As the New Year approaches, many of us are looking for ways to improve our lives with this opportunity at a fresh start. All too often, however, we are committing to unrealistic goals. Goals that are difficult to maintain the path towards, let alone accomplish.
Sure, losing weight by exercising more and eating healthier, or ending that destructive habit you’ve had for years are all great ideals to strive towards, but all too often we pressure ourselves into committing to goals we simply aren’t mentally prepared for. That’s why this year, you should try committing to something unconventional. Something different. Something positive that adding it into your daily routine isn’t likely to throw your entire lifestyle a curveball, and ends up making you dread it.
If it seems like less of a chore to accomplish, chances are you’re more likely to do it. Furthermore, the way you work this new habit into your lifestyle may even help you find ways to bring about change when making other, more significant resolutions, whether it’s the beginning of a new year or not.
- Start a new hobby.
Whether it’s crocheting, stamp collecting, or growing a beard, find a new hobby you take pleasure in, and make time to do it.
For my wife, it’s baking and decorating cookies. For me, it’s exercising and playing video games – just not at the same time. She and I have discovered that in our free time, having something occupy our thoughts other than the growing list of to-dos makes us much more productive during those times that we are focused on working.
Besides, lying in bed and thinking of all that needs to be accomplished the next day only results in staying awake longer and not falling asleep… And if you’re anything like me, by the time you wake up the next morning, you have likely forgotten everything on your “to-do” list that you were thinking up as you were falling asleep. I have found that I fall asleep much faster when thinking of something trivial I find pleasure in doing, such as using proper form during my workouts, or what next achievement I’m going to unlock in a video game. My wife tells me that she also sleeps much “sweeter” when she’s thinking about decorating custom cookies as she falls asleep. (Heh, see what I did there?)
When looking for a new hobby, the key is to look for something you actually enjoy spending your time doing, even if it cuts into your 60-hour work week. You’re likely to be more productive during your working hours if you play just as hard as you work.
- Spend more time with people you care about, who also care about you.
Surrounding ourselves with individuals we care about usually brings out the best in us. This New Year, set aside time to focus on those that bring out the positives. Those that challenge you to better yourself, and whom you challenge to do the same.
The second part of this resolution is just as important as the first. Reason being is because if we are not careful, we can find ourselves in relationships that are one-sided. In those instances, try to take a step back and evaluate how that relationship is bringing about a change in you. If we are truly honest with ourselves, we can objectively examine the situation that we’re in, and make appropriate adjustments. The point is to surround yourself with individuals who make you better, not bitter.
- Give more hugs.
Hugs are awesome! Few things come close to the warm fuzzies you get when you wrap your arms around someone, and they wrap theirs around you. Unless they’re strangers. Then it’s just awkward. Or assault. You want to stay away from those kinds of hugs.
No one ever walks away from a hug in a worse mood than they were in before. If they do, they’re doing it wrong. You shouldn’t hug out of a sense of obligation, or do it begrudgingly because you committed to doing it more. And whatever you do, don’t be that person that goes in for a hug when the recipient isn’t expecting it.
Yes, there’s much more to the hugger-huggee dynamic than these nuggets of wisdom, but we’ll cover that another time. If you’re going to pick this as your resolution, commit to doing it right for the sake of all those involved. Practice consensual hugging.
…Bet you didn’t think there was such a thing as hug etiquette, did you?
- Get more sleep.
Although I could spend more time trying to convince you of this one, I don’t think I need to. For a lot of us, getting more sleep is easier said than done. With our demanding schedules and hectic routines, getting a reasonable amount of shut-eye each night is a tall order.
Without going into it in detail, the best way to accomplish this is by committing yourself to going to bed at a set time each night. Even if you are just lying in bed thinking about that new hobby, your body will appreciate the time you take to rest it – even if your mind is still turned on.
- Be more generous.
Although this resolution requires a little more effort than others, the rewards you’ll reap in return are worth it. When it comes to giving, the two primary things we have at our disposal are time and money. I’ve heard it said many times that “You’ll make time for the things you want to have time for, and you’ll make money for the things you want to have money for.”
So, if you truly want to make a difference in the coming year, making a conscious effort to be more generous is a great way to do it. However, for a lot of us, it doesn’t just come naturally, and we actually have to put forth an effort into being generous.
Here are some suggestions:
- A simple Google search for “volunteer opportunities” will return a heap of results for opportunities to donate your time locally. One of the primary search results you’ll see is VolunteerMatch.com, which is a great resource that can pair you up with a cause that you are passionate about.
- If you would rather donate resources other than your time, make sure you do the research about the organization you are donating to. Reason being is that you want to make sure the resources you are providing are making it into the right hands.
- Finally, if simple gift giving to brighten someone’s day is more your thing, we can help give you some ideas by going to our website here.
- Plan a vacation… and then take it!
One of the best resolutions you can make for yourself this year is committing to taking a vacation. It will give you something to work towards, and something to look forward to. A reward for all the hard work you’ve done up to that point. There are those of you reading this for whom it has been years since you took a real vacation. Don’t let another year pass by without taking an opportunity to make memories that will last you for the rest of your life.
Whenever I think back on the times that I made memories with my family, more often than not, they were the times we all went on vacation.
When I was a child and went on vacation with my parents, some of the fondest memories I have growing up started with my sisters and me in the back seat of our parents’ car, driving to our destination while singing out of tune at the top of our lungs.
Now that I have a family of my own, I cherish every opportunity we get to get away and focus entirely on each other. Whenever I look back fondly on the times we’ve spent together, it wasn’t after I got home after a long day of work. Although my wife and I always look forward to an opportunity to cuddle up on the couch with our little ones piled around us to watch “Cars” or “Frozen” for the umpteenth time, we found that a change of scenery and focusing entirely on one another is much more memorable.
- Learn to speak with a different accent. Seriously.
Suggesting that your resolution should be speaking in a different or a foreign accent isn’t meant to be a mockery. It is meant to bring a little comedic relief into your life and the lives of those around you.
I immigrated into this wonderful country at an early age, and have lost my foreign accent a long time ago. However, even with multiple family members who still have thick foreign accents, I don’t find it offensive when my friends joke by speaking with different accents. Quite the contrary – when I hear my friends who have accents of their own attempt speaking in a different one altogether is more entertaining than words can express. Like my Southern friend trying to speak in a Russian accent but not being able to keep the “ya’ll” out of it, or my Hispanic friend speaking like the Swedish chef from The Muppets – it’s hilarious.
Personally, British, Irish, Australian, and Pirate are my favorites. For those that have heard my impressions, it’s hard to tell when one ends and the other begins, but that’s half the fun.
However, if by learning to speak in a different accent, your intent is to poke fun at others and not yourself, then don’t do it. Usually, it’s quite obvious when someone is just having innocent fun by imitating different accents, or if they’re doing it as a mockery.
Finally, I would like to apologize in advance to any pirates I may have offended with this suggestion for a New Year’s resolution. It wasn’t meant as a mockery. Your feelings “arr” just as important as anyone else’s.