15 Health and Wellness Resolutions for the New Year

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Every new year brings new resolutions. 

We write out the goals we plan to accomplish, like buying that property, getting that real estate license, or fully utilizing that gym membership. New Year’s resolutions that are financially and/or physically beneficial are worthy indeed. 

However, as we launch into 2022, Black Men’s Health would like to recommend health and wellness resolutions that provide holistic enrichment as we navigate this unprecedented pandemic.   

We have assembled 15 goals that, when applied, can powerfully transform your life. Feel free to add some or all to your list. 

  1. Discover your sense of purpose. If you already have, move on to the next goal. But for those of us who struggle in this area, purpose is that central thing in life that fuels us. To find out what your purpose is, it helps to ask yourself these questions: What things were you passionate about as a child? If you didn’t have a job, how would you fill those hours? What issues do you care about the most? When you establish and execute on your purpose, you can experience life changing effects like enhanced self-esteem and a renewed sense of hope. But having a purpose can also protect you from the ill effects of this world. Purpose “make us less vulnerable to psychological discord,” states Steve Taylor, an author, lecturer, and psychology researcher. 
  2. Seek alignment. It sounds like an abstract concept, but it really isn’t. Here’s what alignment really means: It’s connecting your daily activities with your long-term purpose or goal. For example, if your goal is to write a book, make time to write everyday – page by page, chapter by chapter. If it’s to become a property owner, align your financial strategies with that goal.  
  3. Improve your ability to receive and give love. As the highest of all emotions, love offers healing, restoration, and contentment. It is especially beneficial to enlist the help of a counselor to tackle this goal. When we take concrete steps to confront our barriers around love, we enhance our lives on a mental, spiritual, and physical level. People with love and strong social bonds, live longer, have less stress, and are ultimately happier. 
  4. Face your fears. Fear can be healthy because it can keep you safe from real danger. But what if it’s keeping you from accomplishing your biggest dreams? Confronting fear builds courage, resiliency, and self-esteem.  
  5. Speaking of which, you should face your fear of failure. The Harvard Business Review recommends confronting and redefining failure and setting “approach” goals. HBR also cites what bestselling author Tim Ferris advocates: That is, creating a checklist of things you are afraid to do and the fears that come if you do them. Lifehack also suggests thinking positively, reframing goals, visualizing potential outcomes, and learning from whatever happens. By proactively engaging in this vital work, you can achieve your dreams and access your full potential. 
  6. Take breaks from social media or detox if you have to. When you spend prolonged periods of time on social media, you invariably start playing the comparison game between yourself and others, which negatively impacts self-esteem. You can start by turning off those social media notifications or completely deleting Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and/or Twitter off your phone. Whatever it takes. As far as duration. Be realistic but experiment. You can start out with a day or even a weekend. The rewards of a social media detox are manifold: It allows you more opportunities to develop deeper bonds with loved ones and frees up time to engage in more meaningful activities like hobbies and goals.
  7. Connect with loved ones and happy people. The happiest people in the world connect and make time for family and friends. They also connect with other happy people. “Being around people who are content buoys your own mood,” states this Mayo Clinic report. “And by being happy yourself, you give something back to those around you.” 
  8. Establish a daily reading habit. This practice has many mental and spiritual benefits. You not only acquire knowledge and expand your vocabulary by reading daily, but you can also reduce stress, stimulate the mind, and gain a sense of tranquility, says Lifehack. So, begin tackling that list of books you’ve always wanted to read. You can also finish those books that you bought off Amazon last year. 
  9. Work out more. Given our high rates of chronic illnesses, Black men should incorporate daily exercise because it positively impacts our physical health. However, we would be remiss if we overlooked the numerous wellness benefits of exercise. It not only reduces anxiety and depression, but it also improves mood and self-esteem. So yes, use that gym membership. If you want to avoid the gym due to the threat of Covid-19, then work out regularly at home. 
  10. Incorporate gratitude into your daily life. When you take note of all the things you are grateful for, you improve your psychological well being and overall happiness. There are actually a host of benefits, according to Psychology Today. A good way to start is by taking five or 10 minutes each day to journal the things in your life that make you grateful. It’s way better than complaining about the things you lack. 
  11. Be intentional about forgiving others. When someone has wronged us, it’s easy to hold a grudge or thoughts of revenge. But as you may have heard, when you forgive others, it’s not just for them, it is for you – a powerful act of self-care. So, what are the benefits of forgiving someone? According to the Mayo Clinic, practicing forgiveness can lead to improved mental health, self-esteem, and heart health. It can even lower blood pressure. 
  12. Laugh more. It reduces stress, it can lower heart attack risk, and even strengthen your immune system. So, watch more comedies and stand-up specials. Hang out with the homie who cracks you up. Embracing laughter, even amid negative circumstances, can make your life brighter.  
  13. Learn to be “present” by regularly practicing mindfulness. As this Mindful article states, you can practice mindfulness by engaging in deep breathing, training your brain to focus, and eliminating distractions. The benefits are many, including improved mental clarity, self control, and relationship satisfaction.
  14. Engage in “Deep Work.” Yes, we are fans of Cal Newport’s compelling book “Deep Work,” which outlines why it is necessary to engage in deep, meaningful work. In this age of distraction and hyper connectivity, deep work is rare yet treasured because of the fruit it can yield. As Newport hypothesizes, implementing this practice not only allows us to thrive in this new economy, it enables us to produce work that is meaningful and lasting. 
  15. Tap into your creativity. Is there a book you want to write, a hobby you’ve been dying to try, or an art project or website you want to launch? Do it. Being creative enhances wellbeing and brings about personal fulfillment and increased self-esteem.