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15 Things You Must Do For Yourself This Year

Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano

Photography by Photographed by James Kicinski-McCoy

We love January for the optimistic fresh start it brings, as well as the blank slate for planning the year ahead. Of course, we want to help make 2016 one of your best years yet, so we’ve compiled a list of things you must do during the next 347 days. Some of these items will be easier to check off than others (kudos if you’re already able to!), but all of them hold these things in common—they encourage self-care, adventure, happiness, deeper relationships, and growth.

1. Book a girlfriend getaway. Whether it’s you and your bestie or you and a gaggle of girlfriends, get your schedules synced and book those tickets/hotel rooms early in order to hold yourselves to this ladies-only adventure. Even if it’s renting a hotel room or Airbnb within your own city, having a night (or three) away from your immediate family and letting loose with your girls will be a huge sanity saver.

2.) Book a couple’s getaway. Chances are, your relationship could use a little more attention than you give it. Taking a night off of parent duty and remembering just why you procreated with your partner in the first place is priceless.

3.) Schedule a solo spa day. Time with your loved ones is important, but so is spending a string of hours all by your lonesome. Bonus points if you can get some solitude in an extra relaxing venue. Even if a spa day seems like a splurge, remind yourself that you deserve ever penny of it. Give the babysitter or your children’s school the spa’s mainline, so that you can turn off your phone and be untethered to the outside world for a bit.

4.) Start a workout routine. Moving your body and getting those feel-good endorphins pumping can directly correlate to a better, more optimistic mood, self-confidence, and better sleep. Set a goal for getting your heart rate up 30 minutes a day, three days a week, and just watch the results. Let your friends and family members know about your health goals, so that they can help out in the childcare department. Otherwise, have no shame about sitting your kid in front of the TV while you workout at the house. Having a healthy and happy mom makes for happier children, too.

5.) Explore your own city. Remember when you used to know all of the brand-new hotspots in town? Parenthood can often diminish the explorer in all of us, just due to logistical reasons. Get excited about your city again by making a list of new places you want to visit and start making your way through them.

6.) Take a class. When’s the last time you learned a new skill? If you’re scratching your head for more than a few minutes, it might be time to get educated in an area you’ve been interested in—from pottery and watercolor courses to improv and dance classes, the possibilities are endless.

7.) Host a party. Whether it’s a dinner party for 8 or a kiddie Valentine’s Day affair, try putting on your hostess hat and getting creative. Resist the urge of holding yourself to Pinterest perfection. Having good food and good people together in one room is usually enough to make a successful event, anything on top of that is gravy.

8.) Purge your pad. Getting rid of unneeded clutter can do wonders for your mind (and abode!). Thousands of people swear by Marie Kondo’s famed The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up book as a good starting point. Once you’ve chucked some of the junk, why not consider some feng shui action?

9.) Visit someplace totally new. It could be a new town, just 30 minutes away, or a new country. Whatever it is, make sure it’s new-to-you.

10.) Book a date with your mini-me. Getting 1-on-1 time with your kid(s) is invaluable. Instead of defaulting to your regular routine, try thinking outside of the box (even just a little) and plan a fun date for just the two of you. It could be anything from eating pancakes and omelettes together at a dive-y cafe to a more elaborate adventure. Even labeling it a “date” makes it more fun and memorable.

11.) Practice gratitude. Take a minute at the beginning or end of each day to list the things, people, and events you are most grateful for. If possible, get your tots and partner in on the action once a week and make it a family affair.

12.) Start a consistent game-night with your friends. There’s nothing that says old-fashioned fun (and friendly competitive vibes) like playing games with your chums. Solving odd-ball problems will not only unlock a part of your brain that usually stays dormant, it’s also a great ice-breaker for both new and old friendships.

13.) Go to therapy or read a self-help book. Working on and better understanding yourself should be a life-long process. No matter how old you are, talking to a professional can help you connect the dots between behaviors you’d like to change, the reasons for the behaviors in the first place, and methods for changing them. Both couples therapy and individual therapy can be incredibly helpful. If seeing a therapist is outside of your budget, try investing in a good self-help book for the time being.

14.) Get into a new show. There is some seriously good TV (and podcasts) out there right now. From Game of Thrones and Homeland to Transparent and Making a Murderer, pick your poison. Watch them alone or with a bud. You really can’t go wrong.

15. Master a new recipe. No matter if you’re someone who likes the kitchen or hates it, it’s always nice to have at least one mastered recipe up your sleeve. Find something you love and make it enough times over the course of the year that it becomes a signature.

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