New Year’s resolutions: many of us make them each January, and then by March they are long forgotten. Some of the most common broken resolutions are to lose weight, quit smoking, get out of debt, volunteer, and be less stressed. In fact, around 45% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, according to a University of Scranton survey published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, and yet only 8% will accomplish them.
One of the reasons we fail to follow through with our resolutions is because we set lofty goals that are nearly impossible to reach. Many of us haven’t yet become the type of person that is capable of achieving our biggest goals.
Fret not– there is hope! This year, let’s work on the tangible actions that will get us closer to successfully achieving our New Year’s resolutions once and for all!
Here’s a list of 30 action-packed resolutions we can start today to transform us each into that person who is capable of making their dreams come true:
1. Make a new friend a month
Friends increase our well-being, no matter what our personality type. We can make it a point to get to know a co-worker’s family, a couple from your church, a friend’s friend, or join a meet-up group for a hobby that we’re interested in. Social connection with others is one of the most important aspects of being human.
2. Send a letter or card each week to a loved one
Most people only communicate through text messages, e-mail and social media these days. Sometimes people call each other, but nothing is as rare as receiving a letter in the regular mail. It’s nice to let our loved ones really know that we took the time – and effort – to think about them.
3. Do something nice for others every day
Be the person that makes others feel special. It can be something small like giving a compliment, or something great like donating blood. By knowing we are making a difference, we will also indirectly increase our own happiness and sense of achievement.
4. Get rid of “frenemies”
Life is too short to continue to hold on to people who secretly despise us, and everything that we do. Let’s go ahead and drop those people that constantly pick fights with us. It’s not worth the stress and drama.
5. Strengthen relationships with family members
We might have a great family or a really messed up one – either way, they’re our family. We ought to do what we can to make them a bigger part of our lives – even if it just means a bi-weekly phone call to our sister.
6. Be more forgiving
When we forgive, we let go of resentment, anger, and any other bad feelings that may be holding us back from being happy. Forgiveness is a great gift to ourselves.
7. Let go of the need to be right
Practicing humility is a great way to change our need to prove others wrong. We can all learn something from opening our minds and genuinely listening to what others may have to offer. It does not mean that we have to accept their ideas and beliefs. When we are confident in our own choices, we don’t have to prove anything.
8. Be more aware of the negative sh*t we post on social media
Even though we all have them, our negative judgments and pet peeves shared on social media make us look like horrible people. Let’s stop and think before we post something offensive or mean-spirited from now on.
9. Stop being so shallow
Appearances are almost always deceiving. When we judge a person by what they look like, we are depriving ourselves of getting to know a lot of great people.
10. Free yourself from blaming anyone for anything
We need to be responsible for our own lives. Allowing ourselves to play the role of a victim is not empowering. Circumstances are not always favorable, but we always have a choice to change things or remain the same.
11. Try a new food each week
Instead of cutting foods out of our diet in the hopes of losing weight, we can add new, interesting foods instead. Adding variety will ultimately limit how much bad foods we eat on a regular basis. Check out rutabagas, plantains, and green garbanzo beans, to name just a few.
12. Save just a little more
It’s a scary fact that most Americans don’t have a retirement fund or a substantial amount of money in their savings accounts. A small step can be made to remedy this problem – make automatic investments. When we are paid each pay period, let’s make sure that a portion of our pay is deposited into a savings account and/or retirement fund. When we receive a pay increase or bonus, we can also put that money into your savings. It’s easier to part with the money when it’s automatically taken out and we don’t have to remember or worry about it.
13. Change your retail therapy habit
Shopping is difficult to give up for many of us. Instead, we ought to look at where we are spending the most money and limit our shopping trips. When purchasing, go for quality over price. A good quality item lasts longer and will not need to be replaced as frequently. Other ideas that are great include using coupons or discount codes and go thrift and consignment shopping.
14. Shop locally, eat locally and acknowledge where your money is going
We all vote with our wallet. Because consumers control the economy, it’s important to support businesses in our neighborhoods and surround areas. We can visit our local food co-op for groceries instead of Wal-Mart and shop at boutiques and consignment stores rather than big retail chains.
15. Start a new routine
We typically do the same thing every day. Boring! What can you add to your routine to make it new and interesting? It doesn’t have to be something drastic. It can be something as simple as changing the route we drive to work each day or reading five pages of a book each morning after we wake up.
16. Avoid rabbit holes
If we wish to have a more productive 2015, we can start by putting away our cellphones and closing the internet browser on our work computers. Most text messages, phone calls, e-mails, and social media can wait. This discipline will get us focused on our important tasks and limit tendency towards procrastination.
17.Turn off the smartphone
It’s a wise idea to turn off our phones while we are sleeping, while at important meetings, while spending quality time with someone, or when trying to focus on being productive. Our phones are a bigger distraction than we will ever admit to. While we’re play on our phones, life is passing us by.
18. Cross something off the bucket list
If we can do just one new thing each year of our lives from this year until the day we die, we will have lived an extremely fulfilled life. Let’s prepare to climb that mountain to the summit, go skydiving, scuba dive with tropical fish, or mentor an at-risk kid.
19. Take selfies in interesting places
It doesn’t have to be a photo in a foreign land to be interesting. Exploring our own city is good enough. This is our chance to get creative. We can post them on Instagram, or just keep them for our own collections.
20. Learn something new
If we aren’t already busy learning in school, we could take a continuing education class, join a hobby group, read a college text book, or join the creativelive.com community. Let’s be life-long learners!
21. Find freedom from the fear of the unknown
The foggy path will reveal itself one small step at a time. But we have to find the courage to take the first step. Relinquish control. Rest assured that everything always turns out okay in the end.
22. Quit your job (if you hate it)
If what we do for a living does not create happiness or give our life a sense of purpose, we can start working on updating our resumes. We can take a risk and apply for a job that sounds really awesome…even if we don’t think there is any way that we could get it the job.
23. Start journaling
We all have thoughts, feelings, and things that make us really happy – but so many of us make the mistake of sharing it all on Facebook. The more appropriate thing to do would be to start a journal. It’s private, it’s easy to re-read and reflect, and it doesn’t offer bad, unsolicited advice for our problems.
There is nothing more healing to our soul than letting our emotions out to play once in a while. Strength and growth comes from allowing this to take place. Weakness is locking feelings away.
25. Address depression or mental illness
If we’ve been feeling ‘off’ for awhile and every day feels like a struggle, we shouldn’t ignore it. It may be a warning sign. Reach out for help – it’s okay.
26. Stop beating yourself up for skipping on exercise
It really doesn’t get us anywhere by crippling our self-worth with negative talk for skipping workouts. The more critical we are of ourselves for failing to exercise, the less likely we will be to start working out again. When we do finish a workout, let’s focus on how great it made us feel and praise ourselves instead.
27. Trust that struggles and obstacles are part of a plan
Life isn’t easy – and for good reason. The challenges we have to overcome in life assist us in personal growth. Each experience we have to go through shapes us into a stronger, more resilient human being. Instead of resisting and trying to control the order of life, let’s trust that what we’re going through is part of a bigger plan.
28. Speak kindly to yourself
Can we try to be our own best friends each day? Let’s give ourselves empowering compliments. The next time we think a negative thought about ourselves, let’s take a moment to think about what our friends would say about us. When we learn to treat and speak to ourselves more kindly, we become better partners too!
29. Get to really know yourself
What qualities do we show when we are being the best version of ourselves? What about the worst? What brings out the best and worst in us? What can we do to limit situations that bring out not-so-great qualities? We can even take a few personality tests online and see how our character traits are best used for success.
30. Realize that you have something the world needs
There is a gift inside each of us that needs to be shared. Focus on unwrapping the layers within yourself so that you can present it to the world.
Featured photo credit: Christina on the top of the world!/David De Clercq via world-adventurer.com