Originally published at cox.com. Cox Communications ranked No. 32 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.
As you jump into a new year, you may have a list of resolutions you plan to work toward. From short-term goals like reading one book per month to long-term goals like buying your first home, ambitious New Year’s resolutions can be an exciting way to hit restart and look forward to the year ahead. While succeeding in these set goals is the perfect way to show 2022 who’s boss, it’s just as important — perhaps even more — to focus on personal non-negotiables grounded in self-love. The key is to commit to acts, like the ones we’ve outlined below, that not only challenge you but also allow you to practice setting boundaries in a healthy, achievable way.
1. Make Time To Do What Brings You Joy
Whether it’s making breakfast every morning, taking an afternoon walk or practicing nightly yoga, carving out time in your day to do what you love is essential to a more fulfilling life. Jot down a couple of dozen things you love — they can be very small, simple pleasures like the aforementioned, or soul-nourishing experiences like hiking a mountain or road tripping. Keep your list easily accessible to reference anytime you need a little boost.
2. Stay in Touch With Loved Ones
Just as important as focusing on your career and education is keeping connected with friends and family. This can be as simple as a call on your way to work or a video chat on an off-duty day. You can even make it a recurring part of your routine by scheduling weekly or monthly times to connect and incorporate fun activities like watching a movie, taking a virtual cooking class or listening to a podcast.
3. Protect and Honor Your Time
While it can feel good at the moment to attend every event and work extra hours to get tasks done, it’s essential to protect and honor the precious time we have to help avoid burnout and live a gentler life. Narrow down your choices when it comes to how much time you spend on daily tasks, especially those that don’t regulate joy. Embrace your need for personal time, whether that means indulging in your guilty-pleasure TV show or simply taking a nap, we all need to set intentional measures to comfort and care for ourselves.
4. Talk to Yourself With Kindness
While it’s not an automatic shift from negative to positive, we can certainly build up a set of skills to support and be kind to ourselves just as we would with others. Start by giving your inner voice a rest and finding your inner nurturer — this could be in the form of a best friend, parent, therapist or any voice that roots for instead of against you. The next time you find yourself self-criticizing, shift negative vocabulary and thought patterns to ones filled with more compassion. And sometimes all you need is a break; don’t be afraid to ground yourself and normalize whatever you may be going through.
5. Set Higher Standards for Yourself
When you raise the standards for your life and turn “I should” into “I must,” you’re making a conscious commitment to take control over the quality of your life and not settle for less. Three of the most common areas to raise standards are creating healthy relationships, finding a fulfilling career path or routine hobby and improving general health. Break through your limiting beliefs — your glass ceiling — and live your truth!