As we transition into a new year, it’s time to take stock. What do you want more of in your life? Love? Money? Artistic expression? Friendships?
The best part of resolutions is the sense of endless possibility. Here are a few options for exciting resolutions and how to achieve them.
- Eat healthier
While the technical advice is to get 5-7 servings of fruits and veggies a day, if you make it your goal to consume just one piece of fruit and one vegetable per day, you’ll be more likely to follow through (and more likely to consume more than just one).
Don’t forget about raw carrots and those little mandarin oranges. They’re both easy grab-n-go options that’ll keep you on track.
- Become a better writer
Whether it’s blogs, blurbs, or a book, many of us aspire to improve our writing. Here’s an easy way to do so: Get a small notebook and write 3 pages a day in the mornings. This will take no more than 10-15 minutes but has been shown to improve your vocabulary, structure, and grammar, while also lowering your stress levels.
- Start a meditation practice
There are plenty of scientific studies that demonstrate the health benefits of meditation, both physically and mentally. For busy, on-the-go types, it can seem intimidating to get started (What do I do exactly? Will it be boring?).
Here’s an easy way to begin: download the app HeadSpace. All you need are stereo headphones and 10-15 minutes at a time to meditate. You can track your progress and you may be surprised at how good it feels.
- Become more romantic
If you’re in a long-term relationship, romance often diminishes as time goes on. Revive the romance this year by planning a few surprise dates -- apps like How About We have lots of ideas for couples, as does Pinterest. Then tell your partner something like, “meet me here and dress warmly,” but don’t tell them what you have planned. The surprise alone will release dopamine, getting the person primed for a good time.
- Make more money
Wouldn’t it be great to either crush your debt this year, save up for a big investment, or build up your emergency fund?
Consider getting a fun, easy side job you can do a few times a week or month. Good ones include writing or editing gigs (make your own hours), quick money catering or bartending jobs (listed in the ‘gigs’ section of Craigslist in your city), and/or driving for Uber or Lyft.
- Learn something new
If you’re not in school anymore, it can be hard to keep learning new things. But there are a number of places that offer free online courses so you can discover new worlds without ever leaving the comfort of your own home.
Make it extra fun by inviting a friend or two to take the same course - you can talk about what you’re learning as you go. Here are 20 places to educate yourself for free online.
- Be punctual
Being on time is a virtue, and one that’s rare in modern society. It’s the mark of a professional, someone reliable and caring.
So this year, start marking appointments as 15 minutes before they actually are in your calendar (your 4 o’clock is now at 3:45pm). You’ll arrive early, and when you do, take a few deep breaths instead of checking Twitter. You’ll come across as grounded, present, and available, making yourself stand out even more.
- Stop procrastinating
This is the year! Instead of breaking projects down into discrete parts (which can also work), try just giving yourself a time limit. Work on whatever it is you’ve been putting off for 20 minutes only. This will push the ball forward without making you crazy. Plus, you’ll get a sense of how long it’s really going to take you.
Giving back to your local community is good for more than just the recipient of your kindness -- it’s good for your health, as well. Find a volunteer opportunity based on what you love to do -- if you like kids, consider tutoring; love animals? check out the Humane Society; if you get satisfaction from organizing things, food banks can always use the help.
- Get better sleep
You know you’re supposed to get a full 8-10 hours a night, so make this the year you actually make it happen. Hint: figure out what time you need to be asleep by, and an hour or two before then, turn off your phone and television. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you get sleepy when screens stop being involved.
There you have it! Now go forth and resolve.