woman writing in a journal

The countdown has begun and we’re well on our way to leaving 2017 in the dust. Yes, the new year is nigh, which, as the tradition goes, means it’s time to reflect and make some changes. So, how are you going to make your New Year’s resolutions count this time around? For a little inspiration, here are eight empowering resolutions to try in 2018.

1. Stop Saying Negative Things

Negativity is like a virus. Once you let it into your life, it will spread. It taints everything – even the good things – with a tinge of glum gray. To make matters worse, there’s a whole load of research suggesting negative talk is bad for your health.

While you may think talking about your woes is helping you deal with them, it’s not. It’s time for some cold, hard truth here. Indulging in negativity is like binge-eating a ton of chocolate: it may feel good at the time, but it will make you seriously sick.

2. Break Your Gossiping Habit

“Obviously, don’t say anything but….” No. Stop it. Close your lips before you do it again. It’s not worth the hassle. If you’re a chronic gossip, it’s time to change your ways. As 2018 dawns, promise yourself that you will break this nasty little habit once and for all.

Concerning yourself with other people’s business and talking about them in hushed tones by the water cooler will do you no good. Either they will find out and see you in a whole new light or they won’t; either way, it makes you a pretty terrible friend and an even worse confidant.

3. Keep a Daily Wellness Journal

writing in a journal

I’m not talking about the type of journal where you write your crush’s name and draw a thousand hearts around it. (Unless, of course, you want to start one like that, in which case – go right ahead!) I’m talking about a wellness journal, i.e. an account of how you are both mentally and physically on a day-to-day basis.

The act of writing down your stresses, feelings, and health levels can not only boost your immune system, but also help you manage your emotions, according to research from the American Psychological Association. So, if you’re the type of person who experiences a roller coaster’s worth of moods at times, this could well help you ride it.

4. Give Your Friends a Confidence Boost

When was the last time you gave your bestie a genuine compliment? All too often, we get so wrapped up in our own lives that we forget to praise those around us. Your closest friends take that role in your life for a reason. They are worthy of your commendation.

What’s more, the odd “You are so darn productive today” or “I love how thoughtful you are” can go a long way. Not everyone wears their heart on their sleeve. Your friends may seem fine and dandy on the surface, but they could be in dire need of a little pick-me-up beneath. Be the one to give it them.

5. Get Fit and Healthy, Not Just Slim

If you’ve already jotted down “get skinny” on your resolution list, it’s time to take a long, figurative look in the mirror. Consider why you feel this way. Do you want to look a certain way? Do you feel pressure to conform to someone else’s idea of what makes you beautiful? In truth, the most likely route for your urge to shed pounds comes from a place of negativity.

staying fit

Let’s flip this resolution on its head. Instead of wanting to slim down, aim to boost your health and fitness. Only 51.7% of the US population follows the Physical Activity Guidelines for aerobic physical activity, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. That means that nearly half of us are not as fit as we should be. It’s time to change that. Start small and build your fitness levels up for the best results.

6. Learn How to Say No

You already know how to say it; but despite this, it’s a word many of us don’t use often enough. People-pleasers (that could be you!) agree to all kinds of things – from dinner parties to babysitting – that they have zero interest in doing. If that sounds familiar, do yourself a favor and start standing your ground. Saying you don’t want to do something is not selfish, rude, or mean. It’s the right thing to do. You’ll save yourself a whole load of hassle by being direct and honest from the get-go. Plus, you won’t have to do things you hate. Bonus.

7. Quit Comparing Yourself to Others

As the late, great Hemingway once allegedly said, “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” While there’s an undeniable amount of truth here, many of us can’t help comparing ourselves to others. Plus, in the era of social media, this naughty little sin can be more damaging than ever before. According to a recent study by the University of Houston, comparing your life to that of your online friends can lead to “long-term destructive emotions” and, in some cases, depression. While quitting this habit may be harder than most, it’s worth the trouble.

8. Let Go of Your Regrets

As you lie in bed at night, the scene replays again and again in your mind. You keep thinking of the words you should have said or the things you should have done. Here’s a quick piece of advice that you really need: Let. It. Go.

happy woman

Living with regrets is not only painful, but it can also have a negative impact on your physical health. Research from Concordia University found that having regrets and feeling unable to let them go led to a “biological dysregulation of the hormone and immune systems.” A new year offers a clean slate. For the sake of your health, wave goodbye to your past. For good.