With new year fast approaching you may be looking back at this past year and wondering where the time went. You may be thinking back at everything that went wrong and what you didn’t accomplish over the past year, and now with the year 2020 coming soon you may be looking to make some changes for the better.
It does matter what you should have did in years past, the only thing that matters is what you are willing to do NOW! Even if you manage to make only one small change to your life, as long as it’s for better, then that’s a step in the right direction. When 2020 is over you will at least be able to take some solace in fact that you accomplished something on your resolution list and that will give your confidence to make bigger and bolder resolutions for the next year.
Below my list of new years resolutions you will do well to commit to and my thoughts on each. Feel free to pick and choose which ones you want to follow or modify as necessary. In no particular order.
1.) Get In Shape
Getting in shape and losing weight is the most obvious new year’s resolution the majority of people make. Obvious or not, getting in shape is the most important new year’s resolution if you are not already in shape. Getting in shape leads to good health and like I said in my previous blog post 13 Tips to Achieve Your Goals and Life Success, if you’re not healthy then nothing else on this new year’s resolution list matters.
Getting in shape doesn’t necessarily mean sweating it out in the gym for hours on end. If you want to do that then more power to you, but if not then remember KISS principle; Keep It Simple Stupid. So the reason why I mention the KISS principle is because when in doubt, keep it simple. So in this case, if the thought of getting a personal trainer, going to the gym, workout routines, elaborate diets, etc. is too much for you to handle, then KEEP IT SIMPLE. You can keep it simple by just walking every day and cutting out the sugar.
Walking every day and eliminating sugar would be my simple, thumbnail advice to get started on the road good health and fitness. There have been a number of studies over the years that show that just walking 20 to 30 min. a day can not only lead to weight lose but you will also reduce your chances of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and even certain kinds of cancer. If you eliminate or greatly reduce the sugar in your diet, think surgery drinks such as soda and candy for example, it will have a tremendous impact on improving your health, and just like with walking, there have been multiple studies that prove the benefit of a low to no sugar diet. The key to reaping the benefits of walking exercise routine and a low sugar diet is consistency – keep doing it every day!
2.) Go see a doctor
Perhaps this should have been at the top of this new year’s resolution ideas list. I put seeing a doctor on this list because it is often overlooked as a new year’s resolution idea in many articles and blogs and it is extremely important! If you regularly get checkups, then good for you and congratulations if you have a clean, or relatively clean bill of health, and feel free to skip this point and move on to the next resolution idea in this list. If you haven’t had a doctor’s appointment then I highly recommend you do and do so soon.
What really prompted me to include this on my new year’s resolutions ideas list is that my significant other had a brother who suddenly passed away earlier this year. I had just saw him two days before he passed away on a Sunday morning, while he was getting ready for work. He suffered a major heart attack. He was in his mid 50’s and he looked and seemed healthy as far as myself or anyone in her family could tell so it was quite a surprise to all of us when we learned he was gone.
So, the lesson here is that although no one wants to think about having a major health problem, you don’t know what you don’t know. You might seem healthy and fit but your never know. It doesn’t hurt to get yourself checked at the start of the year, or why wait, Do IT NOW! God willing you won’t have any major health issues and you can start your 2020 with some peace of mind.
3.) Get your financial house in order
This is another obvious and common new year’s resolution most people will to try keep. Unless you’re Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos with a net worth in the many tens of billions you probably could stand to make more money and get your financial house in order. There’s not many things as worrisome as not having your financial sh*t together and realizing you don’t have enough to rent or the mortgage.
So here are some good new year’s resolutions to shore up your personal financial situation:
• Pay Off (or down) debt if you are able. Pay off those credit cards, student loan debt or make few extra car payments this year. If you have to work overtime or a part-time job to have the money to pay off your credit card debt, it will be well worth it because you will be potentially saving yourself hundreds or thousands of dollars in interest. The good news is that once you do so you will now have freed up extra income for yourself for saving or whatever. And, whatever you do, don’t create more debt by running up those cards again or by opening new credit cards and running them up!
• Get a better paying job or take that promotion. It you are working already then why not use the new year to look for either a better paying job or take that promotion at your current job if one is available. I can think of a few people who have passed up career opportunities because they didn’t want to deal with what the new job or position entailed. Sure, it will be more challenging with more responsibility, but in order to make more you have to do more.
• Start a retirement plan if you haven’t done so already. If your employer offers it, open a 401K or some other investment account such as a Roth IRA. You don’t want to be old already, retirement approaching, and nothing saved to live off and still have to keep working.
• Save money. Pay yourself first before you pay your bills. Even if all you can afford is $20 – $50 a payday, then set aside that money aside. It is better than nothing. You’d be surprised how quickly that will stack up.
• Cut your expenses. Get rid of that subscription to Netflix (if you really don’t use), bring a lunch to work, brew your own coffee, eat out less often, etc. I frequently remind myself that when I keep paying for these things I am only making someone else rich. You should keep that in mind too.
• Start utilizing a monthly budget and stick to it. It’s a good idea to plan your finances out for the month so you can get a better handle on where and what you are spending your money on. Do your best to stay within your budget by not spending more than you make. Save money where and when you can.
• Start a side hustle or another income stream. If you work a full-time job or are receiving regular monthly income, fantastic and great for you, but you’d do well cultivate another income stream if you can. You should never depend on only one source of income, even if you spouse or significant other works or is well off. Developing another income for some could be as simple as working a part-time job, but for others it could be an online business of some kind. I will write a future blog post about top side hustles if you are strapped for cash, so keep an eye out for that.
4.) Loose the booze
For those of you that don’t drink, good for you and you can skip this one, but for those of you that do, you might thank me later if you stick to this new year’s resolution. I realize that because this is a blog post about the new year, you may be reading this prior to or sometime just after having consumed copious amounts of alcohol.
If you been drinking for a while then you probably know drinking to excess, has some negative consequences and side affects you never want to experience again. No one likes the throwing up, blacking out and being hung over the next day. Then there’s many bad social and behavioral issues that come from booze consumption such as aggressive behavior and being abusive those you care about and others. Then there’s the worrying about driving home after a night out or else facing the possibility of a DUI.
As if those weren’t reasons enough to stop drinking, there is the negative affects on your health such as weight gain, the greater likelihood of developing cancer and liver disease. Also, alcohol can impact your mental health with memory and learning issues to depression and anxiety.
So, having said all that, if you are among those who drinks occasionally and in moderation then you then it is safe to say you don’t have a problem. But for those of you who binge drink or have a chronic drinking problem, then the start of the new year is as good of a time as any to put down the bottle and turn over a new leaf. When you stop drinking you will sleep better, possibly lose weight, think clearly, reduce your chances of developing some nasty illness or another, improve relationships with those you care about and save money.
5.) Engage in more Self-Care/Me Time
I wrote about the importance of self-care in an earlier blog post, 13 Tips To Achieve Your Goals and Life Success, but it doesn’t hurt to talk about it again. Self-care is doing something for yourself, by yourself, usually, something you enjoy that will keep you from getting stressed out and burned out on life. It is something that will help you to relax and recharge your physical and emotional batteries so-to-speak. What is self-care to someone else may not be self-care for you.
Some examples of self-care, or me time if you want to call it that, are as follows:
• Going for a long walk alone
• Exercise/working out, etc.
• Reading a book
• Writing a journal
• A relaxing massage
• Visiting someplace you find solace such as a forest or beach
• Walking your dog
• Enjoying a nice glass of wine while listening to music
• Zoning out watching TV or a movie
• Etc, etc. . .
The list can go on. It depend on you which one will suit you the most, but for the new year find your favorite self-care indulgence and be sure to spend some time every month doing it. It’s medicine for the soul. Don’t let others make you feel guilty for wanting to take care of your own needs, particularly if you are really stressed or burned out because if don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others after all.
6.) Commit to a monthly or weekly digital detox
Unless you’re living in a cave, completely cut off from the grid, you probably have a smart phone and a computer that you use. If you are anything like me your phone is probably damn near constantly pinging you with some new notification, phone calls, texts, emails, social media alerts and what-not. Perhaps you also frequently sit in front of a computer (for work or personal) where you constantly have emails to attend to and the distraction of the internet. At home perhaps you have a 60 inch OLED flat screen TV with hundreds of channels where you feel compelled to watch as soon as you walk in the door. They’re all part of this modern world we live in and it’s driving many people insane.
These devices we have built, the computer, the TV, the smartphone keep us hyper connected to the world and but not to each other. We don’t feel the true connection we once had where we had to meet people the old fashion way, face to face.
The smart phone alone is the real demon with its endless firehose of notifications and phone calls demanding attention. Most people (myself included) get so caught up using their phone they don’t notice the world and people around them, and they don’t even notice themselves (how they really feel about themselves, what their thinking, their motivation, etc). Most of us are a slave to these devices. We don’t so much as own them as they own us because they’re giving us more depression and anxiety according to research.
To that I say for the new year, you should make it a resolution to committing to taking a digital detox every week or at least one a month. Turn off your phone, turn on your TV, go outside or read a book, just do something that doesn’t run on batteries! I realize it may be hard for some to do this because they run a business or work in a field in which staying always on, always connected is essential but even still, if you really want to, you should at least carve out a few hours here and there to switch off these demons and cleanse your soul from the distractions for sake of your sanity.
7.) Travel somewhere
Money might be tight for some of you so the thought of traveling anywhere may be an impossibility, but I would suggest to you that as a new year’s resolution travel could be somewhere close like another town or city in your region. If you live close to a beach, go there. Going to a nearby forest or wild area can be helpful because reconnecting with nature can be therapeutic. The point is to get out of your familiar environment. Sometimes it can help clear your mind and get you out of the rut you’re in.
If money is not an issue, then take that big vacation out of state or out of the country. If you’re afraid to do it, now might be a good time to overcome that fear and you can start by learning everything you can about the region and city you’re going to and by traveling with someone you feel comfortable with. When you get there visit all the sites you can, enjoy the food, meet new people and take allot of pictures. You will likely find yourself forgetting about the stresses and concerns at home, at least a little bit. You will come back home glad that you did. So go do it. Take that trip. You only live once.
8.) Spend time with family & friends
Nobody is an island and we all need face to face human connection. Many people often rely on social media to interact socially with people but that doesn’t count in my opinion because there is the lost intimacy and trust that you only get from seeing those you care about in person.
Of course, too much time socializing can be detrimental, especially if it’s taking time away from your life goals. Another problem is if many of the people in your circle are toxic personalities who tear you down, degrading and discouraging you then yes, socializing can be detrimental in that case
However, being completely socially isolated and cut off from other people is never a good thing and can frequently lead to depression and possibly poor health.
So be sure to strike a balance with how much time you spend connecting with friends and family and make it part of the new year. You never know whose day you could brighten by their seeing you and what you may gain by seeing them.
9) Talk less, listen more
The average conversation goes something like this: Person A talks. Person B half listens and while he/she is half listening they are thinking about what they want to say next. Person A finishes talking and person B immediately starts talking while person A half listen while they are thinking of what to say next. Rinse and repeat. God knows I’ve been guilty of doing this.
For the new year consider shutting your mouth and really, really listening to the person. No matter how smart or educated you are, nobody knows everything and everybody has something to contribute, something to say that you might not of known or considered. You never know what you can learn by listening to some people you might otherwise have not give consideration to.
By listening more you will learn more and gain more trust. You will gain respect from those you interact with because they know you’re a genuine person seeking to understand and not just run your mouth.
10.) Do something that scares you
I included this in my new year’s list because it is important to get out of your comfort zone. I am not talking about jumping off a building or setting yourself on fire or something crazy like that to get yourself killed, but I am talking about taking a risk, doing some activity that you’re scared about. You need to push the envelope. You need to get you out of your safe space in order to overcome that fear and to grow emotionally and mentally as a human being. And sometimes in doing that thing that scares you it will get you think out of the box and think more creatively.
One thing I was scared to do was asking a woman to dance. I went to many nightclubs and parties with music and dancing but for the longest time I just couldn’t pull the trigger when it came down to it. When I finally had the nerve to do it, it gave me a certain confidence I didn’t know I had before.
For some people it could be a high adrenaline activity such as skydiving or something like going up and talking to people to make conversation at a social gathering. Only you know what that scary thing is so make doing that scary thing part of your To Do list for the coming year and do it. You will be glad you did.
11.) Tell someone you Love them and how much they mean to you
The simple act of telling someone you love that you love them and how much the mean to you can really brighten their day or their whole week even if they don’t outwardly seem to show it. And the truth is none of us really know how much time any of us have left. The time may come where you may not get the chance to say those words to the ones you care about because either you won’t be here anymore or they won’t. Don’t let another year go by without those you care about hear you say that. It’s not the kind of new year’s advice you are likely to hear from other bloggers, but it’s as good a new year’s tip as any in my opinion.
12.) Daily affirmations
As I talked about in another blog post, an affirmation is when you state a positive declaration of something to be true. The act of stating this positive affirmation will help counteract and override the destructive, negative self-talk and believes in your mind if the positive affirmation is consistently repeated. As I heard someone say once, thoughts are things and those things are powerful. So repeated, positive affirmations will be putting good things in your mind to help transform your life for the better.
Related: What are Daily Positive Affirmations and Why You Want To Use Them (What are positive daily affirmations, who uses them and why you should too. . .)
You don’t believe in the power of daily affirmations? Well a number of really famous, wealthy individuals believe in daily, positive affirmations such as Jim Carrey, Denzel Washington and Oprah Winfrey. It worked for them and it will work for you.
Start the new year with some positive affirmations you’re comfortable with such as “I am loved. I am smart. I am successful. I achieve all my goals. I am financially successful and all my needs are met.” I could write many, many more affirmations you could use but a quick Google search will yield numerous blogs and articles with daily affirmations you can use. Feel free to pick and choose the affirmations you’re most comfortable with using.
Keep your affirmations to yourself. Quietly repeat them in the morning, sometime during the day and at night before you go to bed. Visualize your success. Believe it and watch your new year transform for the better.
13.) Make a new friend
Alone time is very important indeed, but Like I said earlier in this blog post, nobody is an island. Nobody. Occasional companionship and social interaction is both mentally and emotionally healthy. If you don’t already have a few friends, you should look to make some where and when they can. If you are the solitary type, I would suggest going to that after work dinner or an art & wine festival or wherever there are people especially if it’s for a cause or activity that you’re interested in. Don’t force a conversation with someone if it really doesn’t feel natural but don’t shy away from one if some wants to chat.
I know it can be tough if you’re not naturally a sociable person but the benefits of a new friendship can not be understated here. Being socially isolated and disconnected from social interaction can be mentally and emotionally destructive, so much so that people are like this are more likely to commit suicide.
Anyhow, make the new year about a new friend or two. You will gain new confidence in interacting with people. You will improve your self-esteem and improve your general mental health.
14.) Commit to learning & study
To get ahead and stay ahead you need to be always learning when you can. There is a huge wealth of knowledge out there in your local library or bookstore. But not only that, there are many online sources of learning you many not of considered such as YouTube. Some people might mistakenly think that YouTube is just stupid cat videos and what-not but they’d be surprised to learn that there are many, many informative and educational videos on almost any subject matter you can think of. There are other online resources such as Skillshare.com, Billant.org or CuriosityStream that offer online courses you might consider taking.
Imagine how much you can learn if you consistently devote a few hours a week to learning a new skill or learning about the world in general. Imagine how much more you will know by the by this same time next year. You can be learning a new hobby. You could be learning a new skill to give you an advantage and value at work or you could be learning the necessary skillsets to start your own business. The possibilities are endless.
15.) Start a new hobby
Speaking of learning, the coming year could be spent by learning a new hobby to fill your free time with something productive to do and may provide opportunities to meet new people as I spoke about in #13 earlier. Learning a new hobby can give you a new sense of accomplishment. Some hobbies, such as wood working or gardening can really give you a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction because you when finished you will have something tangible you can look at and others can enjoy. Lastly, learning a new hobby might even earn you some money, so think about that.
So learn how to sew or woodwork or fix cars or write that novel or whatever. It can lead to a lifetime of rewarding accomplishment and time well spent.
16.) Get your house in order – clean, de-clutter and organize
The start of the year is a good a time to clean out your closet, the garage and anywhere else that needs clean up. Don’t be a packrat, or hoarder, and throw out all the junk you keep hanging on to. Throw out those old boxes and packaging from stuff you’ve bought. You can donate old clothes, shoes and kids toys or have a garage sale for that and the rest of your unwanted stuff. Believe it or not, you’ll most likely do fine with less. Like they say, less is more.
An organized workspace and home equals an orderly mind and life. You don’t want people coming by your office or home and seeing your filth. Clean up your work and home space. Get it clean, get it organized, make it shine and keep it that way. People will tend to naturally think you got your act together.
17.) Get started on your dreams & goals
You do you! January 1st should be the start of your dedication to working your goals and dreams. Life puts demands on you that’s good for everybody but usually not you. You might work hard at a job, working for someone else, making the boss look successful and the company rich. You get home and you’re too tired or you have other demands put upon you by a spouse or significant other and/or kids. When do you have the time to work on that hobby or project you want get started or completed? And the answer is you don’t if you don’t force yourself to make time for it.
My blog post, 13 Tips to Achieve Your Goals and Life Success, can give you tips for accomplishing your goals but if that’s not enough, there plenty of great books out there about time management and goal setting that kick your butt to get you going. Remember, you can’t make everyone happy. It’s important to not only do what’s good for others but yourself. The truth is, most people, if not all people, don’t give two f*cks about what’s best for fulfilling your goals and aspirations. If you don’t strive to get started on your goals and aspirations, then when? Why not you get going when the new year starts, or hell, why not now!
18.) Avoid the negative, toxic people in your life
Cut out the negative, toxic, soul sucking people in your life if you can so get ahead and gain your sanity back. These people can be so called friends, co-workers, family or maybe even a wife or husband! Especially if you already have self-esteem issues and major insecurities, being around people like this can be psychologically and emotionally devastating if it goes on long term.
I realize that’s it’s not so easy to cut ties with some people, such as a wife or husband (since you will need a divorce and getting divorce has its own issues) but when the time is right, get another job to get away from that demanding, demeaning boss and don’t return the phone call of those fake friends who don’t support you and want you to go out with them.
You don’t need the haters criticizing and laughing at you. You don’t need these people telling you everything you are trying to do won’t work. And you especially don’t need anyone who not only doesn’t support you, but actively tries to hinder your progress while pretending to help you. With the arrival of January, start looking to cut these parasites out of your life or at least minimize your exposure to them.
19.) Stop making excuses
Part of your journey to spiritual growth is cut the bullsh*t and be honest with others and especially yourself. Part of being honest with yourself and others is to stop making excuses. When you make excuses, you are giving yourself a pass on your own failures instead of owning up to it as a man or woman and striving to be better next time. Not to mention that when you make excuses to others, especially when you really made a bad mistake, you lose respect and credibility in their minds. Do this too often and those people will really devalue their relationship with you and will question your truthfulness when you tell them things. Nobody likes a phony.
We’ve all been guilty of making of making an excuse at one time or another but the new year doesn’t have to be about that moving forward. Throw out the lame excuses with the start of the new year and watch your life turn around for the better.
Part of your new year’s To Do list should include de-stressing, which is why you may want to consider meditation. Meditation is an ancient practice that is frequently overlooked by many as a means to reduce stress, but meditation doesn’t stop there. There are numerous, positive mental health effects meditation has on the mind like decreased anxiety, improved concentration, improved memory, better creativity and overall happiness. Meditation also has a number of health benefits for the body such as lower blood pressure, tension related pain, increased serotonin (which improves sleep) and strengthens the immune system.
I won’t go into how to meditate in this blog post other than to say that many meditation exercises involves silencing the mind through observation of thoughts and relaxation. Anyhow, if you’re interested there are a ton of books, videos and other blog posts that show you how to do it. After you start, it won’t be long before you start to notice the positive benefits on your life, so I highly recommend you get started.
21.) Give Thanks to one thing everyday
Even if you’re in the most dire of crappy situations, if you look hard enough I’m sure you have something to be thankful for. It’s like my mother told me one day, “no matter how bad things are, things can always be worse.” So be thankful for what you do have.
Each, and every day, when you think about your day there are things you can be thankful for. Like having food on the table, a roof over your head, your health, not getting in an accident on the way home, kids that care about you or a spouse or family member that calls to see how you’re doing. I can’t list all the reasons, but you can. A little gratitude goes a long way and it doesn’t hurt to start acknowledging it.
22.) LOVE More, Hate Less
Lastly, I want say that a good long term strategy for your life you need to consider is letting go of the hate. I know, it’s easier said than done, especially with regards people who have done you dirty, done terrible things to you but hating them still gives them a certain amount of power over you and will only continue to hold you back. If you’re keeping it bottled up inside it will only eat away at you. I would suggest talking with someone about it, no matter how painful it is so you can get it off your chest. You can also deal with the pain and hatred you have for people who hurt you by meditation. Be aware of the hatred you are keeping locked up inside and do whatever it is you need to do to get past it or at least come to terms with it.
And with the new year why not move forward with love and openness. As I talked about in #11 earlier, not only should tell your loved ones you love them but also show it. Show it by appreciating them, spending time with them, being sensitive to their needs, whatever works. I am not the best person at giving relationship advice but there are far better sources out there about that that you may want to look for.
If you’re not in a relationship, then love yourself. You have to love yourself before anyone else can love you. And in the meantime you can love your dog or cat, your job or spending time outdoors or what-not so long as you have love in your heart. It’s hard to be positive about life or anything if you don’t first have love.
And that it! Follow all or follow none of my new year’s advice. It’s your choice. Feel free to comment and share this post. What would you add to this list? What would you take away? Let me know.
I sincerely wish you all a great year and many more to come!