Courtesy of ebony.com

With the passing of beloved celebrities Prince, Muhammad Ali and David Bowie, the arrival of the Zika virus, unceasing terror attacks, Brexit, the Syrian war and refugee crisis, and a shocking election, 2016 will be one of the worst years on record — at least in our lifetime.

However, as deeply as recent events influenced our lives, we, as U.S. citizens, have the potential and privilege to constructively reciprocate that impact.

Whether you were inspired by the resilience of #NoDAPL and Black Lives Ma er protesters or by Simone Biles’ explosive gymnastic performance at the Summer Olympics, use the worst (or best) moments of 2016 to spur a terrific 2017.

Drafting feasible New Year’s resolutions usually takes  me, honest reflection, and practical goal-setting. But I’ve come up with a few sample New Year’s resolutions, keeping our collective experiences in mind, to jump-start this process for you.

Activate Your Citizenship:

Many, if not most people were upset with the results of the election this year, but we cannot remain passive, wounded observers. Our politics, however reminiscent of reality TV, is not a spectator sport. Dedicate one call per month to your congressman. Many of us are transient transplants hailing from less decisively leaning states across the country. In any case, phone calls are the main way to alert your representatives to the issues their constituents care about.

Donate:

Give your time or money to a local advocacy group to support the issues you care about the most for 2017. Strengthen your resolve to DO something about how you feel. Read more. Talk more. Act!

DIY Health:

Did you feel as incompetent as I did watching Katie Ledecky blow her Olympic competitors away in the 1200M Freestyle in Brazil? Fitspo (fitness inspiration). If you have an iPhone, check out your step count on the Health app (they’ve been tracking you ever since the update). What’s your average? Try to top it, then set a date to double it. And if can push through 10 to 12 minutes, I suggest trying YouTube workout series, “Pop Pilates” or any other yoga or HIIT videos. “Couchto5K” is another excellent app for beginner runners, or for those of us getting back on the horse. No equipment needed.

Mindful Eating:

While we’re on the exercise tip, reflect on how you eat. Do you eat when you’re hungry? Do you eat when you’re full? Get in tune with your body next year by eating mindfully. Flip the script on dieting by paying a en on to your physical hunger signals instead of mental ones. It’s a low-stress, important first step if you’ve been meaning to change your eating habits. This ultimately leads to better digestion, less bloating, and just feeling more balanced. Or if you find yourself with an unwanted sweet tooth after the holidays, challenge yourself to cut out processed sugar products. Replace them with low-glycemic index foods like sweet potatoes or plantains, which will raise your sugar levels slowly to prevent that notorious crash. Pair this with upped water intake and say hello to clearer skin and dependable energy levels throughout the day.

Go Green:

This year the CO2 [Carbon dioxide] surpassed 400 parts per millions in our atmosphere — the highest level ever experienced by humans in our existence. As we face unprecedented weather patterns, mass extinctions, and plastic-polluted water, many are considering new ways to reduce their consumption and carbon output. Meatless Mondays, a weekly pledge to one day a week substitute meat [especially red meat] for, literally anything else. This makes a financial impact on the meat industry, which creates a huge carbon footprint [~8% of all carbon emissions]. Here are a few  ps to contribute to a better planet:
– Carry a water bottle instead of relying on single-use containers.
– Opt for the metro more o en
– Use dish towels over paper towels
– Use low-energy light bulbs – Ditch plastic bags

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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