Have you ever dreamed of making New Year’s resolutions you will actually keep? The kind of resolutions that will really help you achieve your goals? If you’re looking for a way to make 2017 your best year yet, this is your chance. The year is still fresh enough for you to have that spark of optimism, while all that “new year, new me” craze has dialled down. So, if you are determined to make the best out of this year, follow our guide to making 7 resolutions worth sticking to.
1. If you want to: get fitter
If you’ve promised yourself that this is the year you will get fitter, start by making small commitments. While the overarching goal might be to shed 5 kilos, focus on the small stuff. If you are someone who is used to having desserts every day, restrict yourself to three desserts per week. Or, if you are looking to add more greens to your diet try to incorporate vegetables or a salad in every meal. You could also aim to have at least one fruit per day.
If you are looking to become more physically active as well, look for a form of exercise that you find pleasurable. It might be hitting the gym on a regular basis. Or, it might be a sport, such as tennis. It could even be something completely new such as a fun bungee workout class. Just make sure that whichever form of exercise you pick is one you genuinely enjoy and can see yourself sticking to.
2. If you want to: save money
Saving money is always a tricky one. In the short-term, it might seem that buying that one Starbucks drink doesn’t make a difference but at the end of the day (and the year!) it adds up. First of all, in order to save money, it is important to know where you are spending it. Keep track of all the money you are spending for just one week, and you will be able to see where your money goes on a daily basis. You might realise that you are spending a lot on coffee, which you could be making at home. Or, maybe those €2 organic snack bars you are having every day are not worth it after all. Figure out your most costly habits and try to cut back on them. Make that daily Starbucks coffee a once-a-week thing.
Also, if you are looking to save large amounts of money, it could be worth opening a savings accounts or simply a second account that you specifically use to deposit your savings. Depending on how much you want to have saved by the end of the year, you can work out the amount you shoud be saving per month. It can be €200 per month, €100 per month, or even as little €20 per month. A more old-fashioned alternative is having a piggy-bank. Promise yourself to store in the piggy-bank all €1 or €2 coins that cross your path in the course of the year and you’ll be surprised by how much you end up saving!
3. If you want to: be more adventurous
Have you always wanted to book a spontaneous holiday but never actually did it? Do you wish you had the courage to go on that super fast and super extreme roller-coaster ride? How about skydiving? Is that one of your long-standing dreams? This year, do one thing, just one thing, that scares you. And no, that doesn’t mean jumping off a very high window just for the sake of it. Find it in you to do something you’ve always wanted to do, but were too afraid to. It could be something as simple as going out to the cinema or to a bar by yourself.
While pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is one way of going about it, you could also simply let yourself be carried there. Next time you get an offer to go on a road trip, to try that new spicy-food restaurant: just say yes. Surprise yourself by being open to all kinds of adventures and you will slowly turn into the adventurer you always dreamed of being.
4. If you want to: become more social
Over the years, it might seem that your social circle is getting smaller and smaller. And that’s probably a good thing. But, what about that Saturday morning when you really wanted to go for brunch at that new restaurant but all your friends happened to be busy? The truth is that while friendships occur naturally, widening your social circle requires some effort. And it is often the case that you might not be making as much effort as you think you are. Did you ever turn down the chance to go out with your colleagues because you had already made plans with your friends? If so, then you are guilty of doing what many of us do: sticking to what we know because it’s safe.
Even if you already have a comfortable circle of friends, it is always worth making an effort to get to know the people in your everyday life a little better. That includes both your colleagues and other people you might not generally socialise with, such as your gym instructor or your local coffee shop barista.
Another way of widening your social circle is by taking on new activities. Nowadays, there are a lot of innovative platforms such as Meetup or LocalBini that are intended to bring like-minded people together. Take advantage of the opportunity to socialise outside your own circle and make connections with people who share your interests.
5. If you want to: spruce up your romantic life
Whatever your current relationship status: single, committed, or ambiguous, think about what led to you this status and if you are happy with it. If you are currently single, ask yourself if it’s by choice. While you might very well be content being single, you shouldn’t be afraid of admitting to yourself if you are single when you would rather not be. It’s the first step to putting yourself out there.
If you are in a committed relationship take some time to think about whether or not this relationship fulfils you. It might be the case that you just stayed in the relationship “out of habit” while secretly wishing for something else.
Last but no least, if you are in an ambiguous phase with somebody, ask yourself why it is so. If you are happy to go with the flow, ambiguous might just work for you. But, if you are someone who needs to know where things are going perhaps it is time to clarify things with one of those dreaded “so where is this going conversations”. Be honest with what you want to receive honesty in return.
What is important to remember is that regardless of whether you are single, in a committed relationship, or part of something more complex, what matters, above of all, is your relationship with yourself. Before looking to find happiness elsewhere, be sure to find happiness within. It might sound corny, but having a good relationship with yourself instills confidence. And confidence is one of the most attractive qualities in a person.
6. If you want to: be more eco-conscious
The ozone layer may be healing and pandas may no longer be on the endangered species list, but how much of that is thanks to you? If you’ve never considered yourself as eco-conscious start small. The year is 2017 and there is no longer any excuse for not recycling. If you are not sorting your trash, you should be. Apart from that, it’s the little things: buy less so that you throw away less, opt for more eco-friendly forms of transport when you can, buy locally grown products. Even though it might not feel like you are making a difference, in the long-term, you are.
Apart from daily habits, you can also try becoming more involved in eco-friendly causes you care about. This year, pick one thing you truly care about, whether it’s endangered species or deforestation, and fight for it. Search for a local or international organisation that is dedicated to this cause and aim to contribute on a monthly basis, whether it is by giving your money or your time.
7. If you want to: be more caring
Are you a good person? Or rather, do you feel like a good person? If you feel like you’ve been too distracted the past few years to do some good for your fellow humans, perhaps it is time to change that. Again, you can do this by dedicating yourself to a cause you truly care about. Or, what you could do is commit yourself to doing at least one random act of kindness per day. It can be something as simple as paying a coffee forward or keeping the bus door open for someone who is in a hurry.
Of course, caring cannot come without awareness. If you find yourself staying away from the news because there’s “too much negativity” perhaps it is time to re-evaluate. Keeping yourself informed and aware trumps feeling blue every now and again. Educate yourself about the greatest injustices in this world and figure out what it is your really care about and are willing to fight for.
It might be overwhelming, to think that you have to achieve all of this in just one year. After all, it is only 365 days. But, no one says your resolutions should end at the end of the year. They might just be the start of something: the start of, not a new, but a better you.