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As January approaches, the time is ripe for reflecting on the past year and planning for the months ahead. Though 2016 was challenging for many of us, setting positive and inspiring goals for 2017 can help us create a brighter, more joy-filled future.
Let these New Year's resolutions guide you and inspire your own personal goals in the coming year and beyond.
Cut down on mindless screen time.
Going online or watching television can be time well spent. Watching a favorite old movie or sending emails to friends, for instance, can be positive experiences. What isn't valuable, however, is the excess time we spend mindlessly scrolling through clickbait articles or playing mobile games. Though these things can be enjoyable and relaxing in moderation, this time could almost always be better spent cultivating new hobbies, catching up on household chores, meeting with friends, or spending time with family. If you know, deep down, that you're addicted to screens, try moderating your digital consumption habits in the coming year. Even reducing your screen time by 15 or 20 minutes will free up time in your day to participate in other rewarding activities.
Become aware of your negativity and replace it with positivity.
2016 was a year filled with contentious news stories and acrimonious arguments. It's easy to become pessimistic when the media bombards us with fatalistic messages. Striving to be positive ourselves is one of the best ways to combat this negativity. Instead of judging and criticizing others, pause and reflect on your attitude. Perhaps the person you're judging has experienced things that you haven't, leading to perspectives that you might not understand. Maybe they've just experienced a personal tragedy. Maybe they're ill. Replace your judgments and complaints with praise and gratitude. We've all been blessed in various ways. Reflect on the many people and experiences that make your life worth living. A change in perspective can transform your life.
Eat a healthier meal at least once a week.
People fail to keep their New Year's resolutions when they aim for massive, immediate transformations. Instead, aim for gradual changes. Most of us could afford to improve our diets, for instance. Rather than becoming a vegetarian or embarking on a strict paleo diet, opt for swapping out a fatty restaurant meal for a healthier, home-cooked dish once a week. Make it a goal to look up new and unique recipes online. Instead of writing off strange-sounding dishes like cauliflower rice and chia seed pudding, be open to trying new foods. You just might find yourself enjoying these meals more than your old favorites!
Make a bucket list and start working on it!
All of us have hopes, dreams, and wishes that we've never fulfilled. Stop neglecting your daydreams and start living them! If you've always wanted to visit another country, do it this year. If you've never learned to tap dance and have wanted to do so since childhood, take a beginner's course. It's easy to make excuses for why you can't do something today, but living in the present is the only way to enjoy a truly fulfilling life. Make a list of at least 10 amazing things you'd truly love to experience, both big and small. Learn to knit, get a fish pedicure, or visit Morocco! Make this year one that will be worth remembering.
Be truly kind to yourself.
We'll all make mistakes in the year to come. We'll all fail at something we've attempted or upset someone we care about. These things are practically inevitable, but how we treat ourselves can be changed. Perfection is unattainable; we shouldn't beat ourselves up when we fall short of our goals. Instead, cut yourself some slack. When you've had a bad day, call a friend or family member who can remind you of your worth. Question your inner critic. Does this situation really merit the anger or frustration you feel with yourself? In many cases, probably not. Relax and take a bath, read an uplifting book, or watch a funny TV show. Grant yourself the same forgiveness and understanding that you extend to others. Even when you make mistakes, you are worthy of love.
Though it can be difficult to stick to New Year's resolutions, these valuable commitments are well worth the challenge. By acting thoughtfully and living life to the fullest, we can improve ourselves and build a kinder, more understanding world.
Photo: (c) Janina Dierks / fotolia.com