Are you a human? If so, you’ve likely been floating through the holiday haze, and now it’s 2018 and you have no tangible goals for the new year. Say what you will about New Year’s Resolutions, but thinking of a new year as a fresh start is a powerful mind hack for creating the kind of change you’d like to see in your life.
Here are 16 legit resolutions that will actually make 2018 kick ass. Choose some or all, but make sure you have a plan that breaks each one into baby steps or smaller milestones, is realistic, and that you are excited to follow through on – no matter what.
1. Start a gratitude practice. This one is a choose your own adventure of resolutions: Write, record, or think of 1-5 things you are grateful for, either in the morning or evening. You pick the details, but commit to doing this for at least a month. Be consistent and watch your life transform like magic.
2. Make a joy jar. Write down every joyful moment throughout 2018 and put it into a big jar (which doubles as a cute Anthro-esque decor piece all year). On NYE, you get to read each one and reflect on an amazing year.
3. Respond to emails when you read them. You know how you open the email, read it, groan, and promise yourself to come back later to respond? And then you never do? You can end this by either staying out of your emails if you aren’t ready to respond fully to each one you read OR doing a quick, “thanks for the email, I wanted to let you know I saw this and will respond by Tuesday.” This is next level #adulting.
4. Tell the truth. When you have plans with a friend and decide last minute you want to bail, stop telling your friend that you’re not feeling well. Tell your friend you hate to cancel on them but you’re totally overwhelmed right now and need a night in – or whatever else is true. Telling the truth in small situations instead of turning to “white lies” actually builds your confidence!
5. Be a good friend. Face it – you aren’t too busy, you just don’t make it a priority. Those important friends who would come rescue you out of a ditch in the middle of the night are priceless, and deserve your time and attention. Tell them how important they are, and set up regular plans with them. When they mention an important date like surgery or a job interview, don’t leave it to chance, add an alert in your phone to remind you on the day so you can check in with them.
6. Find exercise you love. I swear this is the only remotely weight-loss-y resolution on the list, and it’s more for your mental health than physical. Find a way to move your body that you love doing. You won’t feel like doing it every time, but it definitely ups the chances of you showing up if you love doing it.
7. Try something that scares you. Do this once in a year, or every month. It doesn’t matter if it’s skydiving, traveling alone, or making a cheesecake for the first time. Getting into the practice of challenging your fears and taking action anyway will give you a huge boost in courage and confidence.
8. Adopt a skincare regimen. If you’re currently doing the bare minimum or not even washing your face before bed – it’s time to step up your game. Put down the baby wipes and upgrade your routine. Obviously you want a good cleanser and moisturizer, but why not add in a serum or acid (check out The Ordinary for affordable options), and you absolutely must add in sunscreen – not the wimpy SPF 15 in your moisturizer or the stuff you put on at the beach, but a legitimate level of SPF.
9. Read x books. You set the number here based on what is realistic for you. If you haven’t cracked a book since high school, maybe 1 book is reasonable. If you are a bookworm up for a challenge, maybe you should try for 50 or 100. Alternate between the genres and authors you love and new ones that you wouldn’t normally pick up.
10. Get involved. Volunteer for a cause you believe in. Join a board. Run for office. You want to make a difference in the world, and 2018 is the perfect opportunity to let your marching and FB posting evolve into something bigger.
11. Own your power. If that sentence made you feel weird, this might be the resolution for you. Take a self defense class, start weight lifting or boxing, join toastmasters, or all of the above. You are so much more powerful than you give yourself credit for, and when you finally discover that, you’ll be unstoppable!
12. Enlist help to make yourself better. If you really want to uplevel in life, bring in professional help. Want to conquer self doubt and build confidence? Get a life coach. Want to take your writing hobby to new heights? Get a writing coach. Want to transform your body? Get a personal trainer. You get the idea. The DIY method works, but if you want faster results, you need to bring in a pro.
13. Launch your side gig. You know that thing you’ve been talking about doing for awhile now to make some extra cash? Just do it! Side gigs are the new hobby, and just might be millennials only hope for financial stability and retirement, so why not start yours in 2018?
14. Seek out professional development opportunities. One of the best ways to improve your career is to become more valuable to your employer. Look for ways to add new skills and knowledge to your resume – and if you’re lucky, your company might help pay for it!
15. Start flossing. Obviously, this is the sexiest resolution of all. Ok.. so maybe not, and maybe there is also nothing cool about flossing. But it literally takes like a minute, and you can do it while you’re waiting on parts of your skincare routine to soak in, and it not only prevents cavities and bad breath, but it helps prevent more serious issues like heart disease. And imagine how good it would feel to honestly say “yes” when the dentist asks if you’ve been flossing.
16. The master resolution – this one is the secret to making all others work: Do it anyway. You can’t let your feelings drive the bus. Motivation fades away – it’s how human brains work! Don’t judge yourself for that, just know that you can choose to follow through without having motivation – and that skill is what separates successful people from unsuccessful people.