Let’s be honest – we all vow to save money, get in shape, and kick a bad habit to the curb, but after the first few weeks of the new year have passed, our resolve tends to fade and we slowly start to slip back into old habits.
According to a University of Scranton study conducted earlier this year, only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions. With these odds, making a resolution may seem pointless, but there’s good news! These people’s trick is easy – they just kept it simple.
Here are 12 small things you can do every day to get (and keep) you on the right track in the new year:
1. Get more sleep.
Getting a good night’s sleep sharpens your focus, improves your memory, and reduces stress, among plenty of other benefits. Sounds like a resolution I can get behind.
2. Pay with cash.
I’ll admit, I almost never have any cash on me. If you’re like me, and exclusively use plastic to pay for everything, this is a good resolution to go for, since opting for cash over cards can save you money.
Sure, you can set a budget of how much you can put on your debit or credit card in your mind, but when you pay with cash, your budget is up when you’re out of money. Plus, it’s easier to be conscious of how much you’re really spending, because you’re physically watching your money disappear instead of blindly swiping and seeing how much damage you did at the end of the month.
3. Finish what you start.
Made plans with a friend? Go. Start a project? See it through. Have five different shows you’re currently in the middle of watching? Not exactly what I was thinking, but you better go ahead and finish those, too. (Just see #7.)
Keeping your word and finishing what you start will make you feel less scrambled, and the people around you will appreciate it - trust me.
4. Take time for yourself.
Give yourself a manicure, watch your favorite movie, read a book (ahem, #5), take a bubble bath – whatever it is, set aside some time for yourself to relax. This isn’t an excuse to procrastinate, but it’ll be a lot easier to feel motivated and ready to accomplish whatever you have on your plate when you’re not feeling stressed and overworked.
5. Read more.
Tackle a book you’ve always wanted to read, or resolve to read an article on a hobby or something in your field every day. It doesn’t have to be big – just read a few pages before bed or subscribe to an online news source. You might be surprised at how much you absorb from a little reading each day.
6. Eat more fruits and veggies.
An easier take on the common “lose weight/get in shape/go on a diet” resolution. I’m not saying you can’t have a bag of chips or have to cut out desserts completely, but when you’re reaching for a snack, switch it up by going for a piece of fruit or some fresh vegetables. (Apple slices with peanut butter, avocado toast, or baby carrots with ranch dressing are some simple options that won’t make you feel like you’re sacrificing too much. These are supposed to be easy, after all.)
7. Cut down on screen time.
It’s okay if a social media cleanse is too much, but at least set your phone aside when you’re with friends and family instead of scrolling through Instagram. Instead of spending hours binging something online, skip the next episode and check off something on your to-do list. I know, Game of Thrones left you with another cliffhanger and someone’s doing some live tweeting you absolutely can’t miss – no, go do something else. Everything in moderation, folks.
8. Work on your relationships.
Family, friends, or significant others - these go for any relationship. Go out of your way to help the people you love. Make time for each other. Say “I love you” more. Simple gestures like these can have a huge impact on the quality of your relationships.
9. Show your LinkedIn some love.
Whether you’re applying to schools or your dream job after college, anyone can benefit from having a strong, positive (that’s the key word here) presence online. Have someone take a professional photo for you, connect with friends, professors, and coworkers, and give your summary and experience sections a makeover. You never know when an opportunity could come up, and you never know who’s looking at your profile. Whoever they are, make sure you’ll blow them away - even if you’re lacking in the experience department.
10. Drink more water.
Put the coffee aside and pour yourself a glass first thing in the morning. Just a few of the benefits: water helps fight fatigue, clears your skin, and even helps you concentrate. If you can’t quit coffee and sugary drinks, at least help offset it with a few glasses of water every day.
11. Get to work early.
Whether it’s five or thirty minutes, getting to work early gives you time to map out your day and get ahead on tasks with fewer distractions. Plus, it proves “strong work ethic” wasn’t some meaningless buzzword on your resume, and your supervisor is bound to notice. Win-win!
12. Take a walk.
Getting yourself to the gym is hard, going on a diet is overwhelming, and losing weight feels impossible. Create a smaller goal. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, or get some fresh air and take a walk around the block. Baby steps.