A new year brings with it hope, joy, and possibility. We all start the year motivated to do better, be better, live better. But, in most cases, that motivation vanishes by the time February rolls around. In fact, “studies have shown that less than 25% of people actually stay committed to their resolutions after just 30 days, and only 8% accomplish them (Forbes).”
We don’t want you to be a part of that statistic. At Pathfinders Pastoral Care Ministries, we know progress takes time, and setting realistic goals is the first step. We’re sharing four New Year’s resolutions you can accomplish to improve your health and happiness!
1. Stay Connected with Your Faith Community
Quarantining and uncertainty have created separation from the ones we love, which leads to increased feelings of anxiety and stress. In December 2020, one study found that most Americans reported their mental health was at an all-time low – except for one group. “People that reported a positive increase in their mental health were those that attended regular religious gatherings.”
When planning your year, make time for your faith community. Whether that’s a local church or bible study group, in-person or virtually, continue meeting together and encouraging one another in faith.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” – 1 John 1:7
2. Prioritize Yourself and Your Well-Being
Life can get busy. Between work, family, errands, and responsibilities, it can be easy to lose track of a day. And soon, those days blend together into weeks and months.
This year, make sure you are prioritizing yourself. Self-care isn’t selfish, it’s about devoting oneself to protecting and sustaining mental health, and it can come in many forms.
Reframing your mindset and practicing self-compassion
Physical wellness through proper nutrition, hydration, sleep, and exercise
Staying connected with friends and having a support system
Finding time to relax and take part in activities you enjoy
Enjoying the quiet away from distractions, screens, and duties
Give yourself permission to take care of yourself, and make sure you take necessary breaks every day. Being a good partner, parent, child, friend, neighbor, employee, etc., starts with prioritizing yourself.
3. Make Time for Your Marriage
Just like you should prioritize yourself, you should also prioritize your marriage or relationship. Find ways to connect with your spouse on a daily basis. Regularly schedule to spend time together, just the two of you – and stick to it. Do little things to show your spouse that you're thinking about them.
Increasing the happiness in your marriage happens when you make the choice to do the little things that matter most each and every day.
4. Give Your Time to Others
A resolution doesn’t always have to be about bettering your own life; it can also be about bettering the lives of others.
“Make a resolution you won’t regret: giving back. Volunteering can be as big or small a commitment as time allows, but it’s always time worth spending. Not only are you lending a hand to those in need, you’re guaranteed to feel good about it, too (AARP).” Explore these creative ways to give back every month!
When it comes to setting a New Year’s resolution, it’s about being specific and realistic. For example, instead of saying, “I will pray more this year,” say, “I will set aside 15 minutes every morning for prayer.” Whatever goal you set, be patient and be kind to yourself. A new year brings 365 new chances. Take advantage of each one!