New Year’s Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

Making a list of New Year’s resolutions seems to be an annual tradition, but according to a study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania, only 40 percent of people who made a new year’s resolution are still on track six months into their commitment.

Avoid losing track of your goals with these easy-to-keep resolutions.

Start the new year with some new friends

Sometimes it’s easier to go to the same restaurants, bars, coffee shops, etc., because they’re familiar. But sometimes, frequenting the same spots, or staying home altogether, will put you in a rut. Meeting new people is a great way to boost your mental well-being and even your career, if you meet the right people.

Meeting new people is also a great way to improve your cognitive performance. According to a study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, actively using the parts of your brain required to talk to others significantly improves cognitive scores.

Learn something new

While we’d all like to “better our education” or “get a better job,” it’s not always feasible with time constraints or financial issues. So, instead of leaping for another degree, try enrolling in a single course at an online or local community college. Learn a language or sharpen your management skills with a business course. Alison Learning, for example, offers more than 750 free online courses.

Make it a goal to finish one (emphasis on one) strenuous physical activity

Most people promise themselves each year that this is the year to finally “get in shape.” So, this year, instead of making promises we all know we can’t keep because of time, money, etc., why not set one physical goal for yourself? Try challenging yourself with one activity that will work your mind and body, like going on a two-mile hike or taking a Bikram yoga class.

Go on (small) daily adventures

Another common New Year’s resolution people make is to “travel more,” but finding the time, not to mention the money, to travel is sometimes easier said than done. Instead of emptying your bank account on an extravagant trip, try exploring new places within reach, like a new museum or a park.

Create something you’ll be proud of

Find something that will inspire you and tackle it; whether you’ve been trying to remodel your kitchen, retile the bathroom, or finally finish that scrapbook that’s been cooped up in the closet, make it something you’ll be proud of. Once you’re finished, you’ll not only have a fabulous new kitchen, but you’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing that you did it yourself.

Stress less

Saying 2016 was a stressful year is an understatement; ring in 2017 by practicing yoga or reading a book. According to a study conducted at the University of Sussex, reading actually eases the tensions in the muscles and the heart. And, compared to other stress reducers such as listening to music and drinking a cup of tea, reading reduced stress levels by 68 percent.

“Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation,” said Dr. Lewis, the man who conducted the study.

“This is particularly poignant in uncertain economic times when we are all craving a certain amount of escapism. It really doesn’t matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination,” he continued. “This is more than merely a distraction but an active engaging of the imagination as the words on the printed page stimulate your creativity and cause you to enter what is essentially an altered state of consciousness.”

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