New Year’s resolutions are stressful enough as it is so we’ve picked some of the most common and translatable New Year’s resolutions for nurses and tell you how to stay on top of them until the end of the year. First, there are three tips to remember whenever you’re starting a new goal:
- Baby steps. Get any portion of the daily goal done. Just do it consistently. Then add more in quality and quantity. Start with a walk every day, even if it’s five minutes. Then make it longer and run faster. Build the basic behavior.
- Focus on preventing “Zero Days” from happening (when you go an entire day without working towards your goal). Even if you make the smallest step towards your goal, remember: it’s still a step forward!
- Be confident and go all-in. The goals you are committed to following through with are the ones you aren’t going to drop. Stay confident and positive in your resolve to accomplish all the things you set your mind to do.
- Make SMART goals. If you set something that’s unattainable, chances are you won’t be able to make it an entire year. Set yourself up for success by establishing goals that are…
Get Into Shape
Create a schedule. A nurse’s work schedule can be erratic and hard to pin down to a regular routine. Instead of working out at a certain time or fitting it in at a certain hour, schedule it before/after work shifts whenever you have the time. Make your schedule work for you, not the other way around.
Sign up for classes. Working out alone is tough. Signing up for classes will create a stronger sense of commitment, especially since it’s an investment in more than just the class itself. Think of these classes as your training wheels to help you get off the ground with your fitness goals. You’re much more obligated to attend these classes with people who expect to see you. Once you’ve got the discipline to exercise on a regular basis, you can stop paying for classes and exercise on your own.
Meal prep. Not only will you save on costs and sharpen your cooking skills, picking what you eat prior to eating it will help you make better decisions. Furthermore, it can save time and money when you have everything planned out for the week and ready to go in containers. Cook in bulk to save the most time.
Track your intake. The best way to kickstart health and fitness changes to your routine is to map out what you eat. The Under Armour MyFitnessPal app lets you track your intake of calories, set benchmarks for your exercise goals and create healthy foods with recipes from people and experts all across the globe! It has a barcode scanner application that uses your phone’s camera to scan barcodes on food packaging. With it, you don’t have to manually log in the nutrition information every time you eat something. Best of all – the app is totally free.
Intermittent Fast. It probably doesn’t sound appealing at first, but fasting can be healthier and, even, a more convenient option to kickstart calorie intake goals. If your schedule keeps you busy all day, abstaining from lunch may be easier to flow with whatever you want your schedule to be. Drink water, coffee, juices, etc. to help manage your appetite while fasting.
Group tasks. Being productive can be difficult after a long shift. One way to fight this and stay productive after work is to group chores, leisure time and other activities together in time blocks. Grouping tasks helps you visualize your after-work time as your resource – it’s yours to divide and allocate as you see fit. Along these same lines, some people are just naturally more productive during certain times or in certain places. Find your fit and optimize your efficiency. Hate a certain task? Pair it with something you love so you can have some good with the bad.
Schedule by activity. An alternative to grouping tasks by time available is to schedule your tasks by activity. Incorporating checklists where you can cross tasks off as you finish them can help increase efficiency if you like to physically see what you’ve accomplished. Instead of fitting tasks into an afternoon by how long they take you, order them by the activity and use a task-oriented approach. For example:
|Task-Oriented Approach||Time-Oriented Approach|
|1. Chores||1:00-3:00 – Leisure|
|2. Shopping||3:00-5:00 – Chores|
|3. Leisure||5:00-6:00 – Shopping|
Break bad habits. Cutting out negative behaviors and bad habits will help you start fresh. These can be a handful to eliminate, and it never hurts to seek help breaking them. Technologies like a Pavlok watch are designed to help you curb behaviors you don’t want – so use them to start your resolutions on the right foot!
Sleep Smarter. Getting the right amount of sleep can be hard. We know it’s not the quantity of sleep you need, but the quality. Getting the REM sleep you need can be dependent upon your mental health, emotional status and eating/sleeping habits. However, there are some helpful companies like Gravity Blankets and F.lux out there that help improve your sleep.
Set Yourself Up for Happiness
Positive Mindset. Behaviors and habits are directly intertwined, sometimes even entangled. the neurological pathways you reinforce are the ones which become stronger – like muscle memory and learning new skills. Positivity is no exception, but this is more than just “thinking on the brighter side of things.” Thinking positively enables you to be uplifted about the events and influences in your in your life, regardless of where you are. Think of your positive mindset as the foundation for building a stronger, more resilient and indomitable you. Start with the small things.
Social life. Making friends can be difficult and sometimes scary, but social interactions are what help us build relationships. Go out with co-workers and start going to events you have always wanted to. Go out of your way and start inviting people to hang out. Stepping outside comfort zones and resisting that fight-or-flight instinct will help your positivity shine. Chances are, the people you socialize with are going through something similar, and they’ll appreciate your company.
Design Your Home. The design of your home is going to affect your mood. Is it set up for productivity and comfort? If not, maybe some New Year’s cleaning will help spruce it up! Add decorations intended for how you want it to make you feel.The hardest part about maintaining #resolutions is thinking we can change course in our lives at a split second without doing any planning ahead. Check out these tips on how #TravelNurses can keep up with New Year’s resolutions: Click To Tweet
Enjoy the little things. Recognizing and taking in the small things that can make you happy can help change your mental health over the long-term. Be proud in your favorite t-shirt, eat your favorite foods, enjoy your coworker’s jokes and breathe in that cup of hot, herbal tea.
Volunteer. Whether you pitch it to your boss as a work activity, organize a group or do it on your own, helping others in need is fulfilling and can help you feel valued. Not to mention it improves the community, especially for those who need assistance.
Try something new. Try a new hobby, explore a new restaurant, take a trip, go to a theatre. The goal is to find something new that you can add to your list of hobbies and interests. Plus, trying new things is a great way to prevent yourself from feeling like you’re falling into a rut.
Organize Your Finances
Save in increments. Some banks have an option to pull small amounts of money from each paycheck or each week and store it in a savings account. There are some apps that do this at a small monthly fee such as Digit. Whether you’re adding money to a savings account yourself or using technology to help you do it, it’s not a sucker punch to your wallet and you’ll barely notice withdrawals. Over time, you’ll be surprised by your savings and who knows – the savings account may come in handy during a time of need.
Bulk Shop. Costco, Sam’s Club and other bulk stores are a great way to save money. They require a membership, but the money you’ll spend over the year far exceeds the membership costs assuming you shop there regularly. Additionally, you get tons of food! What’s better than more of the foods you love?
Go off-brand. If you aren’t a bulk shopper, go off-brand for everything you buy. Kroger, Great Value, Market Pantry and other brands have a cheaper version of most of their products and will help you save a good amount of money over time while minimizing costs.
Account Sign-Up for Discounts. Shopping online? Most of the time, companies send you a discount email just for signing up. Those naggy, seemingly annoying promotional emails they send out actually have some decent coupons if you’re looking to save a buck or two. (This might be the first time we admit it, but…) Yay for spam-mail coupons!
Sales and Holiday Discounts. It never hurts to wait on a purchase of luxury items. Online and offline, most stores (retail and grocery) have regular sales, holiday sales, clearance items and many other times to purchase items. Keep these in mind and wait a little longer for those discounts.
Make it a Routine
We’ve said this already, but the more of a routine you can make, the more likely you’ll be able to follow through. Make it convenient and simple. Starting out, you don’t have to do these things to the best you can possibly do them. In fact, you don’t even have to do them well. The goal is to focus on trying to build the routine around doing them, even if it’s the smallest step one day at a time. Once you have that down, you can start to focus on quality and not quantity. Remember, New Year’s resolutions are a marathon, not a sprint.
For more resolution planning all year long, download your copy of our Nurses Week Calendar so you can map out your goals month-by-month! Afterward, check out our travel nursing jobs portal for your next adventure and take your resolutions with you wherever you go!