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A New Year, A New Goal

As another year ends and a new one begins, you may be one of the 150 million Americans who will make a New Year’s resolution for 2018. In the past, you also might be one of the 75 million whose resolutions don’t make it past the first week.

But this year will be different.

It’s only natural to feel a drive to make resolutions at the start of something new—a new job, a new family member, a new year. In fact, it’s healthy to want to grow and change and learn. However, the pressure we often put on ourselves to not only make those changes quickly, but also make them last, can actually reduce our chances of making those resolutions stick in 2018 and beyond. If you’re looking to improve overall wellness in 2018, try thinking of resolutions that add to your life—instead of limiting, reducing or taking away. Need some help getting started? The following goals will keep you positive and excited for year-round growth and learning.

Learn to play an Instrument

Americans love music, which is why so many people, at one point or another, decide to pick up and instrument and take lessons. While we most often hear these practice notes coming from a child’s bedroom, nearly 85 percent of American adults report regretting not learning to play an instrument beyond a beginner’s level.

There are so many great reasons to make music your 2018 wellness resolution. Music enriches lives—it can improve concentration, stave off arthritis, boost eye-hand coordination, and work out those critical thinking skills. Music is not only good for physical health, but mental health, as well. Studies show music can help reduce stress and anxiety and alleviate depression.

When you decide to learn a new instrument, there are many factors to take into consideration, such as time, money and what to do with your new skill. Many adults, especially those with a taste for jazz or the blues, are drawn to learning the saxophone, clarinet or trumpet. Be sure you know how to purchase the right style for you, for example, review this trumpet buying guide when you’re ready to get started.

Finish a Race

Many people make losing weight a wellness goal, but few can stick to the harsh diets we so optimistically begin on January 2nd. Why focus on limiting yourself, when you can instead focus on improving your wellness? Pick a race (and a distance) that takes place toward the middle of the year to give yourself an exciting goal to focus on and plenty of time to train.

As you work toward your goal you might notice other health and wellness milestones naturally fall into place. You’ll need to eat the right kinds of healthy foods to keep your body moving and work on strengthening other areas of the body—called cross training—to prevent injury and build more stamina.

Meditate Each Day

From stress on the job to stress on the bank account, it’s no surprise that stress is on the rise. More than one-third of Americans reported their stress increased over the last year, and that’s not the only number that’s rising. Health issues can be negatively impacted by stress, which is one reason high blood pressure and depression are also on the rise.

Studies have shown that meditating for as little as even 10 minutes a day can make a big impact on our stress levels. From the way we handle stress to what stresses us out to begin with—the benefits of closing the eyes and turning off, or at least down, the mind, are obvious. If you’ve felt the burden of stress in your life in 2017, consider making meditation a wellness goal. You’ll be surprised at how quickly a regular mindfulness routine can give you a more positive outlook on your entire life.

With a new year comes new ideas, goals and energy. The important thing is that you focus on growing and learning, using this energy to feel good about who you and what you can do.

Dana Brown