No matter how you celebrate it, the holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year (at least according to the song). If you’ve been nice during the 2019 calendar year, you should expect to receive some love in return for the love you’ve given. On the opposite end, if you find yourself on the naughty list, try not to scrooge it up for everyone else (that’s a joke). Regardless of which list you find yourself on (we won’t judge), you’re probably ready to relax, celebrate, and wind down 2019.

As far as the New Year is concerned, the saying goes: “a new year brings new beginnings.” But you don’t have to wait around for January 1st to make a resolution. Even though resolutions play a big part in a healthy new year, it’s not a good idea to refuse change when change is needed. In other words, if you feel like a particular aspect of your life is sliding, it should be dealt with in a timely manner.

Simply put, a New Year’s Resolution can happen any time of the year. It could be in the dead of winter, or on the 4th of July. It’s important to stay connected to your own personal needs and not worry so much about what everyone else is doing. If change is what you desire in 2020, remember to set short-term, reasonably attainable goals to build momentum. And don’t throw in the towel if you steer off course. We’re all just human and we’re all striving to be the best versions of ourselves.

Tips for a Happy, Healthy New Year:

Adopt a Flexitarian Eating Style – The key with healthy eating is finding the right mix for optimal function. For example, some people go vegan every day until dinner. Others go paleo during week, but not on weekends. Other people who eat mostly fish (pescatarians) can go for an occasional steak or burger without feeling guilty. As for myself, I try to use the 80/20 rule to my advantage. I try to eat healthier foods eighty percent of the time, while not worrying so much about the other twenty percent. Personally, I believe balance is important when it comes to any diet or eating style. Long-term deprivation of enjoyment can cause a decent amount of stress, which is much worse for our health than an occasional donut.

Be Creative & Use Your Imagination – Most people undervalue their own creativity, and most of us quit on our imagination years ago. However, both of these attributes can be extremely helpful, especially when attempting to reshape or manage our self-image. We’ve all tried “fake it until you make it” or “act like you’ve been there before.” But these ideas don’t last because our self-image doesn’t change. And if our self-image doesn’t change, neither do we. We can fake something all we want, but most of us are just trying to be real.

In 2020, try to be creative and spend some time in your imagination. And don’t be afraid to step out of the box and experiment with new routines. Your self-image just may fall into place along with other habits you’re working on.

Dismiss Those Negative Thoughts – If you didn’t know by now, negative thoughts are a part of life. In fact, many of us experience negative thoughts on a regular basis. For some (including myself), it seems like the more we build ourselves up, the more a negative thought can tear us down. Especially when we’re just trying to do the best we can.

The best way to deal with a negative thought? Dismiss it right away. Seriously, don’t even give it the time of day. When a negative thought is quickly dismissed, it has no time to impact our self-image. If that’s not enough, fewer negative thoughts tend to creep in once dismissal becomes a habit. I know this is easier said than done, but making the effort is well worth it.

Be THAT Kind of Person – What kind of person do you want to be in 2017? The kind of person that complains when things don’t go a certain way. The kind of person that says things without taking others into consideration. Maybe the kind of person that eats anything in sight. Or someone that doesn’t like to go to the gym too often.

But maybe you want to be the kind of person that endures regardless of the situation. Or the kind of person that thinks before speaking. How about the kind of person that eats fresh and healthy food. Or maybe someone who loves taking group fitness classes. Keep in mind, your self-image will bend over backwards to fulfill any label you put on yourself. So, what kind of a person do you want to be in 2020? The power is in your hands.

Have a safe, happy, and healthy new year.