By: Jordan Smith, MA, LMFT
New Year’s resolutions often become empty words talked about while watching a glittering ball drop. Not this year. Take a moment to reflect on the past year and honestly give some real thought to what you would like to do in 2016.
The key to making healthy decisions is to respect your future self. Honor him or her. Treat him or her like you would treat a friend or a loved one. ~A. J. Jacobs
This year, choose to develop healthier habits and make decisions that foster growth for yourself, here are a few suggestions:
- Rest. Jessica Payne, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, talks about the importance of sleep. She highlights that a night’s rest and taking naps may help boost your mood, your physical health, your memory, and ability to creatively think. So maybe, turn off the Tube and fall asleep earlier, it could be more beneficial for yourself than the next TV episode.
- Creative Thinking. J.k. Rowling says this, “Harry Potter gave me back self respect. Harry gave me a job to do that I loved more than anything else.” Taking time to engage in some form of art can give you a side ‘job’ you will love and gives you time for yourself. Art can sometimes help you deeply understand your inner self, or perhaps help you discover the next Harry Potter.
- Volunteer. Your own happiness actually increases when we help others, highlights Peter Kanaris, PhD, coordinator of public education for the New York State Psychological Association. Find a way to connect and give back to your community, and just know that you are also helping yourself.
- Routine. Finding ways to squeeze everything into our busy schedule can be difficult. So, taking to time to schedule, make to-do lists and coordinate with others is important. Try Workflowy if pen and paper to-do lists end up in the trash. However, routine can also become montaneous. Breaking free from routine in our everyday life, such as choosing a different path to work, can actually be mentally healthy. Even further, find a way to travel, near or far, this year so you can remember that life’s an adventure. Developing a routine and breaking your routine may be just as healthy for you.
- Counselor or Mentor. A counselor or mentor can help you navigate through the emotions, thoughts and behaviors that make it difficult to achieve a personal goal. Here is a quote by Shawn Hitchcock: “A mentor empowers a person to see a possible future, and believe it can be obtained.” So, take care of yourself and find someone to help.
What is your New Year’s resolution? These words can either be tossed out with the fruit punch or make change this year, in 2016. Respect your future self and make these words meaningful.
“Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.” ~Mahatma Gandhi