18 Resolutions for 2018
Even as the new year starts to settle in, there is still time to think about goals and resolutions for the year. Let me help you get started, or push you further, with this 2018 resolution and bucket list guide.
1. Stress Less
WOAH, okay, so starting off with a big one. Everyone experiences stress from different parts of their life, but there are some key ways to find your calm no matter the situation. The term "mindfulness" often circulates on social media or health magazines, but what does it really mean? Practicing mindfulness can include anything that relieves your mind from one activity and moves it to another. This may seem very broad and it should; mindfulness is a completely individualized task. Examples may include meditation. Taking 3 to 10 minutes a day to focus on breathing, close your eyes, think about the essence of the body and not the concerns of daily life. However, for some people this may sound nightmarish and only cause more anxiety. Therefore, mindfulness may include reading a book, having a conversation with a friend, listening to music, or exercising. The only activity discouraged during mindful time includes screens. While it may seem counterintuitive to suggest reading a book as mindful but watching TV as not, the cognitive functions of each activity vary and result in different effects.
2. Find Good Music
Another highly individualized goal, but important nonetheless. Break out of the genre you currently listen to at least for a week or so—try something new. Do you fall into the pit of listening to the same artist radio or playlist all the time? It's okay, venture away. You will hear tunes you can't stand but you may also find a perfect song or genre. Be bold! Don't know where to start? Check out MODA's Spotify playlists or try these:
3. Try New Coffee Shops — Even if You Don't Like Coffee
It isn't just about the coffee, it's about the discovering your community. Get out and explore, especially if you live in the Chicago area. Here are a few suggestions.
ON CAMPUS: Grounds of Being, Swift Hall Basement of the Divinity School
SOUTH LOOP: Café Press, 800 S Clark St
IN THE LOOP: Goddess and the Baker, 33 South Wabash Ave.
NORTHWEST LOOP: Sawada Coffee, 112 N Green St
4. Make Destination-Study/Work Trips
As a student at the University of Chicago, I have to admit we are extremely spoiled to have beautiful places to study. Whether you're into the Hogwarts feel at Harper, the Mansueto Space Ship, or good ole' Reg it's pretty hard not to find your place to study. But sometimes getting out of Hyde Park and utilizing other great Chicago study spots can bolster your motivation, give you a breath of fresh air, and keep you on task. While the general advice to go somewhere new to study applies to anyone, if you're in the Chicago area, make use of the Chicago Public Library system. The new Chinatown Library is only a few stops down the red line and offers big windows with abundant natural light. It's also ideal for boba tea study breaks or grabbing dinner in Chinatown before heading home. The Harold Washington Library in South Loop also acts as a can't miss study or work destination. Nine floors of books, nooks, and space, it gives the Reg a serious run for its money.
5. Attend More Shows
"But I'm broke!" You say. Going to a show does not mean having to spend a lot of money. Maybe "attending a show" means open mic night, going to the Art Institute (free for UChicago students), or seeing the Chicago Symphony Orchestra ($15 for student admission). Think outside the box; seeing a show doesn't mean spending $150 to sit in the nosebleeds at Kanye's world tour. However, if you are interested in seeing a concert, check out the Chicago Winter Concert Schedule.
6. Get to the Gym
It almost feels like a joke to set this quintessential New Year's Resolution due to it's cliché nature, but I'm here to tell you it's far from a joke. Check out this guide to Focusing on Fitness in the New Year.
7. Find Motivation
Getting bogged down by the overwhelming cold and darkness that exists as a byproduct of winter in Chicago often decreases motivation, but there are a couple quick strategies to help abate a case of unproductive syndrome. Think of a mantra to tell yourself when the going gets tough. It's important for your mantra to use positive language. This may sound cheesy, but telling yourself "Get this work done because if you don't you're worthless" is far less motivating than thinking something more along the lines of "This work is a stepping stone" of thinking of the beneficial outcomes of your work, no matter how undesirable they may seem in the moment. Another strategy is to work in intense bursts rather than attempting the marathon-work schedule. The mind can really only focus for around 70 solid minutes at a time, and even that amount of time takes practice to achieve full concentration for that duration. Taking breaks, small 5-10 minutes even, can provide immense benefits to your productivity. Have you ever had the feeling that your best ideas come right before bed? This is because right before sleep your mind does not try to focus on one singular activity and instead continues working behind the scenes per say to connect the information it absorbed during the day. Taking breaks between bouts of working can have similar "lightbulb moment" effects. To read more about the Stress-Recovery balance check out the book Peak Performance by Brad Stulberg and Pete Magnus.
8. Have Great Relationships
Focus on communication and not just digital communication, actual face-to-face or (god-forbid) phone calls. Texts, snaps, and chats are important in today's digital world, but get out there and talk to people too! Stop using SnapMaps all the time. It's creepy.
9. Look Good… Every Day
Wouldn't it be a dream to walk out the door looking like a GQ model or like we just got out of a Vogue shoot? Unfortunately my advice won't guarantee that outcome, but try laying out your clothes the night before. That way you can preview outfits the night before and walk out the next morning with no regrets. Also, always check MODA for new posts on the latest fashion trends, brands to follow, and fashion advice from UChicago students featured in Quad Style.
10. Throw Away Self Consciousness
As a footnote to the previous resolution—"looking good is subjective." I can walk out the door looking good in leggings and a sweatshirt, because that's what I want to wear. So leave behind feelings of inadequacy due to clothing or appearance. This point may sound overly motivational, and I apologize. What I'm asking you to do is something impossible for any human to perfectly practice, but take it as an important day to day consideration. Genuine attracts genuine, and those relationships will prevail over judgement from others.
11. Drink More Water
HYDRATE OR DIEDRATE. HYDRATE. H Y D R A T E. The infinitudes of health benefits stemming from proper hydration need no further explanation from me, take it from the experts.
12. Read Great Books, Articles, Poetry, Words
13. Listen More to Others
In the same vein as having better relationships and communicating well with others, listening completes the trifecta of socially based resolutions. Ask yourself a couple questions to evaluate your listening skills: When in a conversation, how much are you speaking? Do you let other people into the conversation? If someone asks you how your day is, do you ask them back? Be attentive, responsive, and patient in conversation.
14. Find Your Routine
Not everyone enjoys holding to a schedule, but a routine implies a different function than a schedule. Routines form habits, while schedules form plans. Design a routine full of healthy habits by prioritizing sleep, consistent exercise (this doesn't mean you have to go to the gym for an intense workout, just walk around the block or be active in some capacity during the day), nourishing food, spending time with friends, and maintaining a sustainable work-life balance.
15. Try Yoga: Seriously
Yoga has very disparate stereotypes. Let's clear one thing up—yoga is for everyone. You don't have to be able to do the splits or touch your toes. Yoga can be simply a meditative time or a full body workout, but the significant range of forms and routines makes it accessible to everyone. There are tons of yoga videos on YouTube that are great to follow
16. Do Things You Don't Want to Do
With a Positive Attitude
17. Travel (Big or Small)
Similar to the predicament faced when discussing the "attend more shows" resolution, people often think taking a trip needs to be a grandiose ordeal. Traveling may mean taking a bike ride to the other side of town for the day or hoping on a plane across the world. It's easy to look at these two situations and see the bike ride as an improbable "trip" but as cliché as it may be, life really is about the journey not the destination.
18. Remember to Laugh
Life is going to throw some pretty crazy stuff at you this year—as usual. Don't lose sight of the good.
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