Well, I think it’s safe to say that no one is particularly unhappy that 2016 is coming to an end. After all, it was the year that David Bowie, Carrie Fisher, Alan Rickman, and what seemed like countless other precious celebrities left us, the year of the Bastille Day terrorist attacks in France, the year of Brexit and Zika, and to top it all off Trump was elected. Good grief, Charlie Brown.
By the same token, I must admit that I selfishly really enjoyed 2016. I traveled to Croatia and Hong Kong, saw Paul McCartney, the Who, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Roger Waters live in concert, I officially received my certification of “Registered Holistic Nutritionist,” and met some amazing new people who have become more important to me than they likely realize.
That being said, I’m always looking for ways to improve myself. And what better opportunity to brainstorm ways to do this than just before New Years? Today, I thought I’d share with you some resolutions I feel would make us all happier or healthier in some way, even if they don’t have to do with nutrition or physical health.
New Year, New You
1. Volunteer for a cause you’re passionate about.
I know, I know, you don’t have time to volunteer… FALSE. I used to think this way until I started volunteering at a suicide hotline a couple years back. Little did I know that this would be one of the most rewarding and influential experiences of my life. Firstly, volunteering makes you feel good. Not in an “I-just-got-a-new-shirt-and-feel-materialistically-happy” good… purely and genuinely good. Secondly, I assure you that the other volunteers you meet will be some of the most lovely people you’ll ever have the pleasure of becoming friends with. Thirdly, I repeat: you have the time. Volunteering at the suicide hotline only took four measly hours a week—or 2.5% of my time. We all have the time; it’s just about priorities.
2. Speak more eloquently.
I used to speak quite well until, for whatever reason, I started using the word “like” more often, started cursing a bit more, and stopped caring as much about my verbal communication skills, apparently. Yet as I completed my first semester of school over the past few months, I couldn’t help but notice how much of a pleasure it was to listen to people who were articulate and well-spoken. They spoke with purpose, confidence, and control, and I really admired that! It might sound like a silly resolution, but I think communication skills are ones we could all benefit from in so many areas of our lives.
TIPS FROM MY INNER GRAMMAR NAZI: Your and you’re are NOT the same thing. You and I went to the store, not me and you. Saying “like” every other second makes you sound much less confident than you are (and should be)!
3. Be conscious of when you're acting entitled.
Millennials like myself have a lot of work to do in this department, I’d say. After all, we’ve been told our entire lives that we are unique, we constantly compare ourselves to others on social media, and messages like “you can have it all” and “don’t settle for anything less than AMAZING!” were constantly shoved down our throats. There were some perks to this; many of us feel like we can (and want) to make a difference, we seek purpose in our lives, and we’re more focused on achieving a work-life balance than our parents since we saw the repercussions of the alternative. But we mustn’t forget that none of us are owed anything. That promotion you want is going to take time, hard work, and long hours. That amazing relationship you seek, too, is going to take communication, understanding, vulnerability, and sacrifice. Contrary to what the ads might say, getting a perfect body doesn’t happen instantly; it takes countless hours at the gym, meal prepping, and saying no to junk food.Whatever you get in life will be directly proportionate to the amount of work you put into it. Actually, sometimes it won’t be, like when you’re first starting out at a job. But if you just keep on keepin’ on I promise that one day you’ll reap the benefits. And it will feel that much sweeter when you do.
4. Meal prep whenever you can.
Meal prepping is one of the easiest ways to eat cleaner and save a heck of a lot of money. I can’t tell you how many times my diet has failed or my bank account has suffered simply because I haven’t been well prepared. But when a healthy meal is waiting for me in the fridge or freezer, it makes healthy eating so simple. Make a double batch of dinner one night so you have leftovers to enjoy later in the week. Cook up a dozen hard boiled eggs or make a huge quinoa salad to store in the fridge. And if you need some inspiration on what kinds of meals or snacks to make, check out my recipes page!
5. Do kind deeds without expecting anything in return.
Kindness is contagious, and I’m not even talking grandiose acts of kindness; I’m talking about simple gestures like asking someone about their day and truly listening, bringing your significant other breakfast in bed or flowers just because, offering to help someone carry their groceries, being unabashedly supportive of people or things you believe in, or calling your grandmother. If we all just put that extra effort into treating others as we want to be treated—especially on the days we don’t feel like it—I genuinely believe we would be a heck of a lot happier. And try to get into the mindset of doing these things without expecting anything in return. If you’re only being kind because you constantly expect something in return, you lock yourself in a type of “tit for tat” prison where everything you do has a selfish undertone to it. None of that in 2017!
6. Hone in on what really matters and drown out the noise.
As Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around every once and awhile, you might miss it.” So, what are the things you want to stop and pay attention to (i.e. career development, meaningful relationships with a select few, etc.). How about the things you actually don’t really care about? Decipher what values and people are truly important to you and keep those things in the forefront of everything you do. That way, you can drown out the noise of what doesn’t matter and watch your stress levels dwindle little by little.
The Bottom Line
None of these tips are meant to sound self-righteous or preachy; rather, they’re just things that I personally want to keep in mind in the new year and though I might as well share them! I would absolutely LOVE to hear what your New Years Resolutions are. And while you’re with me, I want to say thank you SO much for supporting my blog this year. I have been blown away by the support I’ve received from you all and every comment on my blog, Facebook page, Instagram, or Twitter makes my day and I’m so grateful for you. Cheers to a wonderful 2017, you wonderful person, you.