It's a new year and a new you, am I right? Most of us are currently working on our list of resolutions for 2018 in hopes of building better versions of ourselves in the future, and although it's a great idea to think about positive changes you can make in your life, resolutions are typically difficult to stand by after a month or so. In fact, a study conducted a few years ago found that only 8 percent of people actually stick to their New Year's resolutions. Resolutions are usually well-meaning, but let's face it: most of us are back to our normal routines within a few weeks after wrapping up NYE celebrations.
Instead of promising to make monumental (and probably unachievable) changes in 2018, consider picking ten smaller habits to work on. If you need some ideas, here are some resolutions that even the laziest of us can stick to over the next year.
1. Instead of signing up for a new hobby, build upon one you already have. The idea of starting from square one on a new activity can be overwhelming, so instead of starting your first guitar lesson or signing up for kickboxing classes, consider focusing on the hobbies you already know and love. If you adore novels, make it a goal to read a certain number over the course of the year. If you enjoy painting, buy yourself some new supplies to encourage more creativity.
2. Vow to add a little variety to your life. If you haven't been on a vacation in two years, plan something, even if it's just a weekend getaway. Try a new restaurant once a month or finally visit that new bowling alley you've heard so much about. There's no correct number of steps to take; simply make a conscious effort to add a little spice to every month so 2018 stands out.
3. Do one thing that terrifies you. Pick one of your biggest fears and face it, if you dare. For some, this means leaping out of a plane that's 12,000 feet in the air or holding a snake at your local zoo. This resolution is easy to check off in one brave moment, so take a deep breath and tackle the scary adventure head-on.
4. Organize that one part of your home that drives you crazy. We all have a closet, drawer, or maybe even an entire room that could use a little TLC. Instead of planning to clean your entire house from top to bottom or reorganize every nook and cranny, isolate one problem area and get it done. You'll find it's much easier to focus on one spot than it is to think about dealing with an entire home.
5. Pick one charity and donate to it on a monthly basis. We all hope to be more giving and thoughtful during the new year, but doing so is often easier said than done. To give yourself a little encouragement, do your homework and find a charity that you'd love to support over the next 12 months. Then, make a note in your calendar to donate to that organization at least once a month. It doesn't have to be a big donation; even $10 helps, and you'll feel good knowing you picked a charity you're really passionate about supporting.
6. Work on your sleep routine. Saying you're going to get eight hours of rest 365 days in a row is a totally implausible statement. Of course there will be nights you get more or less, so don't set yourself up for failure. However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't make changes in your nightly habits. Research done by the CDC indicates that 30 percent of Americans are sleep deprived and that cellphones (or other kinds of blue-light technology) might play a roll in your poor sleep routines. Do yourself a favor and spruce up your bedtime ritual. Invest in a lavender-scented oil, a sleep mask, a sound machine, or maybe even a new mattress if you think it'll help you get more sleep on a regular basis.
7. Don't make weight or gym-oriented goals. Instead, try to get moving however you can. If you're one of the thousands of Americans who is going to sign up for a gym membership in January only to cancel it in February, think about changing your resolution a tiny bit. Make an effort to simply get moving, not to lose a certain number of pounds or visit the gym every day. Taking long walks, hiking, using the stairs, and many other forms of activity will make a huge difference in your health, and you're much more likely to engage in those activities than you are to completely restructure your week around a new workout routine.
8. Reduce your intake of one unhealthy beverage. So many Americans vow to eat healthier, but that's a vague resolution that's difficult to stick with. Think about what you drink on a daily or weekly basis and see if you can cut your sugar levels by making a change. All of those sodas, coffees, alcoholic beverages and teas add up, so pick one and consider it a treat rather than a normal part of your diet.
9. Adopt the five-minute rule. When you see something that needs to be done, either around your house or on your to-do list, ask yourself if you can finish it in under five minutes. If you can, get it done immediately. If you can't, it can wait until later. You'll be surprised by how many small tasks can be accomplished in under five minutes (*cough cough* making your bed in the mornings), and you'll find yourself procrastinating less and staying on top of your daily chore list.
10. Focus on building muscle instead of losing fat. Many people forget the benefits of strength training and opt for long stretches on the treadmill instead. Although aerobic exercise is fantastic for your heart, it's also important to train your muscles on a regular basis. Forget weighing yourself every morning and set your sights on physical improvements instead. The more capable your body becomes, the more confidence you'll have in your appearance and abilities.
What are your New Year's resolutions? Leave other suggestions in the comments! Happy New Year from all of us at BubbleLife, and best of luck in 2018, whatever your goals may be.