20 New Years’ Commitments for Mind, Body, and Soul
The coming of a new year and a new decade is a perfect mental trigger for starting fresh. But if you’re like more than 92% of people, your resolutions from last year are still sitting on the shelf, waiting to be realized. This year, bounce away from that statistic by setting goals instead of resolutions.
Why personal goals vs. resolutions
What’s the difference between a goal and a resolution? First off, the etymology of both words is interesting. A resolution is a decision to do or not do something. A goal is a desired result, or “product of a person’s ambition.” Just the vocabulary makes one more appealing than another! But it’s even more than that.
In a study reported on by Forbes, researchers found that people who set resolutions tend to make them vague: intentions such as “lose weight” or “eat healthier” or “take care of my body.” These phrases might be painfully familiar.
But goals are far more achievable and specific. A goal requires you to break down the process of achieving your intended result. For example, take “eat healthier.”
How are you going to eat healthier? What changes will you make, and what new habits will you form? Who will you talk to for accountability or advice? Where will you find a healthy eating plan? When do you plan to reach your goal, and what will a satisfactory result look like? A goal requires commitments to reaching a larger result.
Ditch resolutions this year. Set personal goals instead
Before we dive into goal-setting ideas, let’s talk about the actual process of making goals that work for you.
Many people have found the best way to set and achieve a goal is by making it “SMART.” First designed for businesses, SMART goals work just as well for your personal life. Why? Because they are clear and attainable. When you’re writing your goals for this year, make sure they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time bound. When you look at it from that perspective—broken down and measurable—completing each small step offers a confidence boost. And that, really is why goals work better than resolutions.
Here are some other reasons setting goals is a more effective New Years’ practice than making resolutions:
- Goals encourage action. You have a result in mind, and seeing that trophy in the winner’s circle helps keep you going.
- Goals and commitments bring focus. It’s been said before, but it’s really true: what the mind believes, the mind achieves. If you set a goal that you know you can meet, you will!
- Goals thrive on momentum. If you ever had a reading chart as a kid, didn’t placing a sticker on each square encourage you to do more? Taking steps towards an ultimate goal bring excitement and momentum.
- Goals promote self-confidence. As you achieve your goals, you learn self-mastery, and with self-mastery comes a more sure belief in yourself.The more confidence you have, the more likely you are to achieve goals.
All of these points are supported by research on how the brain responds to setting and achieving goals. Goals are a way to help you understand what is expected of you, whether you set the goal or someone else does. In the medical world, goals encourage patients to take steps towards recovery. In your everyday life, goals help you achieve what you envision for yourself.
If you’re looking for a way to heal, mentally, physically, or spiritually, goals can help you on that path.
Ideas for personal goals this year
If you are stuck and unsure about what goals to set, here are some ideas. We’ve chosen goals that will help increase your health holistically. Think of your mind, your body, and your soul as you make commitments to improve this year. Please note—each of these goals is just a starting point, and will require extra customization to make it just right for you and your lifestyle.
- Think about reducing the amount of meat you eat. Not only is it good for your body, it’s also healthy for our planet. Even if you only take meat out of one meal each day, it can make a difference.
- Eliminate or reduce the amount of processed sugar you eat. Try writing down everything you eat with processed sugar: The amount will probably surprise you. Reducing it by half this year can make a big difference in way you feel.
- Eat the right number of calories. Many of us aren’t eating enough! Take a look at what is healthy for you and make adjustments by adding healthy snacks into your menu planning.
- Eat more locally sourced foods. Help your neighbors; help yourself. Locally sourced foods have more vitamins and nutrients than foods shipped from far away, and you’re helping local businesses, too.
- Increase the amount of exercise you do each week. Exercise is generally one of the top goals written down at the beginning of each year. If this is on your list, make sure you start small—make it attainable!
- Try a sport or form of exercise you’ve always wanted to try. If you’re already exercising, try mixing it up! Try a sport you’ve never done before. Or take a dance class with your partner.
- Incorporate new foods into your menus. Try a new dish once a week, and you’ll be surprised at the number of foods you love.
- Take your exercise outside; try hiking, outdoor walks, or park yoga. There are dozens of great reasons to exercise outside, but one of the best is that it’s not just healthy for your body, it has positive mental and emotional effects, too.
- Minimize the amount of money you spend. Are you struggling to stay within your budget? Now is the year to cut spending! You might be surprised at how easy it is to cut your monthly expenses by cutting subscriptions or making a sustainable budget, and it can make a huge difference in your stress levels.
- Get involved in a community project. Working in your neighborhood is great for your soul, not just because you get to see the results, but you’ll also meet neighbors who care, too, building your community & circle of friends.
- Start a gratitude journal. People who are grateful are healthier. Recording what you are grateful for is a great way to start, and it’s a beautiful record for your future family.
- Spend more time on self-care. Whether you need to set aside 5 minutes every day to meditate or journal, or you’re itching to start a new skincare regimen, take time to center yourself with rejuvenating self-care practices.
- Volunteer with an organization you feel passionate about.You’ll find more joy and positive benefits from helping others than you might imagine.
- Take a class and learn a new skill. From watercolors to gardening, dancing to baking, local community and recreation centers and even some universities offer inexpensive community-ed classes for all ages and interests.
- Set a goal to make new friends. Many of us are lonely, and it’s affecting our health. Join a community center, volunteer, or try a fitness class at a gym—and make an effort to introduce yourself to others and make and build new relationships.
- Try going sober. See how your mental clarity and focus can improve by eliminating or reducing the amount of alcohol you consume.
- Adopt a mindful eating process—try applying mindfulness practices to food and hunger instead of counting calories.
- Practice meditation as a daily habit. There are so many reasons to start meditating, but if you just need one, here it is: meditation reduces stress. If you’re unsure where to start, try some basic meditation through yoga or download a guided meditation app.
- Commit to dealing with any trauma that might be holding you back. Dealing with trauma from your past is not only healing, it’s empowering. You’ll come out on the other side a stronger, more confidant person. Research local therapy providers.
- Spend more time in nature. Try joining a community garden or going for a walk outside with a friend a few times a week. Being outside is one of the best ways to improve your mental, spiritual, and physical health.
As you choose your goals and commitments this year, balance your efforts and maintain your chi through holistic goals. Don’t just focus on one area of your life; make goals to benefit your mind, body, and soul.
If you haven’t set your goals for the new year, get started now! Observe your health from a holistic mindset and set goals in each area. Work on one at a time. Don’t set too many; keep it attainable. And remember to write them down—it really does make a difference—and post them where you can see them. Before you know it, you’ll be achieving your New Year’s Goals and beginning your best decade yet.