New Year’s resolutions are hard. There’s a reason you haven’t been doing these things all along—because life often gets in the way of going to the gym regularly, or eating better, or spending more time on passion projects. The trick is to make sure your resolutions are specific things you can achieve in the short-term. Otherwise, they’ll just end up repeating on your list at the end of next year, still undone and haunting you.
In addition to any larger personal resolutions you might have for the new year, here are some small resolutions you can definitely achieve that will make your work life better.
1. Go to bed (slightly) earlier.
This one is hard, I know. There’s that show on TV. And Facebook isn’t going to check itself at midnight, amiright? Try moving your bedtime up in 15 minute increments, and see how it goes. You’ll get more sleep and be more ready to get moving in the morning.
2. Come up with a lunch plan.
If you don’t do this already, plan to bring your lunch more often. Spend a little time on weekends coming up with a brief plan of what you’ll bring, and pick up those items at the store. That time, plus the mere 15 minutes it will take each night to pull together a salad, pre-made soup, or sandwich, will be worth it when you’re not buying $10 salads. Ease into it by saying you’ll start with a few days per week. You don’t have to turn into someone who eats a Sad Desk Lunch everyday; bring things you’ll like eating, and eat with coworkers, or outside.
3. Don’t scrimp on the stress relief.
Maybe a half-hour kickboxing class gets out all of your frustrations. Maybe a 3-hour Netflix binge is what you need to untangle your mind from a crappy day at work. Maybe you can do yoga in your living room while your dog tries to push you out of the way and lay on your yoga mat (true story). Whatever helps you get through the week, make sure you rally to do it twice a week. The rest of the week, you can stay on the couch and think about how you should be doing that thing.
4. Don’t say “yes” to everything.
Remember that it’s okay to say no to requests or invitations if you just can’t handle them. Maybe don’t try this when your boss invites you to perform a task that’s well within your job description, but going above and beyond is not always mandatory. Sometimes it’s just not possible to be the one who juggles all the balls. Know what your limits are, and don’t be afraid to say, “No, I don’t have the bandwidth for that right now.”
5. Don’t get angry at the little things
We all have petty workplace grievances: someone who takes forever at the copier, or that guy who is just… so… annoying. Listen to the advice from that ubiquitous Frozen song and let it go. In the new year, try to tune out things that would ordinarily bump up your blood pressure. Chances are, you can’t do anything about the annoying things that people around you do, so don’t worry about them. You do you, and concentrate on what makes you more happy and productive.
You got this. None of these things require major lifestyle changes, just a few… tweaks. And even if this isn’t the year you finally finish writing that novel or lose 25 pounds, you can check these off and feel great about what you’ve changed for the better.