You Still Have Time to Keep These 10 Resolutions You Made This Year
You might be thinking you've lost hope on achieving certain personal and professional goals you made last New Year's, but as experts explain, these last months can pack in countless opportunities.
Set boundaries with friends and family members
As much as you nickname your mom or your sister your best friend, there are certain instances when boundaries could improve your relationships. As life coach Kali Rogers explains, when you’re so intertwined with certain people whom you love, but whom can be demanding, you inadvertently give them more of your attention and energy than you intend. Since Halloween kicks off a spree of holidays, the final quarter of the year is an opportune time to be clear about the space you might need to maintain your own personal sanity. “Think about anyone in your life who triggers feelings of guilt, anxiety, frustration, or anger in you. Think about how you’d like for the holiday season to unravel with them being key players. And muster up the courage to set appropriate boundaries,” she recommends. Not sure how to phrase it? Rogers says a few examples of appropriate approaches may be, “I thank you for the invitation, but I will not be traveling across the country with my three young children this year for Thanksgiving,” or “We are not having a large gathering at our house for Christmas this year, but I will see you whenever we get back from break.” Still having trouble? Here’s how to say “no” without worrying everyone will hate you.
Become a better communicator
Whether you find yourself in unnecessary tiffs with colleagues or always feel the need to apologize to friends or to your partner, improving your communication skills to be more direct and effective will benefit your overall social interactions for years to come. To begin, Yvonne Thomas, Ph.D., suggests starting with a minor modification to the way you approach sentences. Instead of starting with “you,” use “I” instead. “This sounds more pleasant to listen to and is less likely to cause defensiveness in the recipient of the message,” she says. Another tactic is to decrease ambiguity and vagueness in your conversations, by giving specific details that are important, without being accusatory or martyr-like. As an example, Thomas says, if you need someone’s help, you might say, “I wanted to pick up all the party favors at our local party store. However, I don’t really have time to get these or I will be very late for the party. Can you please get me about ten of the blue ones and about ten of the pink ones as soon as possible?” This leaves out any chance of confusion and clearly states what you need. Here are some tips on how to become a stronger listener.
Drink more water
Not only does the crisp chill of the winter air propose a threat to your overall hydration, but between indoor heating systems and all of the holiday parties, you might be needing more water than your body craved at others points in the year. Rachel Daniels, MS, RD, senior director of nutrition for Virtual Health Partners, suggests the simple task of more H20 as a goal that extends far beyond December 31. To ensure you don’t fall off the bandwagon, she recommends flipping that old familiar motto around to “in sight, in mind.” “Keep a water bottle on you at all times in your bag or in your car. Make sure to keep water in your line of vision at home, work or school. Invest in an easy-to-clean reusable water bottle that you can refill at the sink or water cooler. This will save you some cash and reduce waste produced by plastic water bottles,” she explains. If you relate to these signs, you might be dehydrated.
As trendy as those Instagram photos may look meditation, with watercolor-sunsets cascading in the distance from someone’s pristine white rooftop, the actual practice of zen-ing out might have fallen off of your radar. No biggie though, according to Bethany Lyons, CEO and founder of Lyons Den Power Yoga. “This practice requires no planning or extra skills, you can simply sit for five minutes a day to shift your entire day and perspective,” she says. This much-needed and less-utilized habit can be put into action thanks to a physical reminder, like a sticker chart, you hang in a prominent place in your home. Maybe it could be before you brush your teeth every night, or the first few minutes when you wake up. Whenever works for your schedule, make it a routine that’s consistent so it’s smoother to maintain. Or try these simple ways to sneak mindfulness into your day.
Work out three times a week
Stay consistent with exercise is one of the most difficult feats, no matter your age. Not only is carving out time a task in itself, but discovering a type of workout that you actually enjoy and will look forward to is a tall order, too. But as head coach at Tone House in New York City, Courtney Levering explains, you can use Q4 as your prep for the New Year (and your inevitable get-healthier resolutions) by prioritizing fitness instead of dropping weight. “We all know the last three months of the year are full of projects, deadlines, and holiday parties, so don’t burden yourself with a specific weight loss goal. Instead, concentrate on how your body feels by relieving stress and increasing your energy throughout the day with exercise,” she explains. “Prioritize your workout in the morning so that you’re less likely to cancel if a project pops up and the day gets away from you.” And try these genius tricks for getting motivated to hit the gym.
Figure out why you’re feeling stuck
Perhaps you don’t feel quintessentially depressed, but something in your life has you feeling less stellar and more lackluster. Lyons notes many people who are aching for a shift in perspective complain they’re feeling “stuck,” when really, they should spend less time squandering and more time researching. With careful internal dialogue, you can uncover what’s causing you trepidation. Lyon suggests carving out five minutes every day if you can, or at the least, Wednesday nights and Sunday morning to answer these questions: 1. Where in my life am I feeling stuck? 2. What is my current perspective on the situation/circumstance/relationship? And 3. What could I shift my perspective to be? As Lyons says, this practice “puts us in the driver’s seat of creating our lives instead of being at the whim of them and in reaction mode all the time.”
Get more sleep
Confession time: How many evenings have you drifted to sleep an hour later because you couldn’t resist watching one more Netflix episode? Nearly everyone gets addicted to some task—whether it’s binge viewing, scrolling through Instagram, or texting with a pal—that keeps them awake when they should be counting sheep. However, Levering reminds how essential sleep is to our overall vitality, encouraging the goal of more sleep in the last three months. “Your body needs sleep to recover and build muscle! You’re breaking down muscle as you exercise and rebuilding those muscles during rest times,” she says. Aim for at least seven to eight hours of sleep, with one hour of rest before you finally turn off the lights—above your head and on your phone. Here are more secrets to getting a good night’s rest from sleep doctors.
Eat more vegetables
As much as you promise yourself that you will only take one holiday cookie at the company gathering, only have one glass of wine for your gift exchange with friends or how many mantras you repeat to keep yourself from getting a second serving of Thanksgiving dinner, the last three months of the year are a tricky time to eat nutrient-rich foods. Instead of stressing yourself out over the calorie details of your meals, Daniels says to give yourself an easy-peasy goal you can actually commit to: eat more vegetables. Or, specifically, make sure you get at least three servings of vegetables each day. You can correlate these servings with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or use them as opportunities to get creative with your snacking habits. Daniels also suggests buying pre-cut and frozen vegetables as a way to ensure you always have a healthy find from the Earth on hand. “As an added plus, fall and winter veggies like squash, Brussels sprouts, and kale are packed with nutrients that will help keep you strong and healthy throughout the colder months,” she adds. And try these tricks for eating more veggies without even trying.
Become more self-aware
Knowing—and owning—your strengths and weaknesses is the first step toward a mature sense of self. But if you’re not sure how to approach the parts of yourself that need work or how to celebrate the qualities that make you unique, Dr. Thomas says you may struggle with making decisions or standing up for what you need. To build self-awareness heading into the clean slate of January 1, Dr. Thomas recommends asking yourself two essential questions daily: “What am I feeling now?” and “Why am I feeling this?” “If you go blank and can’t identify a feeling, ask yourself an array of feelings and see which one or ones you are currently having. By even getting an approximate answer, you are coming closer to understanding you and how you operate that much more, such as what can trigger you, what matters to you or not, and what would seem like more of a solid, healthy decision for you to make as is necessary each day,” she explains.
Release your greatest fear
Do you fret over finances, constantly convincing yourself your one month away from being broke? Or do you battle self-loathing, putting yourself down time-and-time again? Or, perhaps you doubt you’ll meet a person to marry and build a family. Whatever it is that tugs at your heart, your mind, and your stomach, Dr. Thomas says it’s time to let it go. Because fear can have major mental and physical impacts on your life and happiness, learning how to digest, accept, and release your deepest insecurities is essential. “Break down your fear into manageable chunks in which you start with a step to do that will be as foolproof as possible,” she says. An example might be learning a new language, where often the very first step is the hardest one. Before you sign up for a six-week course that will feel instantly overwhelming, Dr. Thomas says to start with a book. “Once you feel more comfortable being exposed to the book of new language, you can then start with saying and writing down the simplest of words. After you are feeling more at ease with these words, learn a few more words at a time,” she explains. “Then, if you feel you want to and are comfortable enough, you might enroll and attend a class that teaches this new language.” By facing and solving the fear step-by-step, you will build confidence that will ensure you’re motivated to keep going until that anxiety is a moot point. Check out these additional strategies what will help you get rid of anxiety for good.