Are you thinking of healthy New Year’s habits or New Year’s Resolutions? The difference is subtle yet powerful. With 2019 winding down, everyone is on the lookout for ways to make 2020 one of the best years of their life. But instead of taking the traditional route of creating a resolution that you’ll give up on by the time February comes, choose to start creating healthy habits now that you can build upon as the year goes on. Whether they’re bad habits you’ve struggled to rid yourself of in the past or new healthy ones that you’d like to develop for the rest of your life, here are a few sustainable ideas that you can take into the new year:
- Take care of your metal health
- Eat well
- Commit to social interactions
- Keep a journal
Here’s a look at how to make these lifestyle choices work for you in the new year.
Healthy New Year Habit: Take Care of Your Mental Health
Creating (and owning!) your amazing year means beginning it with a positive mindset and actions to match. Part of that involves working to reduce the amount of stress and anxiety that you might be carrying around with you. There are a few strategies you can do to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Finding a creative outlet, spending more time with the people whose company you enjoy, practicing mindfulness, cultivating a meditation practice, appreciating beauty, and identify things every day for which you are grateful are some of the research-proven ways to boost mental health and wellbeing.
Devote a bit of time each day in your new year to assess the state of your mental health and try to give yourself whatever it is you need emotionally. Don’t let this cause more stress and anxiety, of course. To quote one of my favorite yoga instructors, Adriene Mishler of Yoga with Adriene, “A little goes a long way.” Begin to notice what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling by pausing briefly throughout the day to tune into yourself. You’ll find that the more time you put into keeping your mind healthy, the easier it will be for you to enjoy all of the happiness that’s destined for you in the new year.
Eat Well — A Powerful New Year Habit
It’s equally important that you take care of your physical health as it has a large impact on your mental health. Although people tend to think of them as two separate issues, your physical self and mental health are intertwined; the state of one affects the state of the other. When you neglect the needs of your body, then your mental state will suffer and vice versa. As the new year begins, try to make lifestyle changes that both your body and mind will appreciate.
A great place to start is healthy eating. A well-balanced diet not only helps stabilize your mood and reduces stress, but your outward appearance may also get a boost in unsuspected ways! From giving you glowing skin and shiny hair to helping you become more lean and slim, healthy eating habits can greatly improve your self-esteem while keeping your insides healthy. Start off with small changes to your diet, like only having dessert on the weekends or choosing to have a whole wheat bread over white bread. Once these habits become easier for you, push yourself to take it a step further. Consider joining a practical weight loss program that can show you how to develop realistic healthy eating habits. Even if weight loss isn’t a concern for you, everyone should know how to eat healthy. You’ll enjoy the new year so much more if your body is properly nourished and working smoothly.
Healthy Habit: Commit to Social Interactions
Being intentional about spending quality time with friends and family boosts your wellbeing–both physical and mental health–too. There are countless benefits to having close relationships, from reducing stress to reviving your sense of connection and purpose in the world. Extroverts and introverts alike grow from the warm feelings that come from being around people who genuinely care about them. Bonding time can be as elaborate as a summer trip with some of your best friends, or as laid back as a monthly movie night with some family members.
It’s surprisingly common for people to feel lonely, isolated, and that you don’t have any friends or family to lean on. If you are in this boat, try gradually putting yourself in situations where you’re likely to meet new people, like a fitness class or a local book club. Volunteering with an organization you believe in can help you make meaningful connections, too. You can even consider adopting a dog or cat while learning to make connections with others. Make it a goal to create as many memories as you can this year with the ones you love. There’s a bunch of love waiting out in the world for you, so position yourself to partake in it by making it a New Year’s habit.
Keep a Journal to Sustain Your New Year Habits
In the midst of this technological revolution we’re in, pen and paper may seem like archaic tools. However, keeping a journal is a great way to help manage your mental health and wellbeing. It provides an outlet for your thoughts and feelings and gives you the ability to analyze how you truly feel about certain situations in order to hone your goals and take purposeful action to meet them. Many different types of journals exist to meet all of the diverse individual needs and tastes out there.
I’ve written two journals to help people reduce anxiety and boost wellbeing: The 5-Minute Anxiety Relief Journal and The Mindfulness Journal for Anxiety. They’re both different tools with a slightly different style and structure, and each one is positive and life-enhancing. Use one or both, or another journal that fits who you are, to cultivate peace and plan action toward your values-driven life.
Consider the above tips and create a plan to use them to take charge of 2020. Start small and simply, gradually adding to your wellbeing goals (as opposed to attempting to add everything in full force all at once, which is overwhelming and very hard to sustain), will let you own your year and make great moments every single day.