New Beginnings: Starting Fresh in 2018

The year 2018 is already underway, and many resolutions individuals have made for starting fresh are in full swing — as many of you with previously existing gym memberships have probably noticed.

Though you aren’t required to make or keep resolutions each year (in fact, only 8 percent of people actually stick to their resolutions for the duration of the entire year), January 1 is a time when people often hit the “reset” button and look forward to what’s ahead, putting the past 365 days as far behind them as they can.

The start of a new year is a time when individuals and families alike are able to feel like they are starting with clean slates, even though the only thing that may have changed is the date on paper. This is often referred to as the “fresh-start effect,” which motivates people to make progress on their goals so that they can leave their old selves behind and work toward becoming their ideal selves.

Whether you’ve made commitments for yourself for 2018 or not, everyone can certainly benefit from practicing habits that improve overall lifestyle. Below are a few ways to help make 2018 a wonderful and memorable year.

Be more present. In a world in which our phones largely dominate our spare moments, it’s healthy every once in a while to disconnect from social media and our text message threads to focus on the people actually in front of us. Your Instagram feed and Facebook updates will still be there in a few hours, so let yourself be fully present in the moment with your family and friends for a bit, and don’t think about everything that’s going on where you’re not. Rather, be concerned with what’s going on in the lives of the ones who care about you most and want to share their time with you.

Take time for yourself. Life is filled with obligations and responsibilities, and those are often necessary things that must be part of our schedules, but it’s also essential to carve out some time for yourself to enjoy the things you love — even if that means simply resting and catching up on your favorite TV shows. Making time to relax allows you to find rejuvenation and be more energized to let your creativity flow when it’s needed most, whether that’s in the classroom or at the workplace.

Give grace — even to yourself. Forgiveness is an important aspect of life, especially when it comes to letting yourself off the hook every now and then. You aren’t always going to do everything as planned, and you might even make a mistake or two along the way. Remember that it’s OK to mess up sometimes. Bill Gates said that “it’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” Be willing to learn from those times when you don’t succeed, and let those moments help you grow and become the person you strive to be.

There are certainly a variety of ways to make 2018 a year to remember, and it’s OK to start with smaller goals. Though changes in routines and habits can be made at any point in time, not simply at the start of another year, beginning 2018 with these intentions in mind can help ensure you’re living every day to its fullest and making the most of the time you have.

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