By ALLIE MSYZKA

2018 is finally here, and it’s that time of year where many of us examine our lives and determine some things we want to change. A new year is a wonderful opportunity to “push the reset button” in certain areas of our lives. Need some inspiration for setting 2018 goals to improve your health, life, and relationships? We’ve got you covered with a few small habit changes that could make a huge difference for you this year.

Habits to start:

  1. Winding down before bedtime.

Sleep is incredibly important to our health and well-being, but too many of us practice poor “sleep hygiene,” as experts call it. It’s nearly impossible to go straight from working or actively skittering around the house to sleeping, so allow yourself more space in the evenings to quiet your mind. Even if it’s only ten or twenty minutes, taking some quiet moments away from your phone to sit and be still will help you fall asleep faster—and ultimately have a better night of rest.

  1. Practicing gratitude.

Gratitude seems to be a buzzword in self-help culture lately, but there’s a good reason for that. Practicing gratitude is as simple as reflecting on what you’re thankful for, and over time, it’s a habit that will change your outlook on life. Whether you start a gratitude journal or simply set a reminder on your phone to reflect aloud once a day on what you’re grateful for, this new habit can only lead to more joy and fulfillment in your everyday life.

  1. Being mindful of your words.

Physical health is often the subject of New Year’s resolutions, but what about emotional and relational health? All too often we ignore the power that words can have to change our relationships—for better, or for worse. Try meditating or even journaling to reflect on conversations you have with loved ones every few days, and you might be surprised by some ways you could speak with more kindness and love in the coming year.

Habits to stop:

  1. Making unnecessary apologies.

This is such a tough one for me personally. I tend to apologize for every little thing, even if I did nothing wrong. Of course, many situations do warrant a genuine apology, but save the words “I’m sorry” for the times when you need to take responsibility for your own wrongdoing. If you tend to make apologies for every little thing, try reframing what you want to say using the phrase “thank you.” Check out this unique comic (read it here) to see what I mean about “thank you” instead of “I’m sorry.”

  1. Spending excessive time on your phone or devices.

In a highly technological age, we all seem to be glued to a screen for most of our waking hours. But, what do we miss in our “real” lives when we’ve got our nose buried in the virtual world? Taking a marked break from your screens each day will not only help you decompress and be more mindful of your surroundings; it’s also good for your health and circadian rhythm (your body clock) to step away from the bright screen lights. Set yourself a reminder or put a note on your computer at work to remind you to leave your screens alone for a few dedicated minutes every hour or two.

Maybe these habit changes don’t seem groundbreaking, and in the beginning, they’re not! But over time, these small changes and new habits can truly add up and make a lasting impact on your life. Here’s to starting only the best of habits (and ditching the old, destructive ones) in 2018!

 

Allie was born and raised in Georgia, and moved to Nashville after graduating from the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!). She’s a freelance writer, an old soul, and a chronic DIY-er. Connect with Allie at alliemyszka.com.