It’s that time of year when we are all looking for inspiration to lead a better life; one that is less hectic, more simple, less stressful, more peaceful, less tedious, more intentional and the list goes on. Resolutions of losing weight and managing finances are some of the most popular resolutions every year but tend to get neglected after a few weeks or months if you’re really dedicated. The reason is because we haven’t changed some of the more basic habits that prevent us from staying on track. For example, if you commit to hit the gym more often, but you still don’t have babysitting, then it probably won’t last. Or if you commit to save money, but you haven’t created a budget, then it’ll be difficult to stay on track. But don’t be dismayed. There are some simple and effective things to do (in no particular order) to make 2018 a success without setting unrealistic goals.
- Give – whether it is your time or money, find ways to help others by giving of yourself. You will find that in the end, you will feel like you’ve received more than you gave because there is something magical about helping those in need.
- Be Thankful – When you focus on what you do have, you tend to forget about what you don’t have.
- Meal prep – Not only will you eat healthier, you will save money by not eating out as much.
- Disconnect from social media – When you step away from the online social scene, you are able to give more quality time to your loved ones. Easier said than done? Give yourself a daily time limit on social media or fast from it for a certain amount of time. This will help you keep the commitment. You’ll soon realize that being present and intentional with family and friends is far more rewarding than endless scrolling for mindless reasons.
- Journal – Writing things down is the most effective way to learn and remember. So, whether you’re writing plans for the week or goals for your life, journaling offers clarity and focus, thus giving us a greater chance of succeeding in our endeavors.
- Garden – There is something spiritual about connecting to the great outdoors that is liberating and peaceful. It is also rewarding to reap the fruits of your labor. Try it!
- Exercise – Walk, run, lift or whatever suits you. Just get moving and you’ll feel better because when you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce pain and increase pleasure, thus explaining the “runner’s high”, not to mention all the cardiovascular benefits.
- Read – Whether it is books, articles, fiction or non-fiction, reading gives us the opportunity to learn new things and develop our imaginations. It simply makes us smarter. Who doesn’t want to be smarter?
- Stop and buy the roses – Next time you’re at the grocery store, add a bouquet of flowers to your cart. Fresh flowers in your house will absolutely brighten the mood. It’ll also make it smell good. Certain scents interact with our brains to uplift, calm, or excite our mood which leads me to #10.
- Use essential oils – Essential oils are the new craze and for good reason. Whatever your ailment or need, “there’s an oil for that.” They are extremely effective and well worth the investment. However, they must be used with caution so do your research before jumping on the essential oil bandwagon.
- Pray/Meditate – Spending quiet time alone in prayer or meditation is good for the mind, body and soul. Research shows that prayer can decrease stress and improve mental health because when we give things up in faith, we no longer feel the need to control the uncontrollable.
- Know your mind power – Keep your thoughts in check because where your mind goes, your life will follow. Think about all that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable. Focus on the positive and see your troubles diminish.
- Budget – Keeping your spending in check will not only help you to make wise financial decisions now but it will also help you plan for the future. You can start by using a budgeting app or simply print a budget sheet with a list of all your expenses. When you cut back on unnecessary purchases, you’ll notice more money for other things like traveling!
- Travel – While we’d all like to drop what we’re doing and “travel the world”, it’s probably not possible. But, you can drive to a unfamiliar place for the weekend and enjoy the benefits of experiencing something new. And at the end of the year, when you’ve saved money on your new budget, you can travel to a more popular destination. My own inspired quote is ‘Traveling excites the mind and restores the soul.” Enough said, I’m sold!
- Dream – no matter your age or circumstance, do not let go of lifelong dreams. Work toward them intentionally and realize your progress along the way. Before you know it, your dreams will come true.
- Eliminate unhealthy habits – Whether you need to quit smoking or quit worrying so much or quit procrastinating, do it now! Remember it only takes 21 days to form a new habit so if you start today, you can eliminate that nasty habit you’ve probably struggled with for years in just three weeks!
- Get organized – managing your time and organizing your “stuff” will help you save time and money for more important things. Think about how much you’ve wasted because you weren’t organized. I used to pay late fees every month on something because “I didn’t see the bill.” Not anymore (partly because my husband took over the bills). Create order in your home and eliminate chaos.
- Spend more time with family – Carve out time to eat dinner together, watch a show or even plan a weekly event or game at home. Anything that connects the family is sure to build a stronger relationship and help us to appreciate each other more. It’s easy to neglect those who are closest to us.
Making 2018 a lovely year doesn’t have to be an overwhelming feat. It can be as simple as 1, 2, 3!