As we wind down the last bit of 2021, it’s the time of year when people think about resolutions for the New Year. Over the last year, few people would deny that, despite our best efforts, 2021 was a challenge.
2022 is coming soon and with it springs the hope that the coming year can be better. If you have yet to sit down and make your list of hopes and to-do’s in the new year, here are a few ideas to get you started.
Goal Planning for the New Year
The holiday season is a great time to allow yourself to dream a little. Don’t be afraid to dream big! Think about what you want to have, do or be this coming year, despite all that’s happening.
Maybe you want to learn how to fly a plane or go back to school and finish your degree. Perhaps this is the year that you’ll want to start your own business or finally finish and publish that book that’s been languishing in a desk drawer for the last few years.
Do you want to save more of what you make and put it towards retirement? The New Year is the perfect time to sit down and consider your financial goals. For example, you could save more or make a plan to invest more of what you earn in a Roth IRA or retirement plan with your current employer. If possible, talk with a financial planner and develop something that works best for you.
Whatever ignites your passion, start by writing that goal or set of plans down and committing to it. Place sticky notes on your computer monitor or bathroom mirror and tell a close friend or family member who is supportive of acting as a cheerleader as you work toward your goals. Such people can also hold you accountable and help keep you on track.
Increase Your Knowledge
Today, we have more access to the tools to make our dreams come true, especially in books, online classes, and audio and video resources. Many of these skills and topics are offered free online or for a nominal fee.
If you want to increase your skills on the job, websites like LinkedIn and YouTube have learning resources that can help make it happen. You can still actively be learning while doing chores around the house or while driving.
If you’re an avid reader and want to increase the number of books you read but can’t seem to get enough downtime actually to curl up with a good book, audiobooks might be the way to go. Many of us remember what it was like to have a book read to us as children. Once you get started on the habit of listening to audiobooks, you might rediscover that love again.
Consider those whose lives and accomplishments you admire and read their biographies or memoirs. You may find they had a problem similar to yours and came up with a way to solve or overcome it.
Mindfulness in the New Year
There’s no question that the last few years have been incredibly stressful for nearly everybody. Even though we might feel buffeted and are simply reacting to the events, people, and problems that spring up around us, relaxation and meditation can help us deal with them.
Mindfulness exercises that focus on breathing and meditation help us be more present. By focusing on our breath for just a few minutes, we can better regulate our emotions, manage stress, and develop a more positive outlook.
Since ancient times, throughout Asia and around the world, taking time for a cup of tea can help create the space for mindfulness and relaxation. In 16th Century Japan, the tea ceremony or chanoyu was created around a series of rituals that promoted mindfulness through peace, gratitude, tranquility, and respect. Having respect and gratitude each day is an essential key to creating mindfulness in our lives.
Focus on overall good health
Instead of resolving to lose weight this year and then giving up after finding drastic diet restrictions too hard to maintain, try focusing on overall good health. If you are eating good, nutritious food that is less processed, getting plenty of exercise, and restful sleep, good health has a tendency to follow.
- Eat healthier. By including more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes and fresh fish, poultry, and meats that are low in fat, you can potentially improve your overall health. High-quality foods can help by lowering cholesterol levels and potentially lowering high blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.
- Drink fewer drinks high in sugar. Sugary drinks are one of the most significant contributors to obesity and the development of type two diabetes. Instead, why not make water or tea your drinks of choice in the New Year? Our Sir Jason Winters Herbal and Green teas are excellent, hot or cold year-round.
- Increase body movement. During the pandemic, many of us got used to working from home and getting little, if any, exercise. Considering the current Coronavirus resurgence, it’s still questionable whether going to the local gym to work out is considered a good idea. That doesn’t mean that you can’t do some type of exercise at home. Even if it’s just taking a walk or bike ride around the block, or doing a few mild cardio exercises or yoga every day, it can improve mood and how you feel overall.
- Get better sleep. Getting good, consistent sleep is very important in terms of overall good health. According to Health.gov, most adults require 7 hours or more of uninterrupted sleep every day. Sleep helps us to stay at a healthy weight, lessens the frequency of colds and flu, improves mood and the ability to concentrate and make better decisions. Consistent good sleep also decreases the chance of developing chronic and often more severe health conditions.
As with any set of goals or resolutions, there can be setbacks along the way. If you fall down a time or two, don’t give up! One of the best ways to achieve a goal or maintain a new habit is to make them realistic, appreciate the process along the way, and celebrate those times when you’re successful.
“The Everything Healthy Tea Book” by Babbette Donaldson, 2014, Adams Media, New York, NY
“The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide” by Mary Lou Heiss, 2007, Ten Speed Press
“Tea: A Journey in Time” by John Weatherstone, 2008, JJG Publishing, London, England, UK