As soon as the countdown begins and the confetti falls, a familiar sense of existential dread typically sets in: What will this year’s resolution be? But who says a new year symbolizes a new reason to set unreasonable standards? This year, try establishing realistic intentions for yourself (the more specific, the better!). Here are a handful of helpful suggestions to get the ball rolling after the ball drops.
Instead of: Lose Weight
Try a new exercise routine or challenge yourself to try a new recipe every week
It’s easy to start an exercise regimen or healthy diet, but the secret is sticking with it. Start by doing your research — check out easy at-home exercise tutorials on YouTube and look up healthy alternatives to your favorite comfort foods (try frozen grapes or froyo instead of several scoops of ice cream). Switching things up will help you stay on track without feeling overwhelmed or fixating on counting calories or hitting the gym every day.
Instead of: Stop procrastinating
Set realistic deadlines
Procrastination is one of the hardest habits to break, but the key to this one is baby steps. Rome wasn’t built in a day and even though you could clean your room, complete your homework or write that thank you note in a day, that doesn’t mean you have to. Before you bite off more than you can chew, break down everything into bite-size pieces. Things will seem way more manageable if you just start somewhere and take it a second, minute or day at a time! If you’re a chronic procrastinator, start by setting small deadlines for yourself, whether it’s doing one load of laundry, reading one chapter of a book or updating one section of your resume. Once you can consistently meet those deadlines without dragging your feet, begin to set broader ones and watch your life change!
Instead of: Learn to cook
Make one meal from scratch a week, meal prep once a month or fine-tune a signature dish
Making a complicated dish from scratch may seem daunting, but even Martha Stewart didn’t know the difference between cobbler and cottage pudding at one point. If you want to improve your prowess in the kitchen, start with simple recipes and work your way up. Practice making the same recipes and pretty soon it’ll be a piece of cake! Read recipes online, watch tutorials and learn to sauté before you sous-vide.
Instead of: Be happy
Think about what it is you really want and go after it. A better job, more money and a new car might seem like the road to happiness, but think about all the times you’ve felt joy in your life. You’ll probably find that most of those times stemmed from simple pleasures — a delicious meal, a good conversation or a small act of kindness. Start being grateful for the things you have in your life and stop being greedy for the things you don’t. You’d be surprised at how much changing your mindset can alter your overall mood.