Being a teenager can be hard. Teens know it because they’re living it, and parents know because they’ve lived it. The teenage years are full of insecurity, unsurity, stress over school, family and social woes. It is a time filled with what-ifs, and why-do-I-even-care’s. It’s hard to know what’s up and down and what’s right and wrong because the lines that set those things apart always seem so blurred for one reason or another.
But, being a teenager can also be awesome. It is a time filled with discovering new things and making new friends. It can be a time of freedom and clarity as you learn more about who you are and where you fit in this world. It is often a time of experiencing love for the first time, and of learning what you want that love to be like as you get older —filled with excitement, adventure and honesty.
For many teens, however, getting to the point of enjoying these pivotal years takes being aware, and perhaps a little planning. And what better time to start than when the calendar turns over to the new year? So to help make sure the teen years are some of the best ones, here are some healthy New Year’s resolutions to get you started:
1. Eat healthier
If you want to feel good physically, mentally and emotionally, a great way to start you on that track is to eat more healthful foods. Fruits and vegetables do wonders for your body, protecting it against harmful diseases, illnesses and even acne. Healthy foods that come from natural sources give you sustained energy, unlike so-called “energy drinks” on the market.
You get what you put in to your body, so fuel it with the good stuff.
2. Get a healthy amount of exercise
Much like eating healthfully, getting a healthy amount of exercise will help you gain confidence, not to mention, set great habits for the future. And don’t worry, you don’t need to step foot in a gym or even join an athletic team. Simply going for a run, walk, bike ride or skateboard excursion in the park a few times a week will give you the exercise you need.
3. Serve others
A great way to help you forget about the woes of teenhood is to serve others who are in need. Maybe rake your neighbor’s leaves or shovel their driveway. Volunteer with friends at a community center, or simply volunteer to watch your younger siblings while your parents go on a date.
When you serve others, it feels good, and when you feel good, you feel like doing more good things. It is an endless cycle of awesome.
4. Study more
Now, you may be a little burned out at school, and asking you to study more might feel like too much. However, knowledge is power, and it is pretty cool to know stuff.
Take a point from your history notes in class, and dive into it. Try really hard to understand that math concept that has stopped you from progressing. The internet is full of information presented in various ways that may just be able to teach you in a way your brain didn’t learn it before. And who knows? You may decide you like to learn new things.
5. Read more
Reading is also so powerful. Non-fiction books help you understand a reality beyond your own, whereas fiction books transport you to a world inside someone else’s head. There is nothing so relaxing and awakening than getting lost in a good book. Just try it.
6. Spend time with loved ones
The teen years can oftentimes have times of tension among family members — it’s just the nature of the beast. However, by taking a step back to spend quality time with those you love and who love you, can really put you back in a place of feeling loved. Family is always family, and it is so important to make sure that you spend time strengthening those relationships. You’ll be glad when you get older if you heed this advice.
7. Learn something new
Take some time this New Year to learn something new. Perhaps take a ceramics or a foreign language class. It is exciting to learn new things, and it might just be the thing that gets you out of a funk.
8. Forgive others (and yourself)
One of the biggest things that keeps us from progressing in life is our inability to forgive others who have hurt or offended us. Whether it was a friend, family member, teacher or someone who entered your life by chance and left just as fast. When negative things happen that hurt us, and we hold on to that hurt, it can become a toxic mess that keeps us from progressing.
And don’t feel like you need to write a forgiveness note or speak to the person or persons who offended you. Simply letting go of hurt and telling yourself that you forgive are great ways to do this.
Sometimes, though, the one who needs the most forgiving is yourself. Give yourself permission to make mistakes. Everyone makes them, and it is so important to recognize those mistakes, but to also forgive yourself. Life is short, so why spend it being hurt?
9. Spend less time on social media
Social media has some great things to offer! You can snap pictures and write stories to create memories. You can connect with others, and even have a good laugh as you scroll through a funny account.
Just like all things, however, social media can have its drawbacks. People can use it to say unkind things. You can get caught up in “likes” that can often make you feel less than. And then there’s the mind-numbing capabilities that can distract you from real life — often mimicking what drugs do to the brain. You can get behind in school work, and even lose precious time with loved ones when you get sucked into its constant calls to look.
Try taking a break for several days to see how you feel without it, then set rules for what role you want social media to play in your life going forward. It really is quite liberating to feel like you have control of it, rather than it controlling you.
10. Earn some money
Do you want freedom to buy your own clothes, pay for dates or even save for the future? Now that you’re a teenager, you are able to do that. Apply for an after-school job, or even get your business license to start doing something on your own —maybe mowing lawns or creating sellable artwork. You can totally do this.
If you are involved in extracurricular activities that don’t allow for time to have a job, treat these activities the same way you would a job. Because all those hours on the court, on stage or serving your fellow classmates could be your ticket to a college scholarship, which is as good as gold as far as your future is concerned.
11. Live it up
Enjoy this time of your life. Make friends, go to dances and parties (with responsible adults present). Learn about yourself, explore this world around you. The teen years are some of the most pivotal years that shape you into who you are and who you want to be, so live it up, and don’t look back.