6  mins

Updated: 23 Jan, 2020

New Years Resolution Ideas to Initiate Change in Your Lives

New Year, New you- right? Every new year brings us the opportunity to engage in a list of resolutions that can help us better our lives.

New Year’s resolutions can be very helpful– they can set us on track for a new year and help us get to the next version of ourselves.

They can be inspiring, motivating, and encouraging to have a blank slate of 365 days to try something different. They can make us feel like we are “doing something” to initiate change- and that’s true!

However, new year’s resolutions can be unhelpful when we put too much emphasis on the “success” of the resolution.

Look at it like this- we are asking ourselves to automatically do something different than we have done in the last 365 days. Like- right away.

January 1st hits, and now we will better respond to emotional triggers, we will instantly change our eating habits and work out routines, or we will in the blink of an eye not be addicted to that screen time.

Such new year’s resolution ideas of immediate change are setting us up for failure and continued disappointment in ourselves!

But, what if the new year’s goal was just to try? What if it was to initiate a change- slowly over time- to have it become our new normal routine. Doesn’t that sound more achievable? So what’s your new year’s resolution?

10 new year’s resolution ideas

If you are wondering “what should my resolution be,” below are 10 ways we can engage in self-care activities in this new year– as little or as much as we want, slowly adding them to our daily, weekly, or monthly routine.

It can be difficult to think about self-care when we are thinking of how much we need to do for others.

Whether your role is that of a mother, father, daughter, son, loved one, partner, or spouse- thinking of ourselves first gets a negative reputation.

1. Say “no.”

It’s okay to say “no”- to that dinner, to a lunch meeting, to volunteering at your kid’s school when you have a packed week of presentations at work- its okay to say “no.”

We can get so wrapped up in wanting to be everything for everyone- that we end up exhausted.

Then what seemed like a choice becomes a chore. Give yourself permission to “just say no.”

You can also learn to delegate your work and authority as an alternative to saying yes.

2. Put your phone on “DND.”

Do not disturb- for 5 minutes, 10 minutes or hours at a time. The stress that comes with “always needing to be available” can be overwhelming. Give yourself some time to not answer that text, that phone call or that email.

The world will still go ’round. And you can start to lessen the urge to respond as quickly as possible.

3. Start a mindfulness practice

This could be as simple as identifying your 5 senses, “I see… I hear…I taste…I smell… I feel…” By just identifying one sense, we can bring ourselves back to the current moment and be mindful of our thoughts traveling to the past or future.

4. Start a meditation practice.

This could be an app that you spend 5 minutes a day doing- or simply taking 5 deep breaths to start and end your day. Meditation is allowing your brain the time to be present.

The purpose of this new year’s resolution isn’t to stop your thoughts– the purpose is to acknowledge when they stray from your intention and bring them back to the moment.

5. Start a gratitude practice.

Start a gratitude practice

This could be as easy as saying 3 things you are thankful for every morning or every evening. Starting or ending your day in gratitude. It’s difficult to be wrapped up in the fear or the future or the pain of the past when we are grateful in the moment.

6. Take 5.

In the car, before you go into work, in the morning after your alarm clock goes off, take five minutes to allow yourself time to use one of those mindful, meditative, or gratitude practices.

Set the alarm on your phone for it- or a reminder. Remember that we cannot just expect to make a habit out of something new instantly- it takes effort.

7. Hug more.

Alright- some of us aren’t “touchy-feely”- but I’m sure there is some person (or animal) in your life that you would be okay hugging. We as humans yearn for connection, for touch, and for comfort. Hold the hug just a second longer- and be present.

8. Tell them, “I need to think about it.”

Whoever “them” is (a boss, a spouse, a friend, a kid, a mother, or father) you have the right to take some time to think about an answer to questions. So much of the time, we put the pressure to answer or respond right now- on ourselves.

Give yourself permission to “think about it.” This may help impulsive answers become intentional ones instead.

9. Take a hike

Or a walk, or a stroll. Get outside for just a few minutes. The outside is full of uplifting things- flowers, sunshine, breezes… other people to smile at and say “hello” to…

It can allow us to feel more connected to the world around us- reminding us that we are part of something and connected to everything.

10. Allow yourself to “be” instead of “do.”

So much emphasis is put on the glorification of “busy.” What would it look like to be a human “being” instead of a human “doing”? Give yourself permission to just take up space- not having to do or fix or provide or change- just simply “be.”

Self-care isn’t selfish

(And if it is, then being selfish isn’t wrong- it’s necessary) Self-care is an important part of being human. While we do thrive on connection and relationship as human beings- we also thrive on finding the different versions of ourselves.

Whether you are married, in a relationship, happily single, or looking for love- making sure that you are taken care of first is the most important.

As the saying goes, “you cannot pour from an empty cup”- we cannot give or build or connect when we are depleted.

Make your new year’s resolutions about connecting with self before others- give yourself permission for you- to just be you- and allow yourself to love yourself through the process.

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Dr. Mae Casanova is a licensed clinical psychologist based out of San Diego, Ca. She considers herself a therapist, consultant, writer and growth coach.
She fosters a therapeutic environment that has both acceptance and challenge, and is meaning/value focused. Her approach is unique to each client, meeting them where they are emotionally, intellectually, and physically.
But above all- she wants you to know she is human- just like you. Perfectly flawed, doing her best to connect, thrive and grow.

More by Dr Mae Casanova

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