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10 Resolutions Every Psychologist Wishes You’d Make for a Happy New Year

Out with the old, in with the new! These expert-approved resolutions will transform you into your best self this new year!

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Use envy as your motivation to achieve your goals

Envy is perceived as this negative emotion, but you can surprisingly make envy work with you not against you!  “Be curious about the things in people’s lives that make you feel envious,” says Pilar Jennings, PhD, a psychoanalyst in New York City. “It’s a signal that they have something that you want so instead of hating them let yourself be curious about the thing you may want and go for it.” For example, if you envy your newly promoted coworker, talk to your boss about how you can take on more responsibilities at work so you too can get a promotion in the future. Every time you start to feel that envy bubbling inside you, focus on what you need within yourself and use it to your advantage to go after what you want. Envy isn’t the only emotion that can work in your favor—jealousy can too

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Try an activity outside of your comfort zone

There’s nothing better than a little push outside of your comfort zone to test your limits and potential. “People tell themselves, ‘I need to get comfortable with this idea and then I’ll go ahead and do it,’” says Anthony Tasso, PhD, ABPP, Chair and Associate Professor of Psychology and Counseling at Fairleigh Dickinson University with a clinical practice in Whippany, New Jersey. “However, it’s often the reverse—you do it first and then you eventually get comfortable.” Don’t be afraid to let your mind run wild as you envision the thing you always wanted to try. Once you’ve honed your desired experience, start researching the steps you need to take to make it happen. But keep in mind that it’s OK if a new challenge isn’t a perfect fit right away. The point is that you had the courage to try something new, which in turn may give you the push you need to challenge yourself in a different way again. Take your journey towards a “new you” even further with these 50 small changes that will make you happier!

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Plan a date with yourself

The relationship with yourself needs just as much tender, love, and care as the one you have with your partner or best friend. Set up a night where you cook a delicious gourmet meal for yourself, go to the spa for a massage, or try one of these 15 fun activities anyone can do by themselves. Each time you do something good for yourself say, “I’m taking care of myself because I matter,” says Chloe Carmichael, PhD, a psychologist in New York City. The importance of “me” time is essential for maintaining happiness and good health because you’re just as important as anyone else.

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Stop being your biggest bully

“One of the biggest barriers to personal change is when people are too hard on themselves,” says Tasso. Take a moment to stop and engage with your inner dialogue every time your mind starts to tear you down. You can start the conversation asking yourself questions like, “Why am I being so hard on myself?” or “Would I ever speak to a friend or coworker like this?” Self-reflection is a great way to quiet the bully inside your head. “Sometimes people equate self-acceptance with complacency,” says Tasso. “But you can still strive for self-improvement and accept who you are.” Start being nice to yourself using these 10 tricks!

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Interrupt your daily routine with something new

“We all have protective patterns, but I think it’s helpful to shake things up a little,” says Jennings. “Try interrupting a pattern just to see what it feels like.” You want to find a way to bring something new to your everyday experience whether it be the simple task of driving a different route to work or talking to someone new in your fitness class. You’ll be surprised to find how these tiny tweaks to your routine can bring more joy and awareness to your life.

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Go to a work conference

Even if you’re the best employee at your office, there’s always room for career development. Carmichael recommends attending a work conference or signing up for monthly networking events to freshen up your skill sets and stay on top of the things happening in your professional industry. Plus, it never hurts to schmooze with the peers in your profession to steal some tips and tricks for how to do your job better. Here are 15 New Year’s resolutions guaranteed to land you the promotion of your dreams!

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Schedule pillow talk sessions with your partner

It’s difficult for couples to reconnect when they deal with the daily hustle and bustle of parenting, work, and opposite schedules. “Everyone is driven crazy by their partner, so resolve to be curious about those reactions,” says Jennings. “It requires the joint willingness to do that check-in with each other.” Take a half hour out of your night to ask about your partner’s day or inquire how they’re feeling about your relationship. In fact, it’s scientifically proven that alone time can work miracles on the bond you and your partner share

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Do community service

Random acts of kindness are a great way to spread a little much-needed light and love in the world—just ask these people. “We’re living through an extremely turbulent time throughout the globe and it’s great to resolve to respond to the suffering in any way that you can,” says Jennings. “It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture.” The list of do-gooder tasks is endless from buying a coffee for a person in line to volunteering at a local soup kitchen. Any contribution great or small that comes from the heart makes a difference. Take note of these 10 inspiring ways you can change someone’s life today

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Take a trip

Countless studies have shown how going on a vacation boosts your mental health and overall wellbeing in a major way. But new research shows that you may reap the rewards of your vacation before you even go! Researchers from Cornell University found that the enjoyment from experiential purchases may begin even before you buy. In fact, the researchers found that people who thought about buying experiences like ski passes or concert tickets were much happier than people who anticipated spending money on possessions. Here’s how skipping your annual family vacation may put your health at risk

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Stretch at your desk

It may sound obvious, but many people who sit in an office don’t realize how sedentary they’ve been all day. Take a moment to unglue your eyes from the computer screen and stretch your body—using this easy desk stretch— or go for a brisk walk around the office. Not only will the break get your blood pumping, it’ll also help you de-stress and increase your productivity. “We don’t know what we are feeling emotionally unless we are connecting with the body,” says Jennings.

Ashley Lewis
Ashley Lewis received her Master’s Degree from CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in 2015. She was a Jason Sheftell Fellow at the New York Daily News. and interned at Seventeen and FOX News before joining Reader’s Digest as an assistant editor. When Ashley is not diligently fact-checking the magazine or writing for rd.com, she enjoys cooking (butternut squash pizza is her signature dish), binge-watching teen rom-coms on Netflix that she’s way too old for, and hiking (and falling down) mountains.