After a good two months of too much food, fun, and stress, January provides us the perfect opportunity to start anew — and, of course, reflect on all the great things we’ve accomplished over the previous year. But before you get too focused on your resolutions for the upcoming year (or the ones you didn’t get to over the past 12 months), we’d like to offer up a few suggestions that may help you kick off 2016 right.
- Write down your goals. Though it may sound like an unnecessary step in goal setting, people who write down their goals are more likely to accomplish them than those who don’t. Take the time to really explore what you want to achieve over the next year, then try to make these goals measurable with timeframes and benchmarks — and don’t forget to post them in a place where you can look at them regularly. They should serve as a constant reminder of what you hope to achieve before 2017.
- Prioritize your goals. We all start the new year with high hopes and good intentions, but day-to-day life can easily get in the way of our plans for the upcoming week, let alone the next 12 months. That’s why it’s important to prioritize your goals. Start by choosing the three goals you find most important, and commit to focusing on those over the next year. Once you’ve made headway on them, do the same for the next three goals.
- Make time for family. While you’re scheduling time for yourself, consider doing the same for time with the family. Maybe it’s a weekly game night or a standing few hours to do something entirely new, like going to a museum, an exhibit, or a seasonal fair. Block out time with your family (or friends, for that matter) to make sure you’re getting that balance between work and life.
- Make time for fitness. By now, you’re probably thinking your calendar is pretty well booked — what with work, family, friends, and making time to achieve all those goals. But there’s always a little room for fitness. Begin small by committing to at least one day of exercise, like taking a weekly class. Then, add another day and another one after that. Pretty soon, it’ll just become part of your weekly routine, and you’ll actually start to look forward to this stress reliever and energy booster.
- Commit to getting organized. Clutter can add to your stress. It also has a knack for affecting productivity. For this new year, make a commitment to yourself to get (and stay) organized. Take a few minutes at the end and start of the day to organize your desk, files, and calendar. Consider doing the same for your inbox, texts, and voicemail. This will relieve tension and keep you focused throughout the day.
- Plan for transitions. After a long day at work, the first inclination is to rush right out the door. Resist that urge, and make sure to transition into the next part of the day by winding down at work. Decompressing before heading home can do wonders for boosting energy levels and lifting spirits well into the evening, so catch up with a colleague, take a quick look at Facebook, or check out the best sketch from last weekend’s SNL, and then pack up for home.
- Make good use of your commute. Even the shortest of commutes can add to your stress level. That’s why it’s so important to channel your energy into something positive during this time. What you focus on is entirely up to you, but make sure it’s in relation to you. Consider tuning into your favorite song. Catch up on a podcast or two. You may even want to learn a new language. Just make sure it’s something you want to do.
- Look at your expenses. Along with all the goal setting and making time for family, fitness, and food, set aside a few hours at the start of the year to look at your financial habits. Ask yourself if these habits are getting you closer to your financial goals. Commit to a plan to build wealth over the next year.
- Make time for food. With everything that’s likely going on in the month of January, it’s essential to make time for food — and we’re talking healthy, wholesome food, of course. Leave enough time in the morning for a small breakfast to get that metabolism going, and make sure to pack a lunch (and a snack or two) that will promote good health. Then, finish the day with a sensible dinner. Proper fuel will keep the body and the mind energized.
Looking for a healthy snack? Try this recipe for No Bake Brownies.
1 1/2 cup walnuts
10-12 soft dates, if not soft soak in boiling water for ten minutes
1/3 cup cocoa powder
Process nuts until fine; add pitted dates and cocoa powder. Press firmly into a 5x 9 bread pan lined with parchment paper.
1/4 cup coconut oil melted
1/2 cup raw cacao or cocoa powder
2T maple syrup
Stir until thick, frost, and chill. Enjoy!
Each one of us starts the new year wanting it to be better than the last, but as the year goes on the excitement starts to fizzle. The one thing that you can always do for yourself is to make sure you’re realistic about what you can accomplish and choose resolutions that fit with your lifestyle.