Reality vs. Resolutions: 23 Simple Habits to Improve Your Life (for Real this Year)

Did you know that 64% of people give up on their New Year’s resolutions after the first month?

The main reason is that people tend to set the bar too high, expecting major changes from themselves too quickly. This leads to a loss in motivation early on and an inability to stay committed. 

A more effective way to actually improve your life is to shift away from the drastic ‘New Year, New You” mentality, and to focus on little, consistent changes over time. By starting small and taking things one step at a time, incremental growth becomes a lifestyle rather than a ‘Go Big or Go Home’ goal you set, just because the date on the calendar changes. 

Try implementing a few of these 23 simple (not overwhelming) habits to help improve your overall quality of life, for 2023 and beyond.

  1. Wake Up Early. Give yourself some extra time when you rise to do something you actually enjoy, it’s easier than you might think! Whether it be a nice quiet walk, relaxing with a cup of coffee and a good book, or a few extra minutes to work towards your passion project before you start your workday, take that extra time to do something for yourself.

  2. Make your bed. This simple task may leave you surprised in how your day will start off feeling productive and organized.

  3. Practice gratitude. Make a regular habit of writing down all the things in your life you’re grateful for, whether it’s possessions, loved ones, things you’ve accomplished or just good things that happened. This practice will help train your mind to stay focused on the positive.

  4. Set boundaries. Work on saying “no” when you’re feeling overcommitted, without the guilt or overwhelm. 

  5. Chunk your time. Dedicate specific time-slots each day to give your undivided attention to your priorities, such as work-time, family-time, you–time, etc. Minimize distractions during these slots to get the most out of your hours. 

  6. Volunteer/Give back. Never underestimate the healing power of doing things for others. These types of activities can fill you up in a way that you have never experienced before.

  7. Learn something new each month. Read a book, listen to a podcast, expand your world and your perspective. What interests you?

  8. Practice relaxation techniques. Try guided meditation or grounding to help with mindfulness and stay focused on the present moment.

  9. Journal/Brain dump. Writing about your thoughts and jotting down your ideas is a powerful exercise to help clear your mind, and even help you reach solutions you may never have reached otherwise. Seeing is believing, and reading your thoughts can help you gain clarity.

  10. Set monthly goals. What will help you feel proud of yourself? Set a goal or two for yourself using the S.M.A.R.T. goal method, ensuring your goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

  11. Limit screen time. Occasionally scrolling social media to check in on distant family members or watching entertaining TikTok videos is one thing, but if you’re doom-scrolling for hours, you’re wasting valuable time and it won’t make you feel good in the long-run. Bottom line.

  12. Get active. Boost your immune system, decrease disease risk, and increase endorphins and dopamine (aka the “happy” hormones), by finding an activity that you can do consistently on a weekly basis. Like Nike says, ‘Just do it.

  13. Meal prep/plan. Don’t overcomplicate it. If you take an hour or two on a weekend to prep a few things for weekly meals, (for example, roasting veggies, grilling chicken, or cooking up a big pot of rice), you will undoubtedly save yourself time during the week and be able to stick to healthier eating habits. 

  14. Declutter your space. Studies show that decluttering reduces anxiety and stress. Having too much stuff around us can make us feel overwhelmed and mentally ‘weighed down’. 

  15. Split-up chores. There may be ways to divide the time you spend on major household chores. For example, if you find yourself deep in piles of laundry on weekends, try throwing in one load every morning and putting it in the dryer after work, rather than tackling it all at once. 

  16. Prepare for tomorrow. What can you do to make your next day a little easier? Set the coffee pot? Pack a gym bag? Write out all the tasks you need to complete the next day? Planning ahead a bit the night before can take a lot of stress out of the next day, and help you get a better night’s rest.

  17. Sleep. You need 7-8 hours of quality sleep to function at an optimal level. Set a sleep and wake time for yourself, and try to adapt a healthy habit of sticking to it.
  18. Make boring tasks fun. Think about how you can make monotonous tasks more enjoyable like throwing on some great music or listening to an audiobook. Life is all about enjoying the journey, not the destination.

  19. Cut out needless tasks. If you find yourself doing something just because you think you have to or because it’s something you’ve always done, cut it out if you realize it isn’t actually serving a purpose. 

  20. Choose company wisely. Surround yourself with positive people who lift you up and avoid toxic people who leave you feeling drained. 

  21. Utilize apps/tools. There are thousands of free tools and apps available that are designed to help you make your life easier. From task management to meal planning, exercise inspiration, white noise for sleep, there’s literally an app for everything. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of them.

  22. Write your why. Mostly all businesses have core values, why shouldn’t we as individuals have a list of what we hold most valuable? Once a year, audit everything you do in a day and why you do it. Is it all in support of something you truly believe in? When you know what you stand for, every moment matters; every decision is simpler. 

  23. Give yourself grace. If you only choose two habits to implement this year, make ‘grace’ one of them. Remember that you’re never going to have it all together, all of the time. There will be off-days, weeks, and months. Don’t let the guilt or frustration of backsliding a bit take you off track. Remind yourself that two steps forward and one step back is still progress, and over time you’ll get where you want to be, as long as you don’t quit.

On behalf of all of us at Integrative Counseling Services, PC, we wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous year ahead!

If you believe Integrative Counseling Services can help you or a loved one, or if you or your organization wishes to learn more about our offerings, please reach out to our main office at 570-955-5479.

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