Lose weight. Get in shape. Eat healthier. These are some of the most common New Year’s resolutions, and they are dutifully deployed without much thought each January. But what if you took a more radical approach to resolutions? There are some things women should resolve to do to become more confident and outspoken. You can use 2016 to become the most kick-ass version of yourself ever.
By helping support other women, speaking up more often, and even learning to break the apology habit, you can make life more pleasant for yourself and those around you. These are some important resolutions that you’ll actually be motivated to keep. After all, affecting positive societal change is a worthy goal for anyone.
These resolutions can banish destructive habits, boost your self-esteem, and help you feel more comfortable in your own skin. You can learn to stop apologizing for everyday things that need no apology, or feel comfortable asking a chronic manspreader to reign in his space. By becoming more aware of the little things you do that might undermine your esteem, as well as positive changes you can make to help yourself and other women, you can kick off this January in the best possible way. If you want to feel more powerful — and elevate those around you at the same time — keep these excellent resolutions in mind throughout the year.
“I’m sorry” is an automatic response for many women, but it often acts as a placeholder for more direct speech, as this piece from The New York Times explains. You don’t have to say sorry for everyday things that are beyond your control, and you certainly don’t have to apologize for just existing in the world.
2Own Your Space
While manspreading is the phenomenon of men taking up others’ space (usually in public transit), women often go to the opposite extreme to take up as little space as possible, to be unobtrusive and inoffensive. This acts as a sort of physical apology for existing in the world, which — again — requires no justification. So whether you’re going into an important meeting, job interview, or even the gym’s weight room, just charge in like you own the place.
3Fight For Your Rights
Whether you want to advocate for more inclusive reproductive rights, better maternity leave policies, or measures to close the wage gap, you can get involved with causes that you care about in many ways. The National Organization for Women is a good place to learn about getting more involved in supporting the issues that matter to you. Even just keeping up with current debates and voting in favor of women’s rights is a huge step.
Speaking up can come with some risk: women who speak up assertively in the workplace may get judged more harshly than male colleagues, as a study by VitalSmarts found. And while their words get judged, women’s literal voices can get policed for displaying uptalk or vocal fry, as NPR demonstrates. So this is all the more reason to speak up, whether you’re contributing ideas during a meeting or just blogging your opinion online. As long as women keep voicing their ideas, every word can act as a tiny defiance against a culture that, in many ways, still expects silence from half of the population.
5Give Yourself A Social Media Break
Can’t stop comparing your life against your Facebook feed? Do you get bummed out when your life isn’t Pinterest-perfect? We all do sometimes. It turns out the effortlessly perfect lifestyles portrayed by many social media sites can make you feel lonely and sad about your own life, as this article from the New Yorker explains. Remember that most people don’t post the full reality of their lives on Facebook, and those perfect crafts on Pinterest probably took many dedicated hours to make.
Ready to take a solo vacation or try a new sport? Go for it! As Time explains, trying new things is a key way to maintain happiness. And nothing beats the feeling of confidence that comes with mastering a new skill. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be a Krav Maga all-star by 2017.
The stereotype that women hate each other? So last year (or century). It’s important for women to support one another, to defy these stereotypes, and work together. Whether you’re mentoring a younger colleague at work, or helping out a friend by listening when she’s going through a tough time, this solidarity is a crucial way to make 2016 better for everyone.