Happy New Year 2023! Over the years, we’ve posted many greetings in this space suggesting healthy resolutions to start the year. The typical list includes weight-loss, smoking cessation, exercise, preventive healthcare, and so on—worthwhile goals for any new year.
This year we decided to change it up a bit. We begin 2023 with resolutions to make you happy. While none of these “resolutions” can minimize the burden of life’s serious challenges, they might offer you a few more smiles, moments of fun, chances to relax, or personal satisfaction over the next twelve months. Our list got started by just asking around. Even if these ideas do not particularly inspire you, they may start you to thinking about some of your own.
Get More Sleep
Sometimes just changing your daily routine will lift your spirits. More sleep is a great place to start. Turn off the phone, lights, and TV maybe just 30 minutes earlier. But, if carving out extra sleep time is not possible for you right now, don’t stay up nights worrying about it. Move on to things you can control.
The tasks we have procrastinated weigh us down. Disorganization creates anxiety about losing important items or missing critical deadlines. Anxiety gnaws at the back of our minds. Getting to the bottom of the inbox, keeping a to-do list, or setting up a calendar (with reminder notifications) doesn’t bring much pleasure. But when it’s done, the sigh of relief and peace of mind are priceless. The choice of apps for personal organization is limitless. If you are uncomfortable with digital technology, see “Learn Something New” below. Libraries and community groups offer lots of technology classes, some focus especially on seniors.
Learn Something New
Have you always wished you could play the guitar, take really interesting pictures, ballroom dance, or whatever? Take a class. Reserve a couple hours each week to indulge your personal fantasy (like you on Dancing with the Stars)! Birmingham offers lots of opportunities, some even free. (Google search: Birmingham adult classes). Check out local libraries, church groups, and community centers.
Care for Your Friendships
Resolve at least once a month to reach out to an old friend you have missed keeping in touch with. Have lunch, dinner, or just a cup of coffee. For long-distance friendships, send a greeting with a handwritten note of friendship. Maybe tuck in a photo of the two of you from years gone by. (The electronic way is fine too. But handwritten notes are extra-special). Letting someone know they are important to you will bring joy to both of you. Thinking about friendships is also a good time to be realistic about unhealthy relationships in your life. Be honest with yourself.
Create a Memory
Maybe you have always wanted to see Hawaii, the Grand Canyon, or the homeland of your grandparents. 2023 could be the year to fulfill one of the dreams on your personal “bucket list” and create a memory to relive and enjoy for years to come. But the simple memories we make every day also live on in the hearts of family and friends. Create more of them this year. Small things make big impressions. Our “consultants” shared lots of ideas. One grandfather spent an afternoon with a grandchild, baking cookies from a recipe his grandmother had brought from the old country. Another family took their preschoolers to ride a city bus. (Tip: the Magic City Connector, the red bus, runs up and down 20th St. from the Civic Center to Homewood on weekdays. The loop costs 25 cents. Toddlers love climbing aboard the big bus and dropping their coin in the slot. They also like stopping for ice cream or Chick-fil-A). If your imagination runs dry, the Internet is full of ideas for trips, events, and projects to share with loved ones, young and old.
Each New Year, we look backward “for auld lang syne” (loosely translated—”for old times’ sake”), and then we look forward. Whether you choose a serious self-improvement resolution, a small light-hearted one, or none at all, the New Year is a time to think about how you can add goodness to the coming year. We wish you and those you love many joyful moments in 2023!
From the physicians and staff at Sparks & Favor.