2018 is here! Now that 2017 has officially kicked the bucket, the hashtag #NewYearNewMe has resurfaced, as it does every year. While the hashtag is often saturated with inspirational quotes and promises to start anew, most people hold themselves to vague, difficult-to-measure standards. There’s so much wiggle room that it becomes easier to get away with ditching the resolution altogether.
But have no fear! We’re here to translate those sweeping statements into concrete, everyday steps for that #NewYou. Taking steps to leading a better, brighter life requires some level of specificity, and we’re here to help you out if you need some direction. Think of these small actions as the little building blocks to build the infrastructure of your 2018 goals.
6. Lose weight
All the holiday eating has many of us taking another look into the mirror. It can’t always be helped–it’s the holidays! And there’s so much food to eat and celebrate with! A lot of people tend to make a big announcement to themselves that they’re going to lose weight this year but then they have no ample means to track themselves.
At the beginning of the year, they’re going to say: I’m gonna lose weight, get fit, LIVE LIFE, go, grow, and glow! Then they’re lost because they have no idea where to start. It’s alright. Keeping this resolution will be easier if you figure out concrete, specific actions.
A great way to stack your building blocks for the grander picture of losing weight is to specify in numbers. How many pounds do you want to shed? Or, if you’re not looking for a specific weight, numbers in terms of working out: How many minutes are you going to jog? At what speed? When?
The more questions you can answer when you think of a resolution, the clearer it becomes. Here are some challenges if your goal is weight loss: Work out four times a week. Do 20 minutes of cardio daily. Lift weights. Cut out junk from your diet (soft drinks, maybe rice). When you’re in a restaurant, make the conscious decision of cutting your meal in half and taking home the other half. Every other week, cook your own meals.
Don’t forget that it takes 21 days on average to form a habit, so once you get the ball rolling, it’ll be easier! And up the challenge. Specify when, too. After 3 months, will you intensify? Will you switch up your menus? It’s all up to you!
5. Save money
If passing by shop windows makes you itch to reach for your wallet like I do, then this is a resolution for you–one you’ve probably attempted to make and failed to uphold. It’s okay, I feel you. Saving money is a little easier at the beginning but losing steam near the end is almost always inevitable when we end up buying things and a steady stream of purchases just keeps coming.
We expect ourselves to pocket any money we have already and never touch it. The thought that all our cash is no longer being used has us excited, it makes us think that we are responsible and have self-control. But then we begin to justify. “I could use this blouse, I’ll need it for work,” we’ll tell ourselves until the level of practicality with which we evaluate a purchase is down to nothing. “I guess I could use this gourmet cheese board–for parties!”
As soon as our wallets are naught but dust and the odd 1×1 photo, we give up on this resolution. But it’s alright! What we can do is create goals in terms of saving. Maybe by the end of January, you want to save up 5000 pesos? Or, like the 50 peso challenge, you put away a certain bill every time you have one on-hand and watch it accumulate?
The simplest would be to set up a piggy bank, the old school ones you can’t just open up and drain whenever you like. It has to be the kind where, if you open it up, it’s because it’s full. This would be ideal for loose change and for storing money you shouldn’t be spending.
Think also with a goal in mind. We have money on-hand for emergencies, to buy food, and for small purchases when we’re craving something. But think bigger! What inspired you to want to save? Is there something you want? Maybe you’ve been eyeing a new phone or you want to travel. It’ll no longer be impossible once you have a steady system of keeping your cash safely tucked away.
And, if there wasn’t anything in particular that made you want to save, that’s fine, too! The general idea of the future and how saving will pay off in the long run is good inspiration, too. As long as your system sticks, it’ll be easier.
A lot of us burn out because we’re so focused on our relationships with other people that we often forget ourselves in the process. In recent years, we’ve become more #woke about how we treat ourselves less than we treat other people and how we understand that it’s not a good thing for us to do.
Taking care of oneself is a little hard to maneuver around when there’s no clarity. What does this mean?
One thing you can look at is in terms of what kind of care you’re looking into. Mental? Spiritual? Physical? Once you’ve got that category down, it’s a little easier to find solutions. Maybe you want a break from toxicity, you can re-evaluate friendships that have broken you down rather than build you up. Or maybe you want to to be less anxious about deadlines and stress, you can take time off every day to be alone with your thoughts.
On the physical level, there are also great, interactive ways to help care for yourself better. There are apps geared towards reminding you to take a minute to just breathe and clear your mind and even to remind you to drink water so you can stay hydrated the whole day.
Some challenges you could take on: Take 5 minutes for yourself every day. Start your day with a poem. Read a book a week. Talk to a different friend every day. Have a meal out by yourself. Any of these things can help reflect on yourself a little better.
Taking a minute for yourself is never a bad thing to do. In fact, it helps with setting directions for yourself and for figuring out where you want to go. A lot of people are afraid to be alone, but saying “table for one” sometimes can be healthy. Moving at your own pace helps dictate the path you want to take.
3. Be more social
Some of us are not as good at socializing and making new friends as other people. That’s alright! As someone who has clung to the same group of friends for about a decade, I understand that it’s difficult to put yourself out there and meet new people. For those of us who have made the resolution to be more social, there are definitely ways to attain it.
While approaching others might be difficult, make it easier on yourself by taking baby steps first when people approach you instead. Prepare extra pens or pencils for school so that if someone asks you, you’re ready to lend and maybe strike up a conversation. Befriend your seatmates in class by introducing yourself or laughing at a class joke together.
While you’re building rapport with the people who come up to you, it might become easier for you to figure out how to come up to others. Little by little, convince yourself to ask someone you aren’t so close to about their day and how they are. The more you learn about them, the easier it might become to find something to talk about.
Maybe you can try one of these concrete steps: Be the person to offer a piece of paper for a quiz. Volunteer for your org and work with others (it’s a great way to be occupied with work and to meet new people). Click “going” to Facebook events more often and find someone to go with.
Party scenarios are what I dread the most, but asking a friend to accompany you and meeting new people through them is also a great way to build connections. Being more social this new year can definitely be done as long as you try to get to know new people actively.
2. Get organized
After a long day, sometimes we just want to tuck ourselves in and get a good night’s sleep. We often forget to put away our things in their proper place, to the point that they sort of collect dust wherever they are and we forget where we put them.
That’s fine! Maybe being more mindful of our belongings this 2018 will help us a lot. Re-organizing and knowing where everything is is also good practice. It may seem a little daunting when you take a look at all your things and end up not doing it at all because you don’t know where to begin. It happens! But let’s take concrete steps to cleanliness.
A great thing to do is to clear out a weekend every month dedicated to one part of your room. This month, we’re clearing up Saturday to fix the bookshelf. Next month, it’ll be the closet. Purging yourself of belongings that seem to just clutter up space is always good. Cut the “I might need this later on” mantra. Chances are you won’t!
If that doesn’t work out, maybe do something weekly. Try to get rid of something that you don’t use anymore every week. It can be as small as decoration you don’t put up or a blouse you no longer use. Another great idea is to get rid of clothes you haven’t used the past three months. If it’s not being worn, maybe it’s just taking up space.
1. Be a better person
The most imprecise and inexact resolution of them all. Dreaming a better you is never a bad thing, but better in terms of what? And what is your standard? I think many of us fail to address these questions before sending this resolution carelessly out into the Twitter-sphere. What are the steps you’re going to take? And what kind of better do you want to be?
That rests on you, of course. Do you want to be more kind? Do you want to be more ambitious? Do you want to be more considerate of friends? “Better” is a pretty broad term and being specific might help out.
If you want, you can do a nice thing for a stranger every day. Or hold open the door a second longer than you usually would. Or even help someone with their heavy groceries. These things tend to spread the joy and cheer people up. Becoming a “better person” can be attained in so many different ways. Incorporate these things into your daily routine and it won’t feel like a chore anymore.
Whatever 2018 holds in store, I hope it teaches all of us to be more patient, more kind, and more reflective of ourselves and the paths we are taking.
What are your new year resolutions? Let us know!