Alumni Advice: Healthy New Year’s Resolutions
The New Year marks a time for new hopes and dreams of coming adventures…and of course, new promises to ourselves we may not keep. This New Year, let your resolutions be about personal growth and development—make them about self-love instead of self-loathing. Here are seven healthy New Year’s resolutions ideas to get you started:
- Reconnect with old friends. Not any old unhealthy friends! But it can feel really good to reconnect with friends with whom you’ve simply lost touch over the years. Sometimes it can be scary to get in touch, but your friends will appreciate you reached out! Schedule time for coffee or lunch and catch up.
- Read those books you’ve been meaning to get to. But don’t beat yourself up over not getting to them yet—life is busy, and finding the time to sit down and read a good book is hard! Even picking out just one book you really want to read this year is a good place to start. It doesn’t have to be a super deep, metaphorical, or education book to bring you any kind of “growth” either. Taking the time to read a funny or fantastical book is just as important and can help you take care of yourself just as well.
- Try a new hobby. Any new hobby! This resolution is best made with friends. :) Try a knitting class, open rock climbing night, or cooking from YouTube tutorials. Trying new things is a great way to meet people, find new passions, and grow as an individual.
- Start journaling. I know this one is hard (I’ve been trying to do it for years). However, journaling can teach us a lot about ourselves and our patterns of thinking. It can help you track what kinds of things make you feel certain emotions and what helps you to feel better. It’s also just a nice, private place to express yourself and debrief after every day.
- Practice mindfulness. This doesn’t have to mean taking a meditation class or subscribing to a mindfulness app. Put your phone away when you’re walking from class to class—what do you see, hear, and feel around you? Take a moment when you’re eating lunch—how does the food actually taste? Remember to disconnect from your thoughts and pay attention to your breath and the world moving around you every once in a while. And if you do want to try an app, there are many great free options, including several that combine meditation with journaling like Pacifica.
- Dedicate at least one night a week to yourself. Try to schedule your life so that at least one night a week you are free from homework, chores, and other obligations. Take a bath. Read that book you thought of for #2. Stream a show in bed. Relax—getting into the habit of taking care of yourself even when it seems like the entire world is demanding your attention is an important life skill and integral to learning how to take care of yourself.
- Start replacing “I’m sorry” with “thank you.” How many times do you apologize every day? If you Google this idea, lots of articles will pop up suggesting it, so you may have heard of it. It’s easy to get caught in a pattern of apologizing for things that aren’t really your fault or that don’t require an apology. It fosters an attitude where we begin to blame ourselves for everything, and that’s super unhealthy. Instead of “sorry I’m late,” try “thank you for waiting for me.” Or, instead of “sorry I couldn’t make it last night,” try “thank you for being so understanding.” Instead of indulging guilt or shame, this creates positive, gratitude-based interactions with other people. Here is a collection of cartoons illustrating the difference between “sorry” and “thank you.”
Happy New Year!