When the calendar turns to January 1, are your New Year’s resolutions posted front and center on your fridge, ready to inspire you each morning and night? Or are you more of an anti-resolution kind of person who finds such promises to be less of an inspiration and more of an intrusion?

Whichever camp you’re in, you’ll find that January 1 always brings fresh promise. Maybe it’s the dozen new months stacked up on the calendar, free of the burdens that weighed you down in the previous year. Maybe just writing a new year down gives you courage to set new expectations.

A new year is momentous and deserves some reflection. Even if you take just 5 minutes, think about what this year might hold for you and where you would like to see yourself at the end of another 12 months.

Here are some things to consider.

Your Job

Are you happy with your nursing career? Do you like your role? Jot down a few reasons that inspired you to become a nurse in the first place. Remember your energy and passion when you first started. If you’re just starting out, use this list to find areas you want to focus on. What can you do this year to continue on that path?

Your Family

Is your home life running smoothly? Since most people have bumps in the road, this is a great time to consider small ways to make your home life run better. Sure a vacation in the tropics would help any family decompress, but if that’s not in your plans, blocking out an afternoon when your crew can go bowling or just curl up with a game of Headbandz or Monopoly might help everyone reconnect. Even setting a few new rules – like no electronics at the dinner table – can bring a sense of calm in a chaotic day.

See also
Going Back to School for RN to BSN? Key Points to Consider

Your Health

You’re a nurse – do you practice what you preach? Take an inventory of all the appointments you might be behind on and set them up. You can’t help others unless you’re in good health, so think of one or two small tweaks to your routine that can have big impact. Don’t have time for a daily 30-minute walk? Then fit in a 10-minute one. Anything is better than nothing.

Your Mood

Are you stressed (what nurse isn’t?)? How do you deal with it? Using a few simple techniques – like using a quick meditation app or listening to favorite tunes while you clean up after dinner – can have a surprisingly positive impact on your mood. Find what works for you and use it consistently. Reducing your stress levels reaps huge health benefits, and while you can’t always remove the stress, you can change how you react to stress.

Your Finances

No this isn’t the time to start the major financial overhaul, especially if you are trying to make major changes elsewhere. But it is a great time to take stock. Are you on the right track? Are you saving enough? Do you have some financial goals or dreams? Find ways to save a few dollars here and there and save toward a specific goal. Saving for something in particular (a retirement goal, a house, a new car) motivates you more than saving for a general rainy day.

Your Surroundings

Is your home your refuge or does the clutter drive you crazy? Your home environment sets the tone for much of how you feel, so peaceful surroundings can give you an instant boost. Try to keep the clutter under control, but also focus on the larger picture. Paint your bedroom the color of snow-topped mountains or of the Caribbean sea – whatever makes you happiest. Keep a couple of plants in your living room and hang a key hook so your keys are always in one place. Let your home (or parts of it at least) reflect how you want your life to be.

See also
Making Health Habitual for Nurses

New Year’s is a springboard for change, but it shouldn’t overwhelm you. Use small, effective tweaks to make your life easier, more beautiful, and more streamlined. I hope your 2015 gets off to a great start!


Julia Quinn-Szcesuil
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