fight nighttime cravings and place nutritious options front and center. Be sure to hydrate with water or tea, and, on occasion, use a crockpot for cooking your favorite comfort foods quickly.
9. Focus on your financial wellness. Track your monthly expenses, budget for big spending, pay down debts, monitor your credit score, put your bills on autopay, and with each paycheck, set money aside to save for your future success.
10. Get going on gratitude. Embrace everyday blessings. Remind and reward yourself on all that you’ve accomplished. Actualize all that you have to be thankful for, and either by way of a gratitude journal or mental check-ins, take time at the end of each day to go over the things and people that make you grateful.
11. Give back! Volunteer your time to non-profit organizations, organize a food drive or fundraiser, contribute to your professional team, or donate to a charity in your community and create a future more fulfilled.
12. Learn to let go. If you haven’t forgiven someone or something from your past, it’s time to do so. Take every experience as a life lesson meant to teach, not torment. Reflect on this past year, too. What have you learned about yourself? What could you have done differently? Release the negative energy of your past to best propel you forward.
13. Let loose and just dance. Do you have two left feet? No worries, there’s no right or wrong way to jam out to your favorite tune — and you can reduce stress hormones at the same time! If you’re feeling extra confident, bust some moves to your choice of music in front of a mirror. Sing along to your favorite songs, too! Don’t be afraid to get weird with it.
14. Live offline for a little while. Detox from social media. Stay away from smartphones, laptops, and iPads for a few hours and stay in-tune with your surroundings. Take a break from unnecessary notifications. Disconnect from the dreaded digital dry eye and connect to those around you. No likes or upvotes are needed.
15. Make moments for your mental health. Whether it’s mindfulness, meditation, talking to a mental health counselor, or jotting your thoughts down in a journal, any spiritual practice has the power to cease circling thoughts and place you in the present.
16. Negate negativity in all forms. Distance yourself from the doom and gloom. Don’t forget to unfriend, unfollow, and unsubscribe to those who make you unhappy. Challenge your self-cynicism, too, and actively practice anticipating events ahead with a positive outlook and persistent optimism.
17. Receive a restful, restorative sleep. Even if you have to buy a new bed, plush pillows, or softer sheets, consistently getting a good night’s sleep can improve your attention span and cognitive functioning and do wonders for your overall mood. You can even feel the worry melt away with a weighted blanket. Its weighted pressure, like that of a firm hug, raises serotonin levels and improves your sleep!
18. Redecorate your retreat and relax. Cocoon yourself in comfort. Dim the lights in your dwelling, rearrange your furniture, and summon the scents of your favorite candles.
19. Set boundaries for a better you. Start sticking to schedules, especially if you’re working remotely. Be accountable for your actions and words and apply that logic to others as well. Steer away from one-sided relationships where there is all give and no get. Grow accustomed to asking for help when you need it and know that it’s ok to say ‘no’ when necessary.
20. Start a new hobby. This is the year to try something new. Begin adult coloring books, craft, get your green thumb ready to garden, learn a new language or instrument, organize your baseball cards, set aside time to read, stare into the sunrise or stars —whatever you’ve been meaning to explore, start now.
21. Switch up your routine and do something spontaneous. Don’t get lost in repetitive choices and behaviors. Explore your options and try new things. Do at least one thing out of your comfort zone each week, and your confidence will start to soar.
Whatever you decide to do in 2021, and however you hope to improve, take charge of tomorrow and take time to treat yourself to the tranquility you deserve.
Your body and mind will thank you.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.