New Year’s resolutions are so useless you may not even want to make them. You start out strong and then, inevitably give up somewhere in February. But we often set unattainable, unrealistic goals that frequently don’t make much a difference. For example, the old “lose weight” goal is misleading: muscle weighs more than fat so you can be getting healthier and weigh more. We need goals that are attainable, realistic, and lead to real change. Those kinds of resolutions will change your life.
Whatever you choose, make sure you make goals you can measure that you can reach. Don’t just say you are going to work out more and don’t expect to magically hit the gym every day. Start with going twice a week. Once you feel that is too easy, go three times, then four, and eventually you will find what you want and are able to.
Here are a few suggestions that really will change your life if you start to practice them:
1. Turn Off The Screens
It is way too easy to get caught staring at your phone or the TV instead of talking to the people around you. The average person checks their phone over 100 times and watches over 5 hours of TV a day. What if that time was spent digging deeper into relationships or just having fun with the people you were with?
2. Don’t Diet, Get Healthy
Completely overhauling your diet will only to lead burn out. Besides, diets don’t lead to healthy habits. Start by eating less bad foods and slowly work towards removing them completely. This will help you create a new normal, which is much healthier than a crazy two week cleanse.
For example: if you want to drink less sugary drinks, start by limiting yourself (i.e. 1 per day instead of 3, then to 1 per week, etc.) and slowly weaning yourself off them. It’s easier than quitting cold turkey.
3. Say “Yes” To New Experiences
Do you feel like you are in a rut? Say yes to something new, something you would usually groan and roll your eyes at. Expanding your horizons could be just the thing you need.
4. Learn To Cook
You know that every time you watch a cooking show you think, “I wish I could do that.” You can! You just have to start. Your food won’t look perfect or may turn out all wrong but you have to remember, cooking is a skill. You have to work at it. Even if you only cooked once a week, you will have made 52 more meals than you have today and will be 52 meals smarter by 2019.
5. Serve Your Community
Use your time to help others. It will bring change to your community (which we all want) and will give you a purpose beyond yourself. Clean a park, volunteer at a food pantry, serve in the children’s ministry at church. There is never a downside to using your time, energy, and resources to making the world a better place.
6. Join a Book Club
One of the most common qualities in successful people is that they read. They read a lot. But most of us think of books as homework. Simply reading one book a month can transport you to new worlds, show you new ideas, or help you take the next step in your business. And reading with friends will give you the much-needed quality time you all have been looking for.
7. Sleep Eight Hours A Night
Doctors are now linking a lack of sleep with a multitude of terrible, degenerative deceases including Alzheimer’s. More sleep lowers health risks, removes stress, and leads to better well-being. Make it a priority to sleep.
8. Be Thankful
Not just in thought, but actively thankful. Say “thank you” more, tell loved ones why you are thankful for them, keep a journal listing what made you thankful every day. There is no better way to contentment than recognizing all the blessings you already have.
9. Give Your Bucket List A Date
Do you want to go bungee jumping? Take that vacation to Europe? Run a half-marathon? Pull out your calendar and put it on a day. If you just wait for your goals to happen they probably never will. Putting them on the calendar will make them a reality. Could you still not so them? Sure. But that means you either tried or realized that the goal was not a priority for you.
10. Learn A New Language
It is a romantic idea that most of us never get around to, but learning a new language can open a whole new world to you. For example, learning Spanish can open a whole continent up for travel. Learning French can make Paris a lot easier to navigate. No English? No problem!
11. Save Some Money
Star small, say $50 from each paycheck. But save something. The more you save and the earlier you start the more you will have down the road or on a rainy day. Financial security can seem overwhelming, especially if you have debt, but it’s a mountain worth climbing.
12. Treat Yourself
Schedule it: you need to take care of yourself. You only live once and life is too short not to enjoy it.