Good for the Soul


Alternative new year goals that will help improve your overall well-being.

By Alicia Carter

Traditionally, new year goals focus on the physical, such as working out more or losing weight, but there are other important goals we often overlook this time of the year. While our health and fitness should always remain a top priority, it’s important to also take steps to maintain our overall well- being. From practicing gratitude to removing the clutter from our lives, we’ve compiled five alternative new year goals that are truly good for the mind, body and soul.

Start a gratitude journal.
Gratitude is currently a big wellness trend, and for good reason. Studies have shown that regularly giving thanks can help people sleep better, lower stress, and improve interpersonal relationships. One easy way to do this is by keeping a gratitude journal. Varieties of these journals can be found in bookstores, boutiques, and online, and many offer a simple daily prompt that allows you to take a few minutes each day to jot down what you’re grateful for. They are sometimes referred to as a “five-minute journal” because that’s all the time it takes. Honestly, you don’t even have to buy a journal; try keeping a spiral-bound notebook by your bed and write down 3-5 things you’re thankful for each night before bed. It’s as simple as that!

Make a seasonal donation.
You’ve heard of spring cleaning, but why not continue that momentum throughout all four seasons? This year, make it a goal to clean out the clutter and donate clothing and unused items at the beginning of each season. Not only will you make more room in your home by removing old items that you no longer use, you’ll also be contributing to those who may be in need. Donation bins and stores like Goodwill, Salvation Army, and many other local consignment stores and shelters make it a super simple process to donate used clothing and other items. Locally, North Gwinnett Co-op’s Second Blessings Thrift Store accepts donations of clothing, shoes, and housewares for families who have been affected by fire or other disaster. It is also open to the community for shopping and serves as a funding stream for the co-op to continue all of its important work in our community. Learn more at

Print the photos from your phone.
Take a second to look at the camera roll on your phone. How many photos are there? 1,000? 2,000? Currently, I’m walking around with more than 5,000 photos on my phone. While some may be screenshots or other non-photo related images, the vast majority are photos — photos of my precious kiddos, my family and friends, and more. That’s more than 5,000 memories sitting on my phone that would be gone in an instant if I were to lose my phone or damage it. While it’s important to regularly transfer your photos off of your phone and onto an external hard drive to keep your phone working optimally, those memories are still doing you no good sitting on that hard drive. There are a number of apps (like Snapfish!) that will print your photos each month for only the cost of shipping. So this year, let’s all take the time to print those precious photos and fill up photo albums we can look back on from time to time.

Give yourself a break from social media.
In a world that is so connected, sometimes it’s important to disconnect — from social media, that is. Social media has become ingrained in our lives. From the time we wake up to the time we lay our head on our pillow, we are constantly checking Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or some other social media platform. It’s so intertwined with our daily lives that it’s almost like we’re on autopilot as we scroll through our feeds. But is 24/7 access to social media actually good for us? In a recent Healthline survey, 25 percent of participants said they feel social media has a negative effect on their mental well-being, and 53 percent said they feel that cutting down on that usage could help. More and more people are saying that social media makes them feel negatively about their own lives. After all, comparison is the thief of joy, and we’re really only seeing people’s highlight reels. Studies show that taking regular social media breaks (between 5 and 10 days) can positively affect our mood, reduce our anxiety, and improve our sleep. So, what can you do instead of scrolling? Take a walk. Read a book. Try a new recipe. The options are endless!


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