The Best New Year's Resolutions You Haven't Made Yet

by: Corrie Kerr
We’re sharing some new year’s resolutions that go beyond the typical, tired “lose weight” and “save money” mantras that people trot out each January. According to experts, goals must be realistic and unique to each person in order to be successful. Truthfully, while simple resolutions are best, it sometimes takes quite a bit of forethought to make sure you don’t give yourself unrealistic expectations. Here are some resolution suggestions along with advice from therapists about what works best.

Mission: Empower Yourself

Empower YourselfWrite down those things that are awesome about you. Keep a copy of this list in your wallet and possibly by your bedroom mirror--wherever you’re most likely to look at it. Stephanie Taylor, of the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, says, “The most helpful resolution that I've heard is to tell yourself, ‘I am enough’ every day for a year.” She says that repeating this phrase can lead to improved mental health and it’s likely to make people more resilient when facing challenges. Read some books by Brene Brown or Pema Chödrön for inspiration to self-empower.

Give Compliments or Time to Your Partner

Compliments to Your SpouseWait, aren’t we owed some kudos ourselves? Well, sure, but complaining is the easiest thing to do in the world. It’s easy to detail how you’ve been wronged by your husband or wife. Try doing a dreaded chore that your partner always does or give them your undivided attention during breakfast one morning and you’ll likely see the resentment you have for one another chip away. “While we might like to change the personalities or behaviors of other family members, the fact is that you can’t control someone else, but you have total control over your actions and emotions,” says Dr. Carl J. Sheperis, University of Phoenix Dean and vice chair of the Board of Directors for the National Board of Certified Counselors.

Indulge in Creative Pursuits

beading on craft night - new year's resolutions 2018Julia Colangelo, a licensed clinical psychotherapist in New York, says that spending a monthly art night, craft night or activities night with loved ones are new habits that can add “something new to your routine that soothes you.” Colangelo says that these types of resolutions can be “a gift instead of a restriction,” which will benefit you mentally and likely cause you to keep up with these commitments. Admit it, you would look forward to setting aside time to “play.” People who don’t do crafts might be interested in board game nights or food tasting nights. Committing to create and get together once a month is very doable.

Cull Your Subscriptions

Reduce your subscription boxes - new year's resolutions 2018While the Parks & Recreation-inspired encouragement to “treat yo self” might ring in your ears from time to time and be worth listening to, do you really need overpriced doodads sent to your mailbox every month? Take the intel you’ve gotten from the dozens of sample-sized skincare creams and dog bone packets that have been sent to you and buy full-sized versions of the products you love the best. Cancel most, if not all, of your subscriptions and your wallet will thank you. This advice applies to magazine subscriptions as well. Be honest with yourself if you’re not taking time to do more than skim every other issue that arrives at your doorstep.

Take Social Media Breaks

Take social media breaks - new year's resolutions 2018Just because you can get special ring tone notifications or text message notifications doesn’t mean you must have a Pavlovian response to each phone buzz. First of all, you could actually go into your phone’s settings and see which apps are set to notify you and cut that list way down. Then, you can set clear restrictions on using your mobile device. Colangelo offers the suggestion to put phones down from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. every night. It’s also likely not too challenging to stop scrolling through your feeds for the maximum 30 minutes you spend eating dinner. These are breaks, you don’t need to go AWOL for a month and ghost all your friends.

Declutter for Added Serenity

Declutter for added serenity - new year's resolutions 2018Okay, step away from the storage bin aisle. You really may not need everything you’re holding onto. Start with the easy stuff first: throw away clothes with rips and tears or outfits that don't fit. Organize and purge one closet in your home. If decluttering is a year-long goal, you can easily do your tidying in small sprints. Declutter realistically. Read Marie Kondo to get started.

Try a New Fitness Activity

Try a new fitness activity - new year's resolutions 2018While we’ve heard of barre, Zumba, boxing and yogalates, there will be a new exercise invention in 2018 that we could never have imagined. You don’t have to force yourself to get involved in a trendy activity--experiment with doing something you’ve never done before, say boxing, cross-country skiing, jump roping or racquetball. You can make your goal just to do the activity rather than to perform at a certain level or achieve certain physical results.

While it’s tempting to take others’ quick suggestions for what resolutions to adopt, Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist and author of The Self-Aware Parent, says it’s important to be honest and realistic with yourself, “The part of the mind that stores desires, wishes, wants, and needs that we are unaware of (without thought) always wins,” she says.

“That means that it doesn't matter what you think you want, the truth of your underlying wants and needs will always happen. So, you may think you want to lose weight when, in fact, what you really want is the cozy, warm, comfort of food. Take a painful, open look within and discover your own truth.”

Be kind to yourself and challenge yourself (realistically, of course) in 2018. Oh, and do keep reading Family Education. Your future self will thank you!