The naysayers will say that it’s arbitrary. They’ll add that the calendar has nothing to do with how someone lives their life. Anyone can change at any time they like. If they really want to. Right? However, we are creatures of time. We live by appointments. It doesn’t matter if it’s an oil change, soccer practice, school, budget meetings, a birthday, a concert or just dinner with friends – the clock and calendar dictates a lot of how we live. With that in mind, it can be nice to hit reset, even if it is arbitrary.
•Learn Something New
Whether it’s learning a new instrument that you cheaply bought on Amazon, reading a self-help book, watching TedTalk lectures online, or even learning how to build a canoe, there are endless possibilities on what you can learn and how to learn it. With today’s amazing technology at your fingertips, you can learn how to do absolutely anything – FOR FREE.
Take advantage of YouTube and learn something new. In the words of famous actor and life coach Nick Offerman, “I would like Americans to make things with their hands. Thomas Jefferson and I feel that makes for a much stronger nation.”
•Say “No” More Often
You’re cornered with something that you don’t want to do, but you feel obligated to say “yes” so you don’t seem like a party poop. Maybe you worry too much about other’s feelings. How about instead of doing something to make someone else happy, just say “no.” Even if you decide to come up with some random excuse so you can feel better about not hurting the person’s feelings, that’s fine, just say no.
It’s not only important to maintain relationships with others. It’s also important to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself. It’s ok if you want to stay in by yourself on a Saturday night with a blanket, a large pizza, and your buddy, Netflix.
•Strive Toward Ending an Addiction
When you think of addiction, you think smoking or drinking, but there are many different ways you can become obsessed with an unhealthy habit. One of the most common addictions in today’s world is our phones. When we get a text message, a Snapchat, or check our social media, our brain releases a natural chemical called dopamine. It’s the same thing that kicks in when smoking a cigarette and drinking alcohol…or both! That’s two very addictive habits.
When you’re feeling stressed, sad, or bored, instead of checking your phone, try doing something different. Take a walk and leave your phone at home or meet up with a friend to talk with them about your day. Finding new ways to bring you happiness and counteract the addiction will have you feeling better in no time.
•Take a Break
A lot of New Year’s resolutions involve traveling someplace far that very few people have visited. The problem is, there’s a reason those locations have rarely been visited because taking a long trip without intense planning ahead of time can take a huge toll on your finances, work, and more.
Instead of taking a huge trip, take small breaks to get away for a while. Take a walk in your local park, visit a tourist spot in your area, even take an actual lunch break that allows you to step away from your desk and eat your lunch outside. Little breaks will bring you the relaxation and happiness you crave without the stress of travel itself.
•Stop Doing Something You Hate
Just because your friend posts a ton of pictures of themselves biking in the mountains and exploring the outdoors on two wheels doesn’t mean that it’s something that you have to enjoy doing as well, just to please your Instagram “aesthetic”. Instead of copying what other people do and hating it, find your own aesthetic and stick with it.
If you decide that you want to be healthier in 2017 then great! Go be healthy. But if you start running every other day but realize you hate to run, stop doing it. There are so many different ways that you can achieve your goal. You just have to figure out how you can enjoy it. You’re much more likely to keep your New Year’s resolution if you realize you love doing it.
•Add Nutrition to Things You Already Love
Speaking of being healthy, how about instead of giving up that cheeseburger that you love so much, throw on some extra veggies and have it with a side salad instead of french fries? Just because you want to eat healthier doesn’t mean that you have to give up all the unhealthy things that you love.
Learning how to balance your food is more important than going full on vegan to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Maybe becoming a vegan cold turkey is for you, but maybe it’s not. Find a way to balance out your food with a little bit of nutrition and you’ll feel better about yourself for eating an entire pizza by yourself because you ate it with a side of fresh vegetables.
•Accept Compliments & Criticism
One of the biggest issues that we have as people is accepting compliments. When someone tells you that they like your hair, they think you’re doing a great job, or that they think you look good today, you automatically jump to making excuses instead of just accepting the compliment. When someone says “I like the way you did your hair today!” instead of saying, “Really? Because I felt like I had the worst bedhead this morning!” just give a simple “thank you” with a smile and maybe return the compliment.
Along with compliments, learn how to take criticism as well. A lot of us are in the mindset that if someone else doesn’t agree with me, then they are wrong. Listen to people’s criticism and take note of what they’re saying. If someone at your work gives you a suggestion on how you can improve, don’t shoot their ideas down right away. Listen to what they have to say and act on them.
•Reread & Watch Your Favorite Series
There’s a reason that your favorite book or TV show brought you joy when you first experienced it. It releases a healthy dose of that natural brain drug mentioned earlier, dopamine and it’s a pretty awesome head high that can make you feel great.
When you’re feeling down, go back to something that you know has made you happy in the past. Getting a nostalgic feeling from the experience can really brighten up your day and put a smile on your face.
•Contact an Old Friend or Family Member
It’s important to maintain important relationships, especially with people that you know care about you. Life can get pretty busy and sometimes it seems like you don’t have enough time to really sit down and talk to loved ones about your life. Instead of stressing about the next time you’re free for lunch, start small and reach out to those you love.
Next time you’re sitting at work and you realize you have a good 7 seconds of free time, text your mom and let her know you love her and you’re thinking of her. Seeing a text from you on a random day is all she needs to know that you’re ok. When you’re scrolling through Facebook, send a small note to your old high school friend and congratulate them on their tenth baby and wish them well. Small reminders here and there that you’re thinking of people is all the contact you need to make.
•Find New Music
You probably have a playlist on your phone that you listen to on repeat everyday. Though this is probably a collection of your favorite songs, mix it up a bit with a different sound. Talk to your friends, family, or coworkers about what they like to listen to and why. Finding out why people listen to certain music is usually because of a personal reason and can impress people to open up more.
Imagine how it feels when you show a friend a new song and they love it, do the same thing for them. Ask to listen to some of their favorite songs and not only will you probably find a whole new taste for music but you’ll also reach a new level of friendship with those you care about.
Maybe some of these would work for you. Maybe two of them will. There are a lot of things you won’t be able to control in 2017, so focus on the things you can and have a fantastic year.