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RIDICULOUSLY SIMPLE BUT IMPACTFUL NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS



January is a great time to contemplate simple actions that can vastly improve the coming year. These straightforward and attainable tasks are meant to help you live a richer life, while also helping you better navigate through its many complications.

TAKE A MOMENT TO LOOK UP THE NIGHT SKY

We all get caught up in the stresses of everyday life. Our minds are constantly embroiled in a myriad problems that need solving, a Friday deadline looming ahead, a friend who needs a shoulder to cry on, a spontaneous purchase that might drain your account once the bills come in. Taking a few seconds to look up might be just what you need. That moment to exhale while marveling at the vast universe above is enough to give one a little perspective. Breathe in the oxygen to relax the brain and focus your mind on something faraway and inconsequential. Some may call it grounding, centering or meditating. I simply call it taking a moment for yourself. It's a small reminder of how lucky you are to be living in a planet that happens to sit right in the Goldilocks Zone, allowing it to be habitable by life. Beyond that precious mass is a vast and wondrous infinite extension of existence. These small moments of being absolutely present is crucial, if you wish to truly live. Otherwise, you'll be locked into a repetitive mundane existence, eternally plagued by anxiety. Perspective is an infinitely useful tool. This ritual is a great reminder of how you can implement it in any situation, no matter how complicated it may seem.


SAVOR YOUR FOOD

Take the time to really enjoy the food you're eating. Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between food enjoyment and nutrient absorption. Participants from Thailand were fed two dishes with the same amount of iron. One  is an authentic Thai dish while the other is Swedish. The individuals who consumed Thai cooking absorbed twice as much iron (Cool Mannutrition article). This implies that eating isn't merely a chemical process. Emotional, psychological and sociocultural factors also play a big part in feeding our bodies.

This falls under the self-care resolution category. It's important to eat the dishes that you enjoy the most. Eating healthy doesn't have to entail eating unsavory dishes like plain chopped vegetables. Look for enticing recipes that stimulate the palate. Be aware of food textures and consistencies that are more pleasing to you. It also helps to have less distractions while eating. It's much harder to truly savor a meal when you're busily discussing a serious topic with a friend. Put away all distractions like social media or live streaming apps and really take the time to fully absorb and enjoy what you eat.

DO SOMETHING CHILDLIKE

Allow yourself the freedom to be a kid again. Whether it's treating yourself to a cup of pudding or watching cartoons. Yes, it's perfectly fine to watch Winnie the Pooh as an adult. If you feel strange doing this alone, do it while babysitting. It's important to allow that youthful version of ourselves to come out every once in a while. This is important because we are the most genuine version of ourselves as children. Connecting with childhood memories and our little-er selves, allows us to better understand what we want, who we are, and where we need to go. As adults we've been trained to put on hundreds of facades and walls to protect ourselves. At times, the only way to break down these walls is to lure out that fearless little kid who doesn't care what anyone else thinks. It's an exercise to help release the preconditioned behaviors imposed on us, allowing for a more in-depth introspection. For parents, this could help you better understand your kids. Those who are single may find a sense of freedom and seld-assurance lost through time.


LAUGH MORE

Laughter truly is the best medicine. Your emotional disposition has a huge impact on your body's ability to recover from stress and disease (Mayo clinic article). There are so many ways to inject a little giggle here an there. You can stop by a comedy club or simply put on a Netflix comedy special. I highly recommend Ellen's Relatable. If you're in Japan you could join the yearly laughing festival. The Japanese people believe that laughing has spiritual powers. Laughter can indeed change the energy of a space. A room filled with laughter feels like home. Surround yourself with positive and uplifting people. Another effective and less tedious way to inject joy into your life is to find people who are generous, funny and nurturing. Regardless of what your current state of affairs may be, a little levity may be just what you need to brighten a dreary outlook.

MAKE YOUR BED

Making your bed first thing in the morning is an activity that benefits the mind and body. This practice gives you a sense of control and relieves anxiety. Tidying allows you to start the day right by being extra productive. Plus, it's one less thing you have to tidy after a long exhausting day at work. It also gives your muscles as chance to warm up and stretch out. The bigger the bed, the better. If you sleep with a partner, this is a great practice to enforce teamwork and coordination as a couple. This seemingly simplistic task also benefits your room energetically. Think of it as a poor man's Feng Shui.

These resolutions may seem trivial at first but the more you practice them, the stronger the impact you'll feel as the months go by. I believe in easy to follow resolutions that can yield the most benefits. Don't overcomplicate your list with elaborate tasks and responsibilities. The idea is to improve your quality of life and not to overburden yourself with too much work and unreasonable expectations.

Photos by: Tim FosterJustin Young & Pablo Merchán Montes

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