Verily Magazine

New Years Resolutions for the Millennial

We are the generation that has it all together, the generation that made DIY and self-help cool. But many of us have discovered that—despite our thrift, ingenuity, and social clout—we are no closer to our “best self” than before Pinterest. Ever absorbing and growing, we have taught ourselves to adapt. So why should our personal resolutions be so daunting?

If you’re feeling a bit nervous about the looming New Year, I’m with you. But then again, I’ve never met a list I haven’t liked. So here are 8 suggestions for millennials to make 2014 their best year yet.

1.) Be realistic.

The secret to making 2014 truly life-changing is to set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound; in other words = SMART. Sentiments like, “I want to be healthier in 2014” may last for one week. As guilt sets in, the goal to be “healthy” becomes a distant memory. Instead, evaluate your current lifestyle and tweak small concrete habits, such as cutting back to one soda per week for one month.

2.) Digitally unplug.

It’s no secret that we’re spending more and more time plugged into digital outlets. But all is not rosy according to researchers from the University of Gothenberg; out of the 4,100 young adults they studied for a year, those who used computers four or more hours per day reported high levels of stress, anxiety, and sleeping disorders.

No more wasting time reading cat lists on Buzzfeed. (Not even this one.) Fill new-found hours by actually making those Pinterest recipes, write a letter to a friend, or read five pages of that book you have been meaning to start.

3.) Get connected.

Stop counting your Facebook friends and start making real friends. Neuroscientists report that humans are biologically wired to form strong social communities in order to truly flourish. Yet in recent history, authentic communities have been dissolving in favor of a digital individualism.

Buck the trend by calling a different friend every week—for example, during a lunch hour or on your way home from happy hour with the colleagues. You’ll like your physical friendships even more than your Facebook ones.

To read even more, check out my whole article over at Verily Magazine.

3 Reasons Holiday Traditions Matter for the Single Woman

Many of my childhood memories of the holidays contain idyllic mental images of traditions like trimming the tree, fireplace crackling, It’s a Wonderful Life, and a big pot of mom’s steaming Cajun gumbo on the stove.

Fast forward to my adult single years; take-out has now replaced family dinners, and Black Friday binge-shopping has replaced chestnuts roasting over an open fire. It’s no wonder that, around the holidays, I become a little whimsical for more meaningful holiday traditions.

The fact is, countless articles and books have been written touting the positive benefits of creating family traditions. Research supports the importance of family tradition, indicating that children who experience or remember positive family traditions have greater self-confidence and exhibit less loneliness and anxiety.

But until I have my own family, why should I miss out? Here are 3 reasons why single people should create traditions right now.

1. Create Memories

A tradition provides that little extra something magical that pulls us out of our ordinary mundane rut and gives a rosy hue to our memories. The memories offer an opportunity to reconnect with our story and give us a sense of personal identity. Research shows that when we feel connected to our personal story, we have a greater sense of self-confidence and well-being.

Try reconstructing old family traditions to work in the context of your single life. For example, if Secret Santa was a staple family tradition growing up—why not host a Secret Santa swap amongst a group of friends?

2. Build Connection

In the book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Steven Covey encourages making frequent deposits into the “emotional bank account” of significant people in our lives. That is, when we nurture the emotional relationship with those dearest to us, we create quality positive experiences that act as a “relationship cushion” during stressful times.

To read more, check out my whole article over at Verily Magazine.