New Year's resolutions: for self-improvement try home improvements

Iris Price | Improvement Center Columnist | January 8, 2015

Have you ever noticed that when you rearrange furniture, the new orientation changes your perspective in general? Motivational coaches use a similar technique to help you get "unstuck." They suggest you move from one place to another in the room while you contemplate your problem. Each location amazingly can stimulate you to envision a fresh solution to what you formerly thought was insurmountable.

If your list of New Year's resolutions is the same list you made last year and the year before that -- and didn't accomplish -- reorienting your home environment could finally put you in the mindset for success this year. But regardless of how you rearrange your space, the right home improvement projects can truly do wonders for helping you achieve a variety of self-help resolutions.

Challenging New Year's resolutions: How can redecorating help?

New Year's resolutions often deal with getting your life under control or expanding your horizons. For some, this takes a lot more effort than writing your goals down on a piece of paper. Resolving to change your life is usually hard work. It seems counter-intuitive that something as fun and creative as home decorating can be therapeutic for realizing your self-improvement, but it really can help produce a positive outcome for any of these typical New Year's resolutions:

  • Healthier lifestyle -- Getting more exercise, improving your sleep quality, eating healthy.
  • More effective time management -- De-cluttering and getting organized.
  • Better family relationships -- Enjoying time at home with your partner and kids.
  • Cultivating friendships -- Inviting and entertaining friends in your home.

Some of the most popular - and important - resolutions have to do with improving health, and many of the most common home improvements can actually help you achieve those types of New Year's resolutions.

Healthy lifestyle home improvements

Redecorating or remodeling probably can't help you stop smoking, but it can certainly cut down on stress and help you achieve a healthy lifestyle on a number of different fronts.

  • Getting more exercise. You might not have the space for a full-on gymnasium project unless you finish your basement or repurpose your garage, but you can start small with the spare room. This can be an easy project, especially if you haven't started actually working out yet to build up the stamina and muscles needed to demo and build. Depending on the type of exercise you favor, paint your exercise room either an invigorating or tranquil color, and install either hardwood, laminate, or rubber flooring. All you might need to get started is a treadmill, elliptical, stationery bike, or just your yoga mat and ballet barre. Add the tech of your choice for audio-visual. If you need this space for the occasional guest, install a Murphy bed so that when not in use, it's out of your way and the way of your equipment.
  • Improving sleep quantity and quality. You may have "Redecorating the bedroom" at the bottom of your home improvement "to-do" list because it seems self-indulgent. Move it to the top. You will be amazed how adding some thermal or light-blocking window treatments can make your room darker and quieter, so much more conducive to a good night's sleep. Get the tech out of your bedroom -- no vibrations or blinking lights. Even taking eReaders or iPads to bed may mess with your circadian rhythms, making it harder to fall and stay asleep, according to one new study. Choose tranquil colors for your walls -- soft shades of blue and green, neutrals like gray. Save the color splashes for artwork and throw pillows, which are easy to change with the seasons. Make sure you have a well-organized closet so you don't have the stress of clothes and accessories piling up around the room. Choose the best mattress you can afford -- and test it thoroughly in the showroom before deciding. Splurge on high-quality cotton sheets and an all-weather down or down-alternative comforter that can keep your body a comfortable temperature. The best pillows for side and back sleepers are foam; down or down-alternatives work better for belly sleepers.
  • Eating healthy. If your kitchen is so cramped, cluttered, and poorly organized that you end up nuking dinner, ordering take out, or dining out most nights, you are doing nothing good for your nutrition much less your physique or emotional health. You don't have to do a complete kitchen remodel to improve the efficiency of your kitchen. Just adding a slide-out, vertical pantry in the space between the refrigerator and counter can give you more storage for canned and bottled goods. A mobile kitchen island can be moved out of the way when not in use, and pull-out drawers or shelves in lower cabinetry can make it easy to stay organized and find what you need without crawling into a cabinet on your hands and knees and rummaging around in the dark.

If spending time at home with family has been missing from your life, creating a less-stressful home environment is a big step in the right direction. If you have a basement, bonus room, or attic, finish them and include a game-room area. Add a man cave that can double as a place for your entire family to gather or to entertain mutual friends and relatives.

Some of these home improvements may seem like luxuries, but they contribute to your well-being and that of your family. Make this year the year you accomplish your New Year's resolutions for a happy, healthy lifestyle.

Photo credit to Nam Phan

About the Author

Iris Price is a single Baby Boomer whose antidote to a lack of retirement funds was to launch a long-delayed career as a writer. While others her age concoct bucket lists and travel the world, she bought a new-construction home and obsessively creates lists of must-have home improvements and personal realization goals. She specializes in writing about home services and self-motivation.