9 Meaningful Alternatives To New Year's Resolutions, Since Going To The Gym Won't Make You A Better Person
Go to the gym. Eat healthier. Save money.
When you think about New Year's Resolutions, these are probably the phrases that come to mind. And although it's great to resolve to have a healthier lifestyle or to stop spending carelessly, why not take the opportunity to make a more meaningful New Year's resolution this year that will help you to flourish in 2016?
A New Year's resolution is a promise you make to yourself to encourage a better and happier year. People often tend toward the straightforward: exercise and diet are concrete goals that can be achieved through actions. But some of the best resolutions are those that require a change to your state of mind, that force you to challenge yourself, grow, and reach your potential. And while most resolutions are often focused on the self and the changes you can make in your own life, some of the best resolutions are those that focus outward on those you love, or even strangers, who could use your help.
This New Year's, in addition to purchasing a gym membership, challenge yourself to take on one of these more meaningful resolutions. They may be more difficult, but the reward of doing so will be a far more important result than anything you could ever achieve by lifting weights.
1. Give To Charity
Whether you want to donate your money or your time, use 2016 as a year to give back. You can sign up for a monthly slot at the local soup kitchen, give a small portion of your paycheck to a cause, or volunteer to do administrative work for a charitable organization. What matters is to find a charity that means something to you — that will also make you more likely to stick to your resolution. If you're a dog person, volunteer at a shelter. If you have a personal connection to breast cancer, work with Susan G. Kolman. Every charity can use help, so pick one that really speaks to you.
2. Reflect On The Good
People have a tendency to harp on misfortunes and stresses in their lives. In 2016, vow to spend more time focusing on the positive aspects of your life. By focusing on positive things, you're going to feel more content with the way things are in your life, which will only lead to greater happiness.
3. Make Time For Loved Ones
In the chaos of every day life, it can be difficult to make time to connect with your loved ones. In 2016, make sure you don't let your important relationships fall by the wayside. Keep in touch with friends who are far away, have sit-down family meals, and show genuine interest in the lives of everyone you love. Don't assume they know you care about them, make the effort to show them just how much you do.
4. Take A Class
You don't have to be in school to keep learning. It doesn't have to be academic in nature — take a cooking lessons, a photography class, or any seminar that focuses on a hobby you already love or one have been meaning to take up. Learning a new skill will make you feel accomplished, and give you something fun to look forward to every week.
And not with green juice. Clean out your closet, organize your e-mail inbox, and finally toss the five-year-old magazines collecting dust in your entertainment center. You'll feel lighter and refreshed to finally rid yourself of all the things you haven't used in years. And be sure to donate anything that's still in good shape. Even though you don't want it anymore, someone else might be happy to receive it.
If you're a wanderluster, travel to new, exciting places. If jetsetting isn't your thing, explore your neighborhood. There's so much adventure and wonder out there, even in our own backyards, that you don't notice because you're stuck in routines. You're sure to discover something you never knew you'd love.
7. Practice Gratitude
What are you thankful for? Spend time reflecting on this, and actually taking the time to say thank you. Don't focus on what you want to change, but focus on what you wouldn't change in a million years. You'll be much happier if you're thinking about all of things you love rather than thinking about all the things you wish you had or had been different.
8. Practice Random Acts Of Kindness
You don't have to do a grand gesture to make someone's day. Small things, like giving a compliment or giving someone your seat on the subway can make a world of difference. And kindness really is contagious — the more kindness you put out there, the more likely that person is to be kind to someone else, and the chain reaction starts.
9. Be Kind To Yourself
It's important to be kind to others, but it's just as important to be kind to yourself. Don't berate yourself for mistakes, don't be overly critical, and remind yourself that you are awesome. Self-love is the most important kind of love, because the more you love yourself, the more you can love others and allow others to love you. Make 2016 the year that you really work on practicing kindness to yourself: you deserve it.