New Year's Intentions: How to Have the Best Year Yet

While it’s important to say goodbye to 2022 in style (aka with friends, loved ones, and maybe a glass of bubbly or two), we’re also leaning into a positive, healthy 2023. Cheers to the best year yet! 
Set your intentions 
Rather than setting New Year’s resolutions that may or may not be out the window by Valentine’s Day, why not try setting intentions? 
Unlike resolutions, intentions are fairly broad: Rather than saying “I’m going to cut out all sugar from my diet,” an intention encourages a larger scope, like “I’m going to prioritize my health.” While resolutions can start to feel like punishments, intentions leave room for flexibility and creativity. If your goal is to lead a healthier lifestyle, that can mean prioritizing yoga and outdoor time (see below) rather than beating yourself up if you have a scoop of ice cream. ‘Cause let’s be real: what’s life without ice cream?
To set your intentions, try making two lists: One of your values, and the other of things you enjoy. See where they overlap and focus on those. 
Center yourself with some yoga
Yoga is an ancient practice dating back nearly 5,000 years. And there’s a good reason it’s still so popular today: The benefits of yoga are almost too many to list…but we’ll give it a try anyway.
Feeling low-energy? Even a few minutes of yoga can boost your alertness and enthusiasm. Stressed? Yep, yoga helps with that, too. It also boosts your mental health and mindfulness, encourages a healthier diet, and is good for your heart. While yoga is great in the morning, it’s also perfect for before bed. Studies have shown that a consistent pre-bed yoga routine not only preps your body for sleep but helps you sleep more soundly. 
So, yeah: Yoga pretty much rules. 
Hit the trails
At Toad, we are major advocates of the healing power of Mother Nature. But it’s not just us—science says so, too. In a study of 20,000 people, researchers found that people who spend two hours each week in green spaces—all at once, or over multiple visits—are much more likely to report good health and mental well-being than those who don’t. 
While any amount of time outside is a plus in our book, the study does emphasize that it really takes two hours to see the full impact of nature’s benefits. What are you waiting for?
Build empathy
As important as it is to take care of ourselves, we’re all about taking care of others, too. So how to do it? Working on a community project is a perfect way to embrace our shared humanity, says Rachel Godsil, a law professor and co-founder of the Perception Institute. Ideas include working on a community garden, political organizing, or joining a religious or spiritual community. By working with others, you’ll widen your social circle and interact with people outside your usual crew. In other words, the perfect recipe for building empathy.
Do what you love 
It can be tough to make time for hobbies when you’re hustling day in and out. But making space for what you love—whether it’s an early morning surf sesh or a late afternoon trail run—is key to maintaining a healthy mindset. Hard work is important, but playing hard is important, too. Here’s to doing more of what you love in 2023.