Making resolutions for the new year is easy: lose weight, read more, eat healthy, blah, blah, blah. Unfortunately, these life changing commitments are typically abandoned well before the second month of the year. Instead of setting yourself up for failure with vague resolutions and no plan of action, this can be the year that you actually follow through.
Instead of “lose weight”
1. Don’t drink during the week.
Alcohol isn’t doing us any favors when it comes to our health. For most people, it’s pretty unrealistic to cut out alcohol for an entire year; keep your drinking to Friday nights, Saturdays, and Sundays, and you’re bound to see some changes… especially if you’re a big beer drinker.
2. Get a work out buddy and join a class.
Rather than saying you’re going to start working out, have someone that holds you accountable and classmates that notice when you’re absent. Check out ClassPass or see if your company has some type of exercise incentive program.
3. Set boundaries with Seamless.
Seamless, or any food delivery for that matter, is equally convenient and problematic. I can’t vilify Seamless because there are so many healthy options- my thumbs are just drawn to the unhealthy options. Rather than cutting out food delivery altogether, set limits on how often you’ll use it. You know how heavily you rely on food ordering apps, so set a realistic limit; for some people that means 3 times a month, and for others that means 3 times a week. When the weather isn’t ridiculous and you’ve got an extra 10 minutes, walk to get your lunch or dinner. Your tummy and your wallet will thank you.
4. Experiment with meal prepping.
Meal prepping is so unappealing to me, but I know so many people that swear by it, so it needs to mentioned. Invest in some quality tupperware, and plan out your meals for the week. Pick a convenient day of the week (I think most people do this on Sunday) and make all of your food for the week. That sounds unrealistic to me, so my goal would probably be to just have the groceries I need for the week available in my own apartment. I could entertain the thought of having prepared snacks like hummus, veggies, fruits, etc. At the very least, make a list of what you plan on eating for lunch and dinner every day of the week. Schedule in your Seamless meals and brunch and the office pizza party.
5. Change your Pinterest settings.
If you’re trying to eat healthier- regardless of what that means to you- stop following dessert boards! You can select which boards to follow of your friends, so if you have a friend obsessed with pinning desserts that will likely put you in a diabetic coma, go ahead and unfollow that ASAP. Follow boards that will inspire you and find users that have similar goals and interests: seek out healthy food boards that feature meals you could actually make and enjoy as well as boards with different exercise regimens and suggestions. Make your Pinterest something that enables you to meet and surpass your goals rather than something that hinders you.
Instead of “be a better friend”
6. Send snail mail.
Technology has made it so easy to pretend that commenting on an instagram picture and leaving one voicemail a month is the same as catching up with an old friend, but that is certainly untrue. Writing letters or sending postcards can be so meaningful and a great way to strengthen friendships. It also makes checking the mail infinitely more exciting.
7. Start a new tradition.
Whether you host an event for a specific holiday, or you begin a monthly book club- invite your group of friends to an event that leaves everyone with something to look forward to. You can host a monthly Sunday brunch, have a Valentine’s weekend girls’ night out, a couples game night, plan a road trip. really anything. Create and mail invitations or send out some evites; set a dress code; decide if it’s a potluck/ byob situation; get excited.
8. Show up.
I am the flakiest person ever. This is not a secret. I probably cancel over 50% of my plans, so I’m resolving to show up when I say I’m going to. Regardless of the weather, regardless of the people going, regardless of where we’re going. Remember to actually consider your schedule, your budget, and your interests before RSVPing “yes.”
9. Introduce your friends.
Blend your friend groups. Mix college friends with co workers with family with your boyfriend’s friends. Since all of these people presumably have something in common with you, the chances of them finding commonalities with a new person are extremely high. If you live in a big city, this is a must, because no one knows how to make friends in the real world.
Instead of “be happier”
10. Treat yourself.
This obviously means something different for everyone, but it’s the same idea. Set aside some money each week (whatever you’re comfortable with), and apply it to a goal. It could be a new book each month, a monthly massage, a pair of shoes, a freaking Kitchen Aid stand mixer- you do you. You should also try buying yourself flowers every now and then.
11. Invest in your hobbies.
I love to write, but I often let my busy schedule get in the way of doing so. My resolution this year is to write at least one blog post a week on my personal blog and at least one Writtalin article a week. Basically, pencil yourself in to your own schedule.
12. Set reading goals.
If it hasn’t become clear to you yet, I really enjoy reading, and I’ve always been under the assumption that people who don’t classify themselves as “readers” just haven’t found their genre yet. You can aim high with 52 books in a year (Pop Sugar has a great checklist for that), a book a month, a book every two weeks, or just a list of books you’d like to read within the year. A great way to keep track of books you’ve read, books you’d like to read, and recommendations is to create a goodreads account.
13. Update your resume and share it.
Being unhappy at work is a common problem these days. Update your resume and cater it your dream job. Send it all over the place. These aren’t college applications, they don’t cost money. Apply to your dream job in your dream city even if you don’t feel qualified. Explore new career paths if you’re not doing what you enjoy. There’s no harm in any of this, so you have no reason not to do it.
Rather than waiting until spring to rid yourself of the excess in your life, do it now. If you’re trying to get rid of clothing items, look into thredUP. Do a kitchen purge and get rid of the food that is unhealthy or something you’re just never going to eat. Figure out if any of it can be donated, or make some easy meals from it and give them to homeless people in your neighborhood.
15. Seek encouragement.
Tell people what changes you’re making and ask them to check up on you. Keep up with your progress and setbacks in conversations, emails, blogs, a notebook. It’s important to have people that motivate you and want to see you succeed.