I don’t normally make resolutions for the new year, mostly because I figure if it’s worthy of doing at the new year, it’s worthy of doing any time of the year. Many people stick to the old standby’s of diet and exercise. This may not be something you need to work on, however, we can all benefit from self-reflection and improvement, in one form or another. Here are some heart-friendly ideas you can try in conjunction or in place of the diet and exercise options.
1.) One Random Act of Kindness Per Day
Our town gets hit with “Benny’s”, one hundred dollar bills placed in random places in a supermarket or other public places, signed “Benny.” While you don’t have to make such a grand gesture (although, those don’t hurt either), you can do something as small as letting someone ahead of you in line or opening a door for a stranger. Get some blank greeting cards and write “just because” messages to let others know you care or that they did a great job. A lot of people enjoy “kindness rocks,” stones painted with colorful pictures or sayings. Do something unexpected that other will appreciate.
2.) Reflect with Gratitude
We sometimes get into a rut during our weekly routines and can easily experience burnout with the mundane tasks of the day. Before bed, write down three things that happened during your day, for which you are grateful. Be more specific than “family” or “health,” like “So thankful that I was able to spend time catching up with my friends and hearing about what is happening in their lives.” Fully embrace your gratitude in a journal each night, so you go to sleep with a positive outlook.
3.) Start Your Day On Purpose
Give yourself time in the morning to start your day off right. Make a to-d0 list each day and review it the following morning, to add any unchecked items to the new day’s list. Get some form of exercise in before your shower, even if it’s just 20-30 minutes of stretching.
4.) Simplify Your Surroundings
Your home or office can sometimes be a representation of your thoughts or form your attitude. Keeping your surroundings clutter-free and clean will help keep your mind from being overwhelmed with all the “stuff.” Don’t try to do it all in one day. Pick one area, such as a desk or a cupboard to get organized before moving on to the next area.
5.) Listen to More Music
For some people this may seem like an impossible to task to listen to MORE music. If you have been stuck on podcasts or news radio, make a point to listen to music on your commute. Research has shown that listening to music can improve your heart rate, lower blood pressure and decrease the stress hormone, cortisol.
6.) Explore the World
“Getting away from it all” really does have a positive impact on your health. Sometimes you just need to step outside for a walk in the fresh air, while other times you may need to plan a two week vacation. Taking vacations can reduce your chance of developing heart disease and can lead to improved job performance, as you get to recharge your brain.
7.) Learn a New Hobby or Skill
Have you ever wanted to learn to play the guitar? Maybe you want to learn to crochet a blanket? Take a class to learn a new skill that will spark your creative side and build your confidence, or you can join a photography or stargazing club. You may not just learn a skill but meet new friends along the way.
I know I have, by no means, mastered all of these things but I do feel better when I live with a compassionate and creative heart. Just remember, if you choose to set resolutions for yourself, have compassion for yourself. Should you drop off on following them, there is nothing preventing you from picking up where you left at any time of the year. Have a happy, peaceful, kind, and prosperous 2020! I’m rooting for YOU!