Like many people, I made a few resolutions for 2016. They’re pretty typical, and I’ve found that some are easier to keep than others. I’m not yet sure if this is because the resolutions I’m keeping up with are more important to me, or if it’s because they’re pretty easy to maintain. In all honesty, my biggest resolution is to keep the resolutions I made in the first place!
Below are my personal resolutions, why I made them, and how I’ve been able to keep up with them.
Take care of my mental health.
My goal with this resolution was to destress, calm down, and focus on being mindful. I like to believe that I’m a pretty easygoing, optimistic person, but I have come to realize that when school work, relationships, and being busy start to build up, I start to break down.
In order to take better care of my mind, I have a slew of strategies:
- Mindfulness apps. My favorite destress app is Pacifica, which tracks your daily happiness on a simple scale and offers meditation and breathing exercises. I’m also a big fan of coloring books (judge all you want, but they’re such a relaxing, creative outlet) so I downloaded Colorfy which is basically a coloring book on the go.
- Routine. I wake up at the same time every day – with the exception of late study nights #twoexamsoneday – to establish some sort of routine. It’s so much more relaxing to know when I’m waking up. I also set my alarm for few hours before I need to get ready for class. This way, I can sit in bed and drink my coffee, eat a real breakfast, read the news (and Cosmopolitan and Refinery29’s Snapchat Discover stories) and have an easygoing morning before my day starts.
- Journaling. I’ve tried countless times to start and keep up with a daily journal but I can never seem to maintain it. Instead, while I do occasionally write longer entries, I’ve been using this One Line a Day journal to jot down a summary of the day’s events and my thoughts. What’s also great about it is that each page has a month and day and you fill in the year, so I’ll have a living record of my daily life of the next five years. Writing these short entries helps me to get my thoughts in order and determine what was truly important that day.
I’ve found that it’s fairly easy to keep up with this goal on a day to day basis because of the minimal time commitment. Before I go to bed, I spend a few minutes journaling and doing breathing exercises and that’s it. However, it is much more difficult to deal with my mental health in the long run. While these techniques keep me focused on the nicer parts of a single day, stress still tends to build up with me until it boils over. For now, I’m continuing my daily tricks and I’m also hoping to attend some of the free mindfulness workshops provided by my school’s Counseling and Psychological Services (if you’re an NU student and need help managing stress, check them out here, they’re amazing!).
Take care of my body.
I am the type of person to declare a plan to exercise more with the New Year. Have I ever kept it for more than a few weeks? Nope.
That’s why this year, I decided to take a broader approach. While the small, attainable goals I set are still essentially to eat healthier and exercise more, I chose to focus more on my body as a whole and what I do to it (both positive and negative).
- In my free time, exercise. BUT, don’t sweat it if I miss a day. Being a college student with a full course load plus extracurriculars and a sorority is busy, to say the least. So when I find a few precious hours of free time, I like to use them to relax and do nothing (i.e. watch as many episodes of Gilmore Girls as possible on Netflix). But I realized I could take thirty minutes out of that lazy time and do a quick work out. I started to remember how much I actually like exercise; it makes me feel strong and healthy. I also take the pressure out of it by not losing my mind if I miss a workout or two. I’m busy, I don’t get enough sleep, and I walk miles everyday just getting to and from classes. If I don’t have the energy to workout one day out of the entire week, I don’t need to tighten my diet or work twice as hard the next day.
- Eating healthy is great, but cupcakes are great, too. I always feel better when I eat on the healthier side; for me, that means whole grains, lean proteins, and fruits and veggies. But sometimes, I just want a cookie dipped in Nutella after lunch. As long as I am conscious of what I am putting into my body and about 80% of that is good-for-you stuff, I feel good about reaching my goal.
- How I feel is more important than what the scale says. I didn’t bring a scale with me to school and I am so glad I didn’t. It doesn’t matter what the number on the scale reads, especially since since you don’t instantly know how much of that is fat and how much is muscle. Instead, I’ve started to focus on how I feel: do I feel bloated today? Drink more water. Do I like how my jeans fit today? Yes? Great. No? Eat 90% healthy the next few days.
Rather than focus on calories or numbers on a scale or a workout schedule, I’m working on feeling good about my body as a whole.
About three weeks ago, I wrote down a list of all of the posts I’d like to write for the website, then threw them up onto my calendar. While I’ve been pretty great about posting on Instagram, I have been not-so-great about posting on here. So this one is still a work in progress, but we’re getting there.
Since the New Year, I’ve come up with a few more ways I’d like to better myself.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Some fights are just not worth having in the long run; ask yourself whether it’s really that important to prove your point?
- Be more selfless. Put yourself in another person’s shoes and try to understand their point of view. Put others first.
My biggest tip is that for each resolution, set small, easily attainable goals to stay on track.
What are some of your New Years resolutions? Have you kept up with them?