Written by Chad Echakowitz
Let’s be honest, you need this tough love and I’m here to give it to you. You aren’t that great. Your life could use some improving and only you can make those improvements. You are responsible for your own happiness - no one else is. And you have to put in that effort to make yourself happier. The fact that the Earth has completed a full revolution around the sun does not mean that you’ve suddenly become the God of improvement. Nothing changes between December 31st and January 1st that will make it easier to better yourself.
So what are you going to do about it? Pretend to improve for a month and then go back to the same person you always were? That’s how it usually works. Of course, you could join the group of people who scoff at all the Resolutioners and their ambition, knowing that - very much like them - you are not going to be a, “new you” in the “New Year”. But that doesn’t make you any better than the Resolutioner, you’re just more jaded.
The only way to change – and really change for good – is to set realistic goals at realistic time intervals. There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve yourself; but pinning all of your hopes and dreams on 01/01/2018 is insane. As such, it’s time to get realistic. Here are five New Year’s Resolutions that you’re more likely to keep.
1. See More Friends
I get it, you’re a busy little bee. You’ve got a job, a significant other, maybe a pet or a kid (is there really a difference?). There’s hardly any time for you to breathe let alone see friends. It’s easier nowadays to avoid any social interaction with them, and instead, hit them up for a chat on Facebook or like their tweets and Instagram posts. Social media has created a brilliant way for us to stay in your friends’ lives without having to actually be in their lives.
If you’re honest with yourself, you know this is not enough. Get yourself out of your comfy trousers and into some jeans and go out and meet your buddies. You don’t even have to spend any money if you’re worried about the cost.
Dinner dates are always a concrete way to ensure that you can get the whole gang together at least once a month. Plan in advance on who will host and what’s going to be on the menu and then book it into your diary. Plan the next one during that dinner and boom! You’ve kept a New Year’s resolution.
If you have multiple groups of friends, that’s not a problem. A half-an-hour coffee, or a lovely little walk, or even just a chat on a park bench is not that taxing on your schedule. I’m not suggesting you see all your friends every week but making time for them at least once a month isn’t hard. Not only will it enrich your life to love others and to know you are loved too, there are also health benefits to seeing friends.
This is a simple resolution to keep with multiple incentives to continue throughout the year. Friends are important. 2018 can be the year to show your friends how important they are to you.
2. Take sugar out of your Tea and Coffee
I just felt millions of people cry out in anger, hatred, and shock. I know it sounds like a big ask but it’s really not. Adding 2 teaspoons of sugar to your tea or coffee increases calorie intake by 50 Calories. That doesn’t seem like a lot but if you’re having more than two cups a day, that can really add up. You want to lose a bit of weight in 2018, this is one way to do it.
You don’t have to go cold turkey: ween yourself off the white powder, take it down a spoon a week - or even a month if you’re so addicted - and before you know it, you’ll be drinking coffee and tea like the Italians and the British respectively (you definitely don’t want to get those two mixed up). Alternatively, you could skip putting sugar in your tea or coffee every second or third cup, depending on how much you drink. Start increasing that frequency and by February, you’d be sugar free.
Before too long, you’ll start to find sugar too sweet. The natural taste of coffee and tea will become the norm and adding sugar will be unimaginable. Of course, if you’re drinking tea or coffee just for the sweet, sugary taste, maybe you should think about trying a different beverage.
This is an easy resolution to keep because you don’t consciously have to do anything. It’s an omission – you are omitting sugar. There’s no strenuous work involved. It even takes a step out of making coffee, you can be even lazier while still losing weight.
3. Recycle More
I’m not saying recycle everything. Recycling companies make it difficult to care for our planet with so many rules that we have to obey before they’ll actually recycle things. There’s way too much effort in recycling and this obviously needs to change. But that isn’t what this resolution is about.
All I’m asking is for you to up your game. While it is still difficult to recycle, it’s a heck of a lot easier than it used to be. And we have a duty to do so. Even if you don’t care about the planet because we’re all eventually going to move to Mars, we all have an obligation to be a little bit less of an asshole to our friends, family, and to the planet. No one likes an asshole. Recycling – even just a little bit – will make you less of an asshole.
This is such an easy resolution to keep. There’s no great time dedication and you do a little bit more to help the world. Just take your paper, and your empty cartons of milk, and your cardboard, and put it in a recycling bin instead of the normal bin. You’ll look back at the end of 2018 and smile at the fact that you did your part.
Click here to see a few simple ways that will help you recycle more.
4. Go for a Walk
Walking is easy. It also counts as exercise. Just do 20 minutes a day and you’ll feel better for it. Instead of rewatching season 3 of Brooklyn 99, just head out the door and enjoy the fresh air (fresher now because you’re recycling). You can even do it while browsing Facebook or Instagram if you need a distraction.
Yes, you will have to find the time in your day to do so, but think of it this way: it’s shorter and less strenuous than going to the gym, it’s free, and you’re more likely to keep doing it because of how easy it is. It also fulfils any New Year’s Resolution to do more exercise or to get outside more, so that's two more to cross off your resolution list.
There are also some serious health benefits. Walking regularly will help you lose weight, help to regulate any heart conditions and high blood pressure, and it will help strengthen your bones and muscles. Additionally, it will improve your balance and coordination. This will come in handy for the upcoming Hunger Games.
So go for it. Put one foot in front of the other and step towards the new you in this new year.
5. Listen to Audiobooks
One of the most common resolutions that people make is to read more. Six months in to the year and you’ve read exactly two books and you’re rewatching Season 1 of Brooklyn 99 for the third time. In fairness, this isn’t necessarily your fault. You’ve become the human equivalent of Jubilee for not trying harder to pick up a book, but it is hard when you work all day, go for walks, meet friends, and recycle.
That’s where audiobooks come in. We all spend time sitting in traffic, listening to the radio and to music that we don’t particularly like. If you’re in the gym, they usually play music which is unbearable. Audiobooks kill two birds with one stone. You can continue to sit in traffic or walk to wherever you’re going or work out in the gym and read a book at the same time.
A subscription to Audible isn’t too expensive and you get 1 free credit for a book every month (so long as you have Amazon Prime). On that basis alone, by the end of the year you’ve read at least 12 books. That isn’t a lot but it’s more than you would have had you kept reading physical copies of books.
And boom! It’s 2019 and you’ve kept at least 5 of your New Year’s Resolutions. You should be proud of yourself because now you’re slightly less Jubilee-esque. No matter how many, or how few, resolutions you keep this year, self-love and self-care are the most important things to remember. You should love yourself, no matter who you are, but if you do want to change, nothing and no one will do that for you. It’s up to you. Good luck.