It’s that time of year again. There’s something exciting about the promise of a fresh start. 2021 is right around the corner and that means getting ready for new year resolutions. The end of the year is a great time to reflect on the past year and give credit to yourself for accomplishments. It’s also time to aim higher, set greater challenges, and lay the groundwork for the next milestone.
How far along have you come? How much have you grown? Which actions did you take (or not take) that brought you closer or further away from your goals? How have you evolved to become who you are today? What personal values are important to you?
Think about your goals and what happiness looks like to you. When you have an idea of what you want to achieve, you are already one step closer to success. Action without purpose is not sustainable for long term personal growth. Set intentions for a better you in the upcoming year. Here are 12 achievable new year resolutions to inspire you into 2021.
Read more books
Reading is good for the brain and mental health. It engages unique parts of the brain and helps prevent cognitive decline. Reading helps you stay connected to your interests while learning new things.
Books inspire us through stories that engage us. They are filled with a whole world we might have never imagined. Reading encourages us to stay open minded and think critically. Whether you prefer fiction or non-fiction, books are wonderful in helping us explore different thoughts, ideas, and perspectives.
Our mindset is so important. It shapes our actions and behaviors. It influences how we see the world and ourselves. Keeping an open mind helps us navigate life’s complexities by making us more empathetic. It helps us focus on what matters. We become better critical thinkers. It gives us courage to get out of our comfort zone and pushes us to understand the roles we play in the world we live in. In turn, we become better humans by understanding how we impact the world and the people around us.
Make it a win-win goal in 2021 with self help books. Not only does reading exercise the brain, you are also working on becoming a better version of yourself. Pick up some self improvement books to help you incorporate healthy habits in your life.
There are many health and wellness tips and self care advice you can find on the internet or on a bookshelf. One of our favorite self help books is Atomic Habits by James Clear. The book explains how we repeat bad habits not because we are not good at giving up bad habits but because we don’t have a system in place to practice good habits. Habits are like “compound interest.” Once you get the ball rolling with one small habit, you build up “compound interest” with more good habits.
If reading isn’t quite your thing, try audiobooks or podcasts instead. If you prefer bite size content, subscribe to a wellness blog such as MindBodyGreen or Well + Good. Medium is also great for insightful information and stories about personal growth. From blogs and personal stories to books, be inspired to live a happy and healthy lifestyle in 2021. Guided journals and meditation podcasts are also excellent tools to explore in your self growth journey.
The Overachiever’s Tip: Curate your reading list with Goodreads where you can browse books and bookmark quotes that inspire you.
Enjoy home cooked meals
Now is the perfect time to start eating healthy. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Taking the first step and committing to healthy eating habits is half the battle. Keep it simple and start with two or three days a week of mindful eating.
Keep a journal of food diary so you can track your eating patterns. Do you crave certain snacks when you are stressed? Do you have a habit of reaching for junk food when you are bored? Do you start a new “diet” and then quit after two weeks? Track your eating habits so you can identify exactly which habits you should kick.
Start with easy recipes such as plant based meal plans. If you find yourself reaching for a snack, choose healthy options. Nourish your mind and body with whole foods. Fruits and vegetables has tons of nutrition and antioxidants. They also help to boost your mood.
If you have been eating well, kudos to you! It’s time to explore new recipes. Take your cooking skills to the next level with healthy and gourmet recipes. Our favorite places to find delicious recipes is NYT Cooking and Pinterest. You can bookmark recipes or pin them for later. Try this delicious lemon garlic butter chicken. Or treat yourself to a fresh berry salad with honey lime and mint dressing.
The Overachiever’s Tip: Spend some quality time alone or with a loved one with healthy online cooking classes.
Get quality sleep
Create an evening routine, avoid caffeine at night, and ditch the TV. Opt for relaxing music or a good book instead. Enjoy a hot bath or hot shower before bed. This helps your body adjust to the circadian rhythm and prepare for bedtime. Now that you’ve got the basics down, other good sleep hygiene habits you should practice is creating a bedtime routine or sleep ritual. Enjoy a relaxing cup of chamomile tea to ease away stress.
You can also warm up a cup of milk before bed. But not for the reason you might think. You may have heard that warm milk makes you sleepy. Surprisingly, warm milk might actually just induce nostalgic memories rather than actual chemical reactions that make us feel sleepy. Though milk has tryptophan, an amino acid that promotes sleep, the amount of tryptophan found in milk is not enough to induce sleep.
While it is true that milk (especially night milk) induces sleep for babies by reducing anxiety and shortening sleep onset, the boxed milk we buy from a local grocery store does not contain enough trytophan or psychopharmacological properties to be a natural sleep aid. Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin and melatonin. However, it has to cross the blood-brain barrier in order to enter the brain and have sedative effects. Ironically, tryptophan is found in protein-rich foods. But this means It’s unlikely to get enough trytophan from milk or other protein foods since it has to compete with other amino acids to enter the brain.
Whatever your bedtime routine may be, master the basics of sleep hygiene and make it a consistent habit. When you are ready for bed, indulge in relaxing music and slip on a sleep mask to block out light.
The Overachiever’s Tip: Invest in a wake-up light that simulates natural sunrise when your alarm goes off.
If there was one thing we learned from 2020, it’s that life can be stressful and self care is more important than we thought. Mindfulness can help us cope with the ups and downs of life. Practice daily affirmations that honor your self love and self worth.
If you are beginner to meditation, start with breathwork techniques and guided meditation. It might seem overwhelming and strange at first if you experience general anxiety and have never meditated before. One really effective meditation style is a body scan meditation. There are over 23 types of meditation techniques including visual meditations, focused attention meditation, Zen meditation called “Zazen” (or “seated meditation” in Japanese), third eye meditation, and chakra meditation.
It can seem technical, but there is no right or wrong way to meditate. Listen to your body and go at your own pace. Accept that life isn’t perfect. Remind yourself that you are doing your best every day.
The Overachiever’s Tip: Create a dedicated meditation space with a comfortable floor cushion, incense sticks, candles, or essential oils. Incorporate ambient sounds in your meditation rituals with Tibetan singing bowls or try guided meditation with binaural beats.
Enjoy small moments
Sometimes, we’re caught up in so many things that we forget to slow down and enjoy the moment. It becomes exhausting to keep up with a fast paced world. We are constantly running around and multitasking. Tackling chores, prioritizing deadlines, and just managing life. Our mind is already racing onto the next checklist while our feet haven’t even carried us to our destination yet.
Slowing down is a mindful effort. It reminds us to be present. To focus on the here and now. To appreciate the current moment. To enjoy the beauty around us. To focus on the task in front of us. To breathe.
Learning how to slow down takes practice. If you’re used to multitasking, you’ll realize that slowing down has its benefits. You’ll be able to focus better. You’ll tackle things quicker with less effort. Schedule breaks between work periods. Go for a walk. Take a moment to breathe and clear your mind. Reset your mood. Disconnect.
In time, you’ll begin to notice little moments you might not have noticed before. You’ll be in a state of mind that is more relaxed. Soon you find yourself feeling lighter, more creative, balanced, resilient, and inspired. Dance at home. Sing in the shower. Read a book. Let your hair down. Listen to music. You’ll learn to enjoy life more while taking care of yourself and managing the day-to-day.
The Overachiever’s Tip: Start an art journal to record all of your favorite moments. Jot down your thoughts about a beautiful memory. Include artsy pieces like sketches, paintings, poems, and quotes that inspire you.
Starting the new year with smart goals and resolutions is a great way to kick unwanted habits and improve your life. Whether you focus on one big goal or resolution in 2021 or you want to work on a few goals at the same time, remember that you are exactly where you belong in your journey. Don’t aim for perfection. Focus on how today can be better than yesterday. Look forward to learning about who you are and becoming a better version of yourself.