The best part about the New Year is that it’s a clean slate. There’s a sense of comfort in leaving the past behind, feeling encouraged to let bad habits end with 2016, and becoming motivated to make positive changes in 2017.
The reason why New Year’s resolutions can actually work, is because there’s something about a fresh start that not only drives us to be better, but reminds us that it’s possible to wipe our slate clean and change our ways.
The mentality behind “a New Year equals a fresh start” is incredibly powerful and motivating. There’s a reason why January is the busiest month of the year at your local gym. People are more likely to take action and put in effort towards achieving their goals when something external has represented a new beginning.
The best thing you can do is make specific New Year’s resolutions, rather than just make a mental note that you’d like to “exercise more often” or “spend more time with the family”. Here are 10 New Year’s Resolutions that will guarantee your best year yet in 2017:
1. Put your phone down during life’s important moments
Millennials are missing out on what’s all around them due to a decision to observe life through a small screen. How can you fully enjoy a special occasion if you’re on your phone documenting it via Snapchat and Instagram the entire time? Justin Wells of Westwind Recovery points out that social media addiction is a serious problem:
“Rather than taking in a special moment, millennials feel compelled to continually document almost every aspect of their lives, which significantly minimizes the enjoyment of any particular momentous occasion.”
If you learn to put down the phone during memorable moments, you’ll take in and enjoy what’s happening so much more. When you’re on vacation at a stunning mountain resort, take it all in and keep the phone in your hotel room for a few hours while you go out exploring with just your eyes. When you’re out with friends, enjoy their company by putting the phone down. In general, your best year yet will be 2017 if you can break your addiction to your smartphone.
2. Pursue your passion
One of the most important goals to have is to work towards a career that involves you using your gift and pursuing your passion. A great goal to have for 2017 that will help you work towards your dream job is to start a passion project. A passion project can help you stay focused on your passion, practice your skills and use your gift in order to keep you on track and to keep you motivated.
3. Get your finances in order
Getting your money in order can lead to financial freedom, which is integral to a happy and healthy life. You must be specific with your financial goals, though. Rather than telling yourself you want to “save more money” in 2017, you must instead lay out specific expensive habits that you want to cut down on, and have a goal in mind as to how much of each paycheck you want to put into a savings account.
Getting your finances in order also means paying your bills on time, managing your credit card balances, and caring about your credit. In a recent Capital One credit confidence study, over 70 percent of the 2,300 respondents maintained a belief that having good credit is the gateway to the “American Dream”.
If you want to improve your credit, and you’re dedicated to this New Year’s Resolution, then pay all of your bills on time. That means settling your phone bill, electricity, cable, car payments and other bills before their due date. Late payments could show up as negative activity on your credit profile, and too many delinquencies could significantly lower your credit score.
4. Find someone to be accountable to at the gym
Every year, millions of people have “get fit” or “lose weight” at the top of their New Year’s resolutions list. What you need in order to achieve this resolution, though, is a specific plan that will actually work. You need external accountability. You need someone to answer to, someone who keeps track of you and someone who motivates you.
A personal trainer, for example, is someone you will be accountable to. This is someone you won’t cancel on. When I have a training session booked at Steve Nash, I know that it’s not something I can duck out of it – even if I don’t feel like going. I’m accountable to my trainer. Unlike a group fitness class, when you book a one-on-one session with your trainer, you can’t exactly get away with pulling a no-show. If you have one specific weight loss resolution for 2017, it should be to
5. Meal prep and watch your alcohol and drug intake
If weight loss is one of your New Year’s resolutions, exercise alone won’t cut it, but don’t start some silly diet in 2017. Instead, meal prep. It’s the best way to ensure you won’t eat crap. The reason we eat unhealthy fast food is because we suddenly realize we’re starving and we have nothing prepared. Meal prep changes all that, and it’s a great habit to get into come 2017.
If you want to watch your weight, though, you’ll have to watch your alcohol intake too. And monitoring your alcohol consumption is a great New Year’s resolution in general – not just for the sake of saving calories. Just as smoking Marijuana has some health benefits, some might argue that a glass of red wine has health benefits also. Sure it does, but all in moderation. A glass of red wine every now and then won’t hurt you, and neither will the odd joint. Binge drinking and all day stoner sessions, though, will. As long as you’re mindful of what foods and substances you’re putting into your body, you’re on the right path.
6. Plan one solo trip each year
Even if it’s just a weekend away to a nearby ski lodge, solo trips are fundamental to personal growth. You need time away, by yourself, on your mountaintop to re-charge, get creative and get inspired. If you can, plan an extended trip somewhere by yourself in 2017, and use that valuable time to focus on your wants and needs.
7. Get out of your comfort zone and take advantage of opportunities
Be more social, learn new skills, attend meet-ups and stop hiding out at home. Many of us feel that we’re safer when nobody can see us and that’s why we stay in so much. However, getting out of the house (and therefore getting out of your comfort zone) more often will truly pay off. Opportunities can get you everywhere, but they won’t fall into your lap. You’ll have to get outside, meet new people and experience more of life in order to run into beneficial, life-altering opportunities.
8. Be less of a couch potato
Prolonged sedentary periods are bad for your well-being and bad for your health. In 2017, try to watch less TV and be more active instead. Instead of pressing that “continue watching” button on Netflix, go to the gym instead. Find excuses to be active whenever you can. If a friend invites you out for dinner to catch up, suggest going for a walk together and catching up that way instead. You’ll feel better at the end of each and every day if you were active that day.
In fact, get off the couch and make a point of getting outside every evening – at least for half an hour. You should commit to spending time in nature every single day, because studies have proven that spending time in nature is linked to happiness, higher self-esteem, and a reduction in depression and anxiety. It’s important to spend time away from TV screens and laptop screens, because too much screen-time is incredibly bad for your well-being.
9. Tidy up and revamp your home
The New York Times Bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing is a brilliant book that explains why tidying up and redecorating inspires a healthier overall mindset. It can even cure anxiety problems and help us feel more relaxed, as though a weight has been lifted. If you take the time to read that book, tidy up your space, and get more organized, the positive effects of this won’t go unnoticed.
10. Practice gratitude and positivity
There’s a famous quote by Maltbie D. Babcock that sums it up wonderfully: “Better to lose count while naming your blessings than lose your blessings counting your troubles.” So instead of focusing on what you don’t have, focus your energy on gratitude towards what you do have. You’ll make yourself miserable comparing yourself to others or focusing on the negative all the time. Just as easy as it is for you to complain about what’s going wrong, it’s equally easy to celebrate what’s going right. The choice is yours, and the positive mindset instead of the negative one will guarantee your best year ever. As soon as you learn how to be more grateful, your whole life could change – not just your year.