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Last updateWed, 04 Dec 2019 3pm

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How to Be Your Best Self in 2019

Best Self 2019Striving for self-improvement has never been easier than it is at the beginning of a new year. A look back at 2018 gives motivation to make healthy changes, and the transition into 2019 offers opportunities to do so. The new year is a fresh start with opportunities to achieve those goals that were once left on the back burner.

Exercising more often is the most common resolution, usually associated with losing weight and becoming fit. Although focusing on physical health is essential for self-improvement, the benefits of exercising don’t stop there; frequent workouts can improve mental health as well. Focusing on happiness and stress management is vital to becoming our best selves, something not many people take into consideration when entering a new year. The burning sensation that arises in muscles while running on the treadmill or lifting weights indicates one step closer to fulfilling a new year’s resolution.

Skill-building is another essential part of becoming your best self. Taking up a skill you would’ve never imagined and becoming thoroughly dedicated will produce endless gratification. Fun, stimulating hobbies to undertake in the new year include learning an instrument, baking, reading, and painting. The arts have a unique way of reducing stress as well. There’s something about producing peaceful strokes of paint that relieves the mind of stress, just like there’s something about getting lost in a fictional novel that reduces stress.

Everyone can appreciate the self-expression that comes with art. Sophomore health studies student Cameron Oakley said, “Although I’m not an art major, I want to take more time for things that I love. Not necessarily what my career’s going to be, but something I enjoy. [Painting] is a stress-free activity that gives me the chance to take my mind off of school completely.”

Building skills also has the power to improve self-esteem. Having high self-esteem is vital for overcoming fears, trying new things, conquering personal challenges, and setting yourself up for success. Sophomore business student Morgan Sottung said, “I’ve been trying to really get into a routine to better manage my time between schoolwork, club responsibilities, going to the gym, and hanging with my friends all while making good healthy decisions and becoming more okay with my body to help boost my confidence and self-esteem. What really helps is surrounding myself in a good environment with a lot of support from my amazing group of friends and loving family.”

High self-esteem also breeds confidence, which is key when achieving self-improvement. Learning to become less judgmental of ourselves leaves tons of room for focusing on what we need in order to thrive in the new year. Self-confidence is the fertilizer that will allow us to grow in 2019, giving us opportunities to step out of our comfort zone.

Sottung continued, “I’ve always been open to new experiences, but I haven’t really put myself out there to have them. So, my resolution is to put myself out there more and really get out of my comfort zone.”

The key to finding self-improvement through resolutions is consistency. Freshman English student Zandro Salomone said, “My resolution is to just keep doing what I’m doing. I always stay positive, I’m always dedicated, I manage my time, I do what needs to be done first. I prioritize my work, keep organized, and just make sure everything gets done on time.”

There are ubiquitous ways to work on self-improvement, but keeping a positive mindset should undoubtedly be the leading resolution of the new year. With positivity comes new opportunities to grow and learn. Sparks of positivity throughout the day can turn a bad day into a perfect one. Because positivity is infectious, surrounding yourself with good friends who radiate optimism and encouragement can be the best way to achieve this. The four years here at Monmouth is the perfect time to shift our mindsets so that we always see the good in things. Positivity mixed with ambition takes “new year, new me” to a whole new level.

Essentially, self-improvement comes down to one thing—focusing on yourself. Michael Pirrotta, professor of psychology said, “In general, when people have higher self-esteem, they are much more willing to branch out, try new things, and push themselves in new ways; while people with lower self-esteem tend to be self-protective and rarely leave their comfort zones.”

When you’re really dedicated toward achieving the goal of self-improvement, it will begin to come naturally. Eventually, each new year will be characterized by an abundance of self-growth and self-love, the key ingredients for prospering and succeeding in anything we set our hearts on.

PHOTO COURTESY of Sara Sikora

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