Self Improvement

8 Habits to Ditch In The New Year

The new year is just a few weeks away and no – I can’t believe it, either. Whenever a new year rolls around, I try to set some goals and intentions for the new year but can’t be clear enough that they’re not resolutions because those usually seem lofty and unattainable, and what’s the point in that? Here are a few things to ditch before 2018 rolls around.

MAKING UNREASONABLE GOALS

Yep. There it is. You’re probably not giving up sugar, never looking at your phone after 9PM, working out every. single. day. and reading at least 2 books each month. And if you are, we all want to know what your secret is. Choose just a few things that you’d like to focus on and trade those lofty resolutions for things you know you can achieve this year.

BEING “BUSY”

Maybe it’s aging, but over the past year or so, I’ve really tried to embrace doing nothing but sometimes it just happens. Someone asks for help or wants to get together when you don’t have time, you say yes to that extra project, try to cram in plans all weekend, and you say yes when you really shouldn’t. Before you know it, you’ve overcommitted and feel like something has to give.

Try not being busy in 2018.

I love spending time with friends but try not to overbook my weeks or weekends. If I have plans on Tuesday and Wednesday, I’m definitely staying home Thursday night. Same goes for weekends. Scheduling in time to do nothing is so good for you. If a friend asks if you can get together, it’s ok to be busy relaxing with yourself. Sometimes you just need to stay in bed all morning, binge watch a show, or read a book. Not having plans can be the best plans of all, and in this “age of busy” it’s easier than ever to let those slow moments go.

STAYING TOO CONNECTED

This is a tough one for most of us (myself included) but try setting up designated times to put your phone away and to be more present in 2018. I’ve been plugging my phone in (in another room) at night and really like checking out/ being unavailable for a few hours. Make a no phone policy when you’re dining out with friends or set some general ground-rules to put yourself in situations where you’re more present.

Feeling really motivated? Try unplugging everything (yes, I’m suggesting no TV, too) and reading a book. I usually only read 2-3 max a year (so sad) but am determined to read a few more this year. Great excuse to finally get that book club going, right?

NOT SAYING NO

I wrote a post on the importance of saying no, but let’s take away this one really significant point. You’ll be another year older next year and isn’t it time you stopped saying yes to things you don’t want to say yes to.

NOT TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF

You only live once, so if you haven’t been eating healthy or working out, you should probably get on that. Don’t like working out? I used to hate it, too. Then I found a workout I loved (CrossFit) and bam – I wanted to work out almost every day. I eventually found my way to a mix of Orange Theory and Pilates (at Pilates ProWorks). The point here is that you should try a few new classes, apps, (or even running if that’s your thing) until you find something you enjoy.

When it comes to following a healthy diet, I’ve learned that you can’t completely eliminate sugar, bread, and all the really good stuff that isn’t the best for you, so I usually eat clean during the week and splurge a little bit on weekends. When I’m being really strict I’ll just have 1-2 cheat meals a week and follow a healthy (mostly paleo) diet the rest of the time but completely eliminating the things you love sucks and it’s no fun.

And I’d never tell you to just quit wine, but keep in mind that vodka or tequila soda with a little lime juice has a lot less sugar. Whole30 is a really great way to kick off a healthier lifestyle since it’s only 30 days and anyone can do something for just 30 days.

HOLDING ON TO “STUFF”

As someone who used to have an entire t-shirt drawer that over the past 2 years became one small stack of t-shirt piles, I can tell you firsthand that only having things in your home that you use and love feels really good. Toss the craft box you haven’t used in 2 years (yes, I had one of those), get rid of the clutter, and sell or donate the clothes you never wear (we all have them). I recommend selling clothes through Thredup, and eBay and usually donate to Goodwill and Heartland Alliance.

COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS

Back in my 20s, I was really focused on the fact that I hadn’t hit all the milestones I thought I needed to hit before 30, only to learn that none of that mattered. One of my closest friends had kids really young and I remember feeling like I’d never get there. Keep in mind her oldest is 9.  A few years ago I woke up alone on Christmas. This year, I’m spending it with my husband and in-laws and it’s wonderful but it’s still not perfect. I’m really struggling with the fact that I don’t have a close relationship with either of my parents (ok, and zero relationship with my dad) but it’s a part of my story and I really do believe that it will all make sense someday.

For now, I can focus on the fact that I’ve been able to help some of you feel less alone. And I work really hard to remember that I’ve built a pretty amazing family here in Chicago.

It’s easier than ever to compare ourselves to everyone (literally everyone – thanks, Instagram) but let’s not forget that a. the internet is just a glimpse b. your journey is your own and even the tough things will get you where you’re supposed to be c. no one’s life is perfect.

PUTTING IMPORTANT THINGS OFF

Dreaming of that big trip but can’t afford to go in 2018? That’s ok, but start a savings account and figure out what you need to do to get there in the next few years. Have you been putting off starting a blog? Now’s the tie to just go for it. Is there a friend you’ve lost touch with that you’ve been meaning to reach out to? We spend so much time on the little things that we often lose sight of the big ones.

What are some habits you hope to ditch in 2018?

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