The Best New Year’s Resolution: Go Back to the Basics

We are moments away from ringing in 2018, and it will likely create the same goal oriented desires that virtually every New Year before it has: resolutions. Many of us feel the weight of holiday spending and overeating, and we look to the new year as means to correct what has left us feeling, in some cases, down-right guilt-ridden and burnt-out.

By far, the most common New Year’s Resolution, year after year, is to lose weight and get fit. The resolutions following closely behind are those oriented around finances and organization. Nothing wrong with that, right? But, according to Business Insider’s Kelsey Mulvaney, the other common trend is that 80 percent of individuals ditch their resolutions by mid-February.

This points back to the reality that if your mind isn’t committed and your heart’s not in it, then neither will your body or your budget or your calendar be. Not only that, but it’s important to make goals that are attainable and that actually represent what you and your family need.

Joseph Luciani outlines for U.S. News these important components for making resolutions that stick:

  1. Keep them small (and thus manageable).
  2. Build self-trust.
  3. Invent challenges.
  4. Cultivate optimism.
  5. Develop critical awareness.

All of these components are mostly about the mental and not the physical, because that’s what drives our success when we undertake any type of challenge. So if you’re looking out into the New Year and hoping for change that will come and will stick, stay with the basics and be amazed at their ability to reshape how life feels.

Manage stress.

Stress seems to be the plague that affects everyone; it’s virtually impossible to find another adult who isn’t suffering from its influence. And there’s good reason, we all deal with difficult situations that lie outside the realm of our control. Whether it be finances, health, or kids, it’s there. It’s likely that just reading this paragraph brought a specific situation to mind.

But even though it can seem common, it’s valuable to recognize how managing something as common as stress can completely change how 2018 feels and impacts you and your family.

Chronic, long-lasting stress can have serious effects on your health. According to a physician complied fact sheet by the American Psychological Association stress becomes dangerous when it interferes with your ability to live a normal life. They note that headaches, disease, depression, and cardiovascular issues are worsened by chronic stress.

If you’re struggling to cope with the stress in your life, consider reputable help like the tips provided by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America on how to manage stress. As Regis College points out, “About 40 million adults, or 18 percent of the population, have anxiety but only a fraction seek assistance, experts say. Anxiety is often diagnosed in association with one or more disorders, including depression and bipolar disorder.”

The difficulties of 2018 are unlikely to surprise you, but you may not expect how beneficial it will be to take some novel steps in the interest of combating that stress.

Get enough shut-eye.

Like stress, you, and many of your friends, probably don’t get the amount of sleep that they need. In fact, the CDC reports, “More than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis, according to a new study in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.”

Again, it can be easy to downplay the impact of a lack of sleep given the issue’s prevalence. But failing to get the amount of sleep you should may be having more negative influence on your life than you realize. There are too many ill effects of sleep deprivation to note, but it is worth mentioning that it can impact everything from your eye health to your emotional well-being. If you’re struggling to combat a health or wellness issue, consider if the lack of sleep is to blame.

If getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night is a challenge, do what you can to set yourself up for success.

Develop a routine: One of the best things you can do to signal your body that it’s time for sleep is to establish a routine and stick to it. Your routine should include only using the bed for sleep, reducing time with electronics, and cutting out sugar and caffeine in the evening.

Create the right environment: Use all the methods you can to tell your body it’s time to rest. Keep the bedroom cool and quiet. If you can manage it, don’t share the bed with pets or kids that have their own space and will disrupt yours.

Track the data: One of the benefits of living in the modern age, is that you have tech at your fingertips that can be utilized to help you better understand what stands between you and a good night’s sleep. Even if you think you’re getting a good night’s rest, assessing your sleep data may show you that you’re restless for large portions of the night.

Eat the good stuff.

Lastly, we come to that most popular of resolutions: changing our physical health. Obviously, we all know the basics; we know that if we exercise more and consume fewer empty calories that change will probably happen. But this is about far more than looking good, it’s about making 2018 the year during which you feel strong enough to do all of the activities you want to do.

As was mentioned above, change ultimately isn’t the product of simple knowledge, rather it’s the result of believing that there is a better alternative. This isn’t just about you, it’s also about creating an atmosphere for your kids and family that will allow them to thrive.

The health professionals at Bradley University report, “The American Heart Association noted that obesity also impacts children, with an estimated 13 million American juveniles living with the condition. Obesity is associated with multiple chronic health conditions, which threaten individuals’ lives and place a substantial strain on healthcare resources.”

Thus, this is not another list of easy healthy meals or quick  workouts for busy weeknights. Instead, this is a reminder to emphasize the quality of your life as one of the most important components of your New Year — even more so than results at the gym or in the bank account. It’s a plea to see the things, the people, who matter most and to make resolutions based about what is best for you and for them.

So, if you’re surveying the bright newness of 2018 and hoping to make adjustments and work towards attainable goals, perhaps this is the year to get back to basics and see how some foundational self-care has the potential to remain a lasting part of your life, and therefore change it.

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