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8 Steps to Start the Year Off on the Right Foot

New Year’s resolutions can get broken quickly when you’re trying to do too much.

New Year’s resolutions can get broken rather quickly when you’re trying to do too much too fast. Here are some simple lifestyle changes that you can ease yourself into and that can make this year a little better than the one before.

1. Walk every day. Even if it’s for only 10 minutes, walking can help with many issues and give you more energy while lowering anxiety and lifting your spirits. It may be the healthiest thing you can do for yourself. If you live in an area where going outside in the winter or summer is too uncomfortable, invest in a treadmill.

2. Don’t go on a diet, but commit to eating healthy. I’m personally cutting back on ice cream, and I know my body will thank me for it. These days, we have many more healthy food options than we did just a couple of years ago, and many places deliver right to your door. No more excuses for noodles and cold pizza.

3. Clear out your closet. If you haven’t worn something in over a year, chances are you are done with that item of clothing, so donate what no longer suits you, and use the tax deduction to get a couple of new pieces that make you feel great when you put them on. Clothing can lift your mood if you put a little energy into it.

4. Clean out the pantry. We recently discovered something hidden in there with a use-by date of 2008, so we decided to sort through everything else. Now we have a clean pantry and are no longer in danger of getting poisoned from decades-old food. It’s another way of letting go of the past. If you don’t remember when you bought something and there’s no date on it, best to throw it out.

5. Is there an apology you need to make? If not, great, but if there is, I invite you to get to it. Having negative things fill your mind makes life uncomfortable, and you may not even know where the discomfort is coming from. If it’s an interpersonal issue, do yourself a favor and make it right or let it go.

6. Finish your undone projects before starting new ones. You can only keep a few big things going on at the same time, and sometimes dealing with just one life-changing project can keep you occupied and overthinking for weeks. So finish at least one project before you start something new.

7. Plan your year. Block out vacation time and make a reservation, book your family gatherings and parties, and be sure to put any big events on the calendar, so everyone in the house can see what’s coming up. Having something to look forward to helps make you happier.

8. Set some goals. You can set simple ones or big fat hairy ones, but you need a direction and then a plan. Even if you don’t succeed this year, knowing that you are moving your life forward is empowering. You will feel better, and so will everyone else involved.

We have another new year to look forward to. Even with all the struggles and loss, I would rather be involved in life than sit on the sidelines. I hope that these tips help to get you off to a good start in 2019.

More from Barton Goldsmith Ph.D.
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