While everyone else is making the same old resolutions (lose weight! eat better! less stress!), you're interested in doing something different, more meaningful, making another sort of fresh start. But where to begin? What sorts of resolutions and changes can you make, starting now, that will actually change your life? I have a few ideas to kick-start your February resolutions! After all, it's still the beginning of the year...
1. Phone It in
Let this year be the year of deeper connections! Rather than texting all the time, try a phone call once in a while, especially with those in your life you truly value, and would love to chat with, real time.
2. Don't Deprive
So many of our typical resolutions tend to focus on depriving ourselves of something, and even though it's for our own good (stop smoking, stop drinking soda, stop stop stop), maybe it's time to swap the "don't" for the "do," and focus on the positive things we get to start doing - eating fresh fruits and veggies, drinking more water, getting more sleep.
3. Sleep More
No one I know gets enough sleep, and that's so damaging in so many ways! This year, make a solemn vow to get more sleep.
4. Say No
I have a very specific goal in 2020: to learn to say no, to grow a spine and stop being a YES girl, at the expense of my own mental and physical health. If you're a YES girl, try this one with me.
5. Say Yes
Weird, huh? I just said you ought to learn to say no, and now I'm saying it's also time to start saying yes. What I mean, of course, is that it's okay to say yes to the things YOU want to do. Not the things everyone says THEY want you to do.
Get specific. Save the money and the time to travel somewhere you've been dying to go this year. Get all your ducks in a row. Get your passport. Get your plane ticket. GO!
7. Stop Smoking
I know. I've already said not to deprive yourself this year. But there is nothing about smoking, nothing at all, that benefits you. It's expensive. It's unhealthy. It's smelly. So now is the time to stop. Keep quitting until it actually works.
8. Get Active
Find a cause you're passionate about - just one! - then research it thoroughly, and throw yourself into it. I don't just mean sharing articles about it on Facebook. I mean volunteer your time. Go to protests. Donate money. Become an advocate, an ally.
Set aside a little time - 20 to 30 minutes - three or four days a week for exercise. It can be as simple as an after-dinner walk or as extreme as training to run a marathon. But choose some physical activity, preferably one that gets you outside, and do it this year.
10. Get outside
Go outside and breathe the fresh air at least a couple of times a week, even if it's just taking a walk around your block or a quick hike through your local park. Look around you. Breathe deeply. Enjoy!
11. Be Grateful
In 2020, adopt an attitude of gratitude. Every day, while you're in the shower is an ideal time, make a list of five things you're thankful for from the day before. Choose five things you might be grateful for in the day ahead. Get creative.
12. Get Creative
Ha! See what I did there? Even if you think you're just not the creative "type," express yourself somehow, creatively, this year. Paint, draw, knit, dance, sing, something.
13. Drink More Water
Water truly is the elixir of life, and hardly any of us get enough. Aim for at least 8 small glasses a day, or about 2 liters.
Every day, and I mean every single day, indulge in something you love. A song, a short poem, a tiny bit of dark chocolate, a cup of mango black tea, something you just love, deep in your bones.
Sure, by all means, clean out your closet and your dresser, your fridge and junk drawer. But also, de-clutter your life. Cut out the things you just don't need, and keep the things (and people) you do.
16. Ban Negativity
One of the things we can all do without are the nay-sayers, the frenemies, the people in our lives who do nothing but rain on our parades. It's time to let them go. No need for a dramatic good-bye. Just put some distance between you and them, and breathe a sigh of relief.
17. Smile More
Did you know that when you smile, your brain automatically thinks you're happy? I've used this trick to get through the tough last mile of a run and last tough ten minutes of a family dinner. It works!
18. Forgive Someone
It's really, really hard to forgive someone who's hurt you, especially if they've never said they're sorry or asked for forgiveness. But this year, let it go. Forgive them. Move on.
19. Look Ahead
I'm all for living in the moment, and definitely for not looking back, but I'm also a fan of being excited about something. This year, get excited about a special event or trip you're planning. Get giddy!
Build with block, color in a coloring book, swing on the swings. Play! There's a reason kids are so happy, and aside from the fact they're not paying bills, one of the reasons they're so carefree is that they play. Give it a try!
21. Stop Sabotaging Yourself
We can all be our own toughest critics, and it's time that stopped, too. Don't fat-talk, don't self-doubt, don't talk yourself out of something. Be your own biggest cheerleader this year!
22. Learn to Listen
In 2020, let's all resolve to listen better, without judgment, and unless it's asked for, without advice. Just listen. It's a talent we can all develop, and it's very under-rated.
23. Go for It
Finally, is there something you've been dreaming of doing or trying? If so, make this your year to do it. Try it. Go for it! Don't be an old person, looking back on your life, regretting all the things you didn't try. Try. Maybe fail. But try!