The new year is upon us in just a few hours. Right now is a time to reflect back on what’s brought us joy and what we’ve accomplished in 2018, as well as acknowledge the things that may have gone wrong and can be improved on. It may seem cliché, but the start of a new year is truly the perfect time to set up the goals that help us get towards the future we want to create for ourselves.
New Year's statistics
show that only 9.2 percent of us successfully carry out our resolutions each year. While it’s great to have ambition, it can be tempting to set too big a goal, or feel held down by too many goals. Unreasonable resolutions can lead to more stress
that makes us feel bad about ourselves.
A study in the European Journal of Social Psychology on how habits are formed
found that the average person takes 66 days to break out of an old habit, and it takes even more time to master a new, better pattern. Start with small self-care goals to help you in the long run. Making a small change in your daily routine can help you create new patterns of action. Consider trying one of these subtle positive changes for a healthier you, year-round.
Express Your Gratitude
Start by expressing gratitude
for the people and things you have that make life great. Try making a list each day of three things that made your day better, no matter how big or small.
Something like being unable to find parking in downtown on Friday night or waiting for a delayed package may trigger agitation. We can slowly rewire our brains to not get as immediately irritated, or even focus on the good: we’re happy to have friends to meet for drinks or lucky to soon be opening that present from mom.
Say No to Social Media
Turn your fear of missing out; commonly known as FOMO, into JOMO, the “joy of missing out.” Instead of scrolling through your Facebook page to see how your peers are having a blast without you, make room for joy in your own life.
Pick a time of day to plan a ban social media use. Make a promise to yourself to eat dinner each night without scrolling through Instagram or not check the news after 9:00PM. Newer research consistently shows how social media overuse can lead to sensory boredom
, as well as make it harder to get sleep due to screens’ emitting blue light
and stressful content.
Maintain Good Self-Care Habits
Remember to make time to maintain your self-care routine throughout the new year. Continue with an exercise regimen, and get outdoors when you can. Especially in the winter, getting enough sunlight and fresh air is important, especially if you are prone to suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. If extreme temperatures prohibit you from getting outside, do an indoor workout in the morning by sunny window.
Gift yourself a massage to help yourself unwind. More Americans now view massage therapy as self-care
than luxury service; over 70% get one primarily for medical or stress-related reasons. The science of touch has received more attention in recent years; theTouch Research Institute at the University of Miami Medical School
has now conducted over 100 studies on the benefits of massage against depression and anxiety, reduced stress hormones, and increased immunity and pain relief.