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Ten instant, easy, and completely doable New Year’s Resolutions to make you stronger, smarter—and nicer!

“So, what are your New Year’s resolutions for 2021?”

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Well, it’s that time of year—again. You can either dread it or embrace it, but either way, it’ll happen. When you fire up your laptop and head back to work on January 4th (virtually, I assume), you’ll be bombarded by the most famous seasonal question of all. Be prepared to hear, about a gazillion times, from friends, family, colleagues, and even strangers alike,  

“So, what are your New Year’s resolutions for 2021?”

Just so you won’t be caught off guard, here are ten resolutions that are achievable, straightforward, and won’t make you groan with dread as you read them. What’s more, you’ll reap enormous benefits the very second you adopt them—no waiting required!

1. Commit to being good to yourself. This first one’s easy to agree with (as in “Duh, I already know that”), and then to summarily dismiss. But instead, it’s important to stop and think about what I’m suggesting here. There’s no one in this world who’s more important to you—than you! So, make a commitment to act that way. Become your own best friend, personal advocate, cheerleader, fitness coach, nutrition counselor, and bodyguard.
2. Replace negative words with positive ones in your daily interactions. For instance, quit saying, “I’m totally envious,” or “I’m soooo jealous,” when something nice happens to a friend or colleague—even when you’re joking, which I assume you always are. Instead, say, “I’m so happy for you!” or “I’m so excited to hear about your success!” For starters, you’ll sound much more agreeable and supportive, but there’s also a more subtle, psychological reason: your brain is always “listening” to what you’re thinking and saying, and you’ll actually experience more joy and optimism within yourself by speaking to others approvingly and enthusiastically.


3. Develop a realistic, pragmatic relationship with Covid 19. Most experts believe that we’re going to be dealing with this virus in one way or another for some time to come, so do you best to make peace with your life as you know it today. Yes, I mean your current life, where you’re stuck at home, you can’t see your friends and family, and you’ve watched every single show on Netflix and Amazon Prime and HBO. You’ll be much happier—and easier to be around—if you simply stop grousing. There’s plenty of consistent, replicable research: when confronted with identical, challenging situations, complainers are much more miserable (and less likable) than people who cultivate a sunnier attitude. Think of it this way: everyone you know is experiencing some sort of inconvenience or difficulty due to Covid, so stop complaining! Wear your mask, stay six feet or more from others when you’re in public, and remain home whenever possible to protect the elderly and immunocompromised from exposure.

Bonus tip: if you’re reading this blog in 2035 (assuming Covid 19 is now a distant memory), feel free to sub out any other challenging issue in your life. Kvetching never makes things better, whereas developing an action plan—and then sticking to it—does.

4.  Call your mother. She misses you. And if you don’t have a mother, call someone (or everyone) you love. And then tell them, even if you’re unaccustomed to saying so. Wonderful things can happen when you say, “I love you”—even to your accountant or your dentist (just ask my accountant and my dentist!). And don’t start telling me that if you go running around using the word “love” on every last person you meet, it’ll get all watered down and meaningless. Who says so? Love is a beautiful emotion, one to be enjoyed by both the sender and the receiver, and there’s absolutely no evidence that you’ll “run out of love” if you spread it far and wide. In fact, from my personal experience, quite the opposite happens. The more you give, the more you receive—and couldn’t we all use a little more love right now?
5. Plan tomorrow, today (or tonight). Before you go to bed, spend a little time thinking about tomorrow. What actually needs to be done? What do you want to accomplish? And what will leave you feeling most satisfied if you tackle it? Make a list, and you’ll be ready to hit the ground running the next morning. Plus, if you wake up in the middle of the night, you’ll get back to sleep faster if you can remind yourself that everything’s already been organized for tomorrow’s tasks and activities to happen without a hitch.
6. When your alarm goes off, get up. Yep. I mean it. Literally stand up as you hit the “off” button on your smartphone or alarm clock. No snooze buttons, no lying there to “think about something” (what a ruse!), no snuggling back down under the duvet, no excuses. I presume you set your alarm for a good reason, so just get on with it. I’ve been practicing this habit since college, and it’s one of my very favorite personal time management tools.
7.  Go to bed on time. Whatever “on time” is, stick to it. You already know about the importance of sleep (hello, ten thousand articles about sleep in every magazine and newspaper on the planet), but guess what? Your body and brain also prefer consistency in your wakefulness/sleep cycles. The research is extensive on this topic, and it’s indisputable: you must not only have around 8 to 9 hours of sleep for each 24 hours of wakefulness, but it’s essential to schedule your zzz-time as consistently as possible, given our crazy, 21st century schedules. Select whatever time you think is doable, and then aim for it each night.
8. Don’t take it all too seriously. Why? Because really, it’s not. No matter how important you think you are.  
9. Develop some empathy and compassion. No, wait. Develop a ton of empathy and compassion. For all others, no matter who they are, what language they speak, what country they come from, what religion they practice, or what ethnicity they represent. And while you’re at it, develop some empathy and compassion for yourself, too. We all need it—now more than ever.
10. Listen more than you speak. Even if you fill the role of parent, teacher, favorite aunt, or CEO, just be quiet for a while (possibly a long while), and let others do the talking. You’ll learn so much about all sorts of things—not only about the thoughts, feelings, wishes, desires, hopes, dreams, and aspirations of the people around you, but about yourself, as well!

May 2021 bring all good things to you and your loved ones. Thanks, from my heart, for being a subscriber and/or follower, and I look forward to hearing from you in the new year! Contact me any time at denisemdudley.com.

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