The start of a new year is exciting and inspiring. Now is your chance to start fresh, tackle your goals, and make things happen! Does anyone else feel a little anxiety coming on? That’s sort of a lot of pressure. Starting today I am going to be this new healthy, fit, ambitious, confident, ridiculously happy version of myself! Although it’s a nice thought, it’s a bit unrealistic. We are not going to completely transform ourselves come the beginning of the year. But what we can (and should) do is to work, work, work, every single day, at becoming just a little bit better version of the person we already are. We don’t need to make any drastic changes. We don’t need to completely transform the person we are. We just need to take baby steps forward, moving in the direction of being just a little bit better.
Here are some ideas I’d like to share that are small, totally manageable ways to become a better version of yourself in 2016.
Call your parents more often.
Don’t let yourself keep making excuses for not keeping in touch with the people who are important to you. Make it a priority to call your mom and dad, your siblings, your grandparents, and your old friends. Take responsibility for the fact that there are people in this world that love you and it means the world to them when you take the time out of your schedule to call.
Don’t be frugal about gifts or treating loved ones. Buy dinner for your significant other. Buy a book for your mom that you know she’d love even though there’s no occasion. Treat the person in line after you at the coffee shop to a drink. Tip fairly and generously.
Don’t we all want to be that person who throws a surprise birthday party for your best friend, always remembers to send birthday cards to your grandparents, and bakes your mom her favorite birthday cake? When really we are the idiot who is scrolling on Facebook and realizes we missed our friend’s birthday. Remedy this by simply taking a little time to put important birthdays into your phone with notifications to remind you when they are coming up. Honestly it’s so simple, none of us should have the excuse of forgetting a birthday! When they come up, send a card, pick up the phone and call, or at the very least send a friendly text. So little effort on your part, but means so much to the person.
Pursue a hobby you’ve always wanted to try.
Become more well-rounded, meet new people, and expand your horizons by trying something new that you’ve always had an inkling to do. Pick up that guitar. Finally get certified as a yoga instructor. Start writing a book. Learn a new language. Teach yourself how to cook. Learn photography. Grow a garden. Don’t you feel inspired already?
Cook wholesome meals.
You’ve probably been meaning to eat healthier for a while now right? And been meaning to stop spending so much money on takeout? Now is the time to make it a priority to prepare healthy, delicious meals at home. Don’t let cooking intimidate you. Keep it simple, use whole foods and spices, and relax into it with a little music, a little wine, and perhaps a loved one to keep you company.
Exercise because it is good for your health.
Seriously, stop exercising for any reason but this. Don’t beat yourself up about not getting in a grueling workout every single day, or for not fitting into your old jeans. Fit in exercise because it feels good and it strengthens your bones and it increases your heart health. But do it in a way that is actually healthy and beneficial to you. If you’ve had a long day or a long week at work and your freaking exhausted, don’t force yourself to go to the gym. Go home and take a bubble bath. Have a glass of wine and kick up your feet. Read a book or watch a movie. Really, it’s okay. In my opinion, sometimes those things are even healthier than sweating it out at the gym.
Practice quiet confidence.
Don’t be so timid and quiet that you never speak up, but also refrain from being a know-it-all and having to put your two cents in all the time. Wait until the moment comes in which you feel like you actually have something important and constructive to say, and then say it with confidence. Be sure of yourself, your opinions, and your decisions without requiring any outside approval.
Tell people what you’re feeling.
Tell them you love them. Tell them you miss them. Tell them it makes you very angry when they leave their dirty underwear on your clean bedroom floor. Don’t tell them you’re fine when you’re not. Be a good person and tell people the truth about what you’re feeling because that’s the fair thing to do.
Travel somewhere new.
You don’t have to know exactly where this will be yet, but just be open to the opportunities that come up this year and say yes when someone asks you to go somewhere you’ve never been. If that opportunity doesn’t present itself, then pack your bags and make it happen yourself.
Put your phone away more often.
Being present in your life is the only way to feel truly fulfilled and happy. Stop the mindless scrolling, stop the comparison games, stop the social media facade, stop constantly worrying about being available all the time. Be present with the people that matter.
Say thank you.
Say thank you to your barista for making your coffee. Say thank you to your parents for treating you to dinner. Say thank you to your significant other for tidying up the house while you were gone. Say thank you to something bigger every day for all of the wonderful things you have in your life. Say thank you for your health and your family and your safety and for hot coffee and for little things that make you laugh.
I hope you feel inspired, and not stressed, about the start of the new year. You don’t have to completely transform your life or yourself, but can instead work on small things that will improve your own life and the lives of the people you encounter. Happy new year and I wish you a year of simple pleasures and new adventures!
Image Credit: Urban Outfitters