Time to turn over a new leaf… but really, though. Here are some new year resolutions to make 2020 awesome.
2020 is not only a new year, it’s a whole new decade, which might have you thinking about changes you want to make in your life. Jan 1 is a great time to shake off some bad habits and pick up a few good ones. Whether you stick to your new year resolutions or not, it’s good to at least think about self-development to train your brain to continue to grow and flourish in the new year. Here are 10 new year resolutions you might want to try to make 2020 your best year yet!
1. Upgrade your morning routine
Between CTA delays and alarm clock malfunctions, you might have fallen into a bit of a routine of speeding through your morning. Maybe you hit that snooze button too many times, rush through breakfast, and/or show up to the office a little later than you’d like. Regardless, you deserve not to feel rushed in the morning. A good new year resolution is to make your morning routine less rushed and more helpful for the rest of your day.
Set yourself up for success by putting the next day’s clothes together the night before or setting your alarm for even 15 minutes earlier (you can do it!) You can also battle CTA delays by using crowd-sourcing transit apps like Pigeon or Citymapper that let you know when there’s a delay during your commute. Don’t have time for breakfast? Prepare a smoothie or overnight oats in the evening for a quick grab in the morning. There are tons of ways to make your mornings better. Find out what works for you and start your day off on a happier note.
2. Clean up your sleep hygiene
Speaking of setting your alarm earlier, getting more (and better) sleep can affect your whole week. This year, make a new year resolution to practice better sleep hygiene. Start the night before by giving yourself a reasonably earlier bedtime and stick to it. Set a reminder to make sure you stick to it and try to limit your screen usage at least 30 minutes before bed. You can also use smart alarms like Sleep Cycle or Pillow to track your sleep habits, wake you up during optimal times, and make suggestions on how to get better sleep. Have a hard time falling asleep? Try using meditation apps like Headspace or Calm to lull you to dreamland or ASMR YouTube videos to calm you down before bed.
3. Say no more often.
It can be hard to set limits and boundaries when it comes to pleasing people you care about, but you don’t have to say yes every time someone asks you for a favor or invites you out. Not only does saying yes too much set unreasonable expectations for those around you, it can also lead to serious burn-out! Give yourself permission to say no more in 2020. Your loved ones will understand and you’ll thank yourself later.
If saying no is hard for you, practicing small acts of rejection with a trusted loved one can help build up your strength to set boundaries later on. Try having someone throw a paper cup on the floor and having them ask you to pick it up. Say no. Have them do it again. Say no. Repeat. This might seem silly at first, but trust us it really does help to practice.
4. Volunteer more
Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community and makes you feel good, too! Start by finding a cause you care about and an organization that does work in that area. Is preserving wildlife important to you? Consider volunteering with the Alliance for the Great Lakes to clean up Chicago’s beaches. Want to make healthcare accessible to the LGBTQ+ community? Check out Howard Brown Health for volunteer opportunities. Volunteering is a new year resolution that not only helps your 2020, it helps others’, too! You can check out some of our favorite nonprofits doing important work in Chicago, here.
5. Replace bad habits with good ones.
Old habits die hard, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It can be helpful to replace your old habits with new, better ones, so whenever you feel the urge to break your resolution, you have something to fall back on. For example, if you want to cut down on your sugar intake, whenever you feel the urge to eat a sugary snack at work, reach for a handful of nuts instead. Better yet, keep those healthy foods in sight to remind you to snack differently. No matter what bad habit you want to kick, it’s helpful to have something to replace it with instead of just going cold-turkey and hoping for the best.
6. Pick up a new hobby!
Have you always wanted to learn how to crochet? Is aerial dance something you think would be so much to try out? Life can’t be all work and no play. Try out a new hobby in 2020. You just might surprise yourself with a hidden talent you had no idea you possessed!
7. 10-15 minutes of daily movement.
No matter what your fitness life (or lack thereof) looks like, it’s good to get your body moving a few minutes every day. Maybe you already walk a lot at your job or to the CTA station for your morning commute, but adding in a little intentional movement can help your mood, especially during the winter months. Resolve to go for a ten-minute walk during your lunch break or stretch every couple of hours. You don’t have to commit to going to the gym every day; just a little 10-15 minutes here or there can make a big difference in how your mind and body feel!
We really like the app Wakeout for getting in short little workouts during the day no matter where you are. We’ve also heard the seven-minute workout is great for busy people who still want to exercise, but we haven’t tried it ourselves. Have you? Let us know what you like or dislike about it on social media!
8. Write morning pages.
Morning pages are stream-of-consciousness writing sessions you do at the very beginning of your day. This can be right after waking up or over breakfast. The idea is to get all of your thoughts out on paper first thing in the morning to help you be more mindful during the day and prioritize what you really want. Julia Cameron popularized the practice in her book The Artist’s Way and suggests you write three pages by hand each morning, but you can do whatever works best for you. There are also several journaling apps that can help you write your thoughts down in the morning. We like MorningPages and AM Pages best.
Meditation is another great new year resolution to practice mindfulness whether you do it in the morning, during the workday, or before you go to bed. Not only is meditation good for mindfulness and relaxation, but it can also help with memory, build a stronger immune system, and lower your blood pressure. It can be harder than you think to get started, though. If you’re new to meditation, there are tons of great guided exercises on YouTube for free or through apps like Headspace and Calm.
10. Try something new for 30 days just to see if you like it.
YouTube is chock full of people trying out new habits for 30 days and documenting the process. While it might feel a little click-baity, it can be really fun to try something new and practice self-discipline. Trying something for one month is also a great way to see if it’s a resolution you actually want to adopt into your regular habits or not.
What resolutions do you have for 2020? Share them with us on social media by using the hashtag #mysecretchicago. We’d love to hear what you have planned for the new year.