As the new year comes close, we're all trying to nail down our resolutions. Every year we all do the same things: I'll lose weight, I'll quit smoking, I'll join the gym, whatever it is...odds are, you rarely stick to it.
That's because we make our resolutions either too cliché, or way too difficult. There are some resolutions you can make, though, that require small or easy changes over the course of the year. Plus, you'll actually be able to stick to them if you try hard enough!
1. Stop Procrastinating
When you have to do something, just do it. So much stress can be avoided by just doing something the moment you think of it. Obviously it's not always possible, but if you know you need to pay a bill and you're at the computer, then pay the bill.
By keeping yourself on track and not procrastinating, you're going to find you have a less stressful day (and life!)
2. Forgive Someone
We've all got grudges that have been hanging around too long. At some point, you need to stop letting that person live rent-free in your mind. Make an effort to forgive someone in your life. You don't have to become best friends with them, you don't even have to verbalize your forgiveness to them. But once you let go of a grudge and stop harboring negative feelings, you'll find you have mental clarity.
3. Tip More
If you're in a financial position to do so, consider tipping more when you're eating at a restaurant. Generally, 15% is the minimum you should be tipping your server, but why not up that to 20%? Or even 25% if the service is good?
Restaurant staff are making a server's wage, which is below minimum wage, and rely on tips to make ends meet. By making a resolution to tip a little bit more, you can find comfort in knowing that you're helping someone live a better life.
4. Learn New Things
I know we're all learning new things every day, but make an effort to do some research at least once a month into something you're interested in. Find yourself wondering how fish survive in the winter while the ocean freezes over? Take an hour and look into it! We can find the answers to all our questions super quickly, but once we get the exact answer we want, we rarely keep reading to find out more.
If you take an hour each week to research a new topic, you'll learn 52 new things next year just based on your planning alone!
5. Take Risks
Wear the pattern you don't think you can pull off, sign up to sing at a local karaoke night, be bold when it comes to meeting new people. Taking risks is scary, which is why a lot of us choose to stick to the status quo. But, if you never take risks, things are never going to change.
No one is saying you need to go sky-diving, but even just registering to play a sport you've been wanting to learn can have a big payoff.
In my opinion, volunteering should be mandatory for everyone. Obviously there's no way to enforce that, but people don't seem to realize how great you feel after you've given your time to help someone else.
Find a charity or organization that you connect with personally, like an animal shelter, women's shelter, or food bank, and commit to helping them even just once a month. It's a great opportunity to get involved in your community, and potentially meet new people!
7. Keep A Tidy Room
If you want to extend this to your whole house, then go for it! But at least keeping your room tidy is a great place to start. Fold your clothes, don't just throw them on the ground. Keep things organized on your shelves. When you sleep in a messy room, your subconscious is just as cluttered as your surroundings. By keeping a tidy sleeping space, you can help yourself sleep better throughout the year.
8. Limit Screen Time
I'm as guilty of this as anyone else! Whether it's your phone or your TV, set limits for yourself on how often you can be in front of a screen. Especially with the way we all binge TV shows now, we spend so much time staring at blue light which can harm our eyes.
If you can't limit your screen time because you work in front of a computer, instead try adding in breaks throughout the day to give your eyes a rest. You can also look at the settings on your phone or computer to see if there's a way to reduce your blue light.
9. Download A Brain-Sharpness App
There are so many apps for your phone that you can download which help keep your brain in tip-top shape. They can help with memory, reflexes, and your overall mental cognition. All it takes is 15 minutes a day to keep your brain in shape.
We all spend so much time on our phones or watching TV that we don't always challenge our brains enough in a day. This is a great way to do it.
10. Meet Your Neighbors
You don't have to go knock on their doors and introduce yourself, but if you see them outside or in the building, go over and introduce yourself. Remember the days when your neighbors were almost like family, who would be over for dinner every week? It was so comforting to know that someone would be watching out for your house if you were out of town, and you didn't even have to pay them!
11. Start A Savings Plan
I realize that not everyone is in a financial position to put money away, but most of us can afford to put aside $10 a week. Put this money in a TFSA or RRSP and get your savings started. You'll find a comfort in knowing that if something happens, you'll at least have some type of savings and you won't be left in the lurch.
12. Start A Food Journal
You don't necessarily have to track your calories or anything, but keeping a food journal can help you see what you're eating in a day and stop you from eating if you're bored.
The other good thing about food journals is that if you notice irregularities in your digestion, you can trace what you've eaten and see if there's a pattern. For example, if you've eaten dairy five days in a row and you're feeling ill, you can see the pattern and cut it out of your diet. Then, if it improves, you at least have something to work off.
13. Donate To Charity
Again, for those who are financially able to do so, donating to charity on a monthly basis is a great resolution to keep. Even something as small as $10 a month can help a lot of charities access the products and services they need to help the community.
You can set up automatic withdraws through a lot of charities, or you can choose to donate to a new charity each month. It's all up to you!
14. Stop Holding Grudges
Grudges can be fun to hold on to, and they often make for good stories when talking to your friends, but what purpose do they serve besides making you cranky? This year, stop yourself from holding grudges, especially for things that don't matter. You're co-worker used up the last of your milk in the fridge? Oh well. You can't get it back. Go ahead and ask them to not use your things, and then be done with it. It's not worth your time.
15. Be More Polite
Miss Manners must love this one. Say please. Say thank you. Be patient with food service workers and cashiers. Hold the door for someone who is coming up behind you. Just...be nice! You never know the kind of day someone is having, so when you're more polite, you could be making a bad day better for them.
16. Spend More Time With Your Parents
If you're lucky to have your parents still alive, make an effort to spend more time with then, For some people, it can be trying to spend a lot of time with family, and that's okay. But it's important to remember that our parents are getting older, and when they're gone, we'll wish we still had them around.
If you don't live close to your parents, then make an effort to call them at least once a week for a check-in. It will make them so happy, and you'll enjoy the family time.
17. Cook More
Eating out is expensive, not to mention unhealthy. Cooking at home can be super fun, especially when you start to experiment with different techniques and cuisines. You don't have to get fancy and make a five-star meal, but at least make an effort to cook a full meal three times a week.
Here's a tip, too: make a lot of whatever you're making so you can have leftovers all week!
18. Create A Sleep Schedule
I remember when I moved away from home, one of the things I was most excited about was going to bed whenever I wanted. I could go to sleep at 2am and not wake up until noon. Who was going to stop me? I'm an adult!
But as I get older I recognize the importance of a proper sleep schedule. I've learned that I need at least seven hours of sleep or else I don't work well the next day, so in the new year I'm going to try and go to bed the same time each night and get myself into a routine.
It's also important to stop your screen time at least an hour before bed, especially when it comes to your phone, so that your body can wind down and get into a proper sleep cycle.
19. Take Day Trips
Not everyone has the time to take a full vacation, but most of us do get weekends off...or at least a day off during the week. Use that day to go exploring the outskirts of your town. There's bound to be a nice winery, a beautiful museum, or even just a welcoming park where you can go for a picnic.
Take a day to explore a new place, and you'll be amazed by all the things you'll see.
20. Complain Less
Okay, I'm so guilty of this one! I complain all the time, and it's not something I'm proud of. Have you ever heard someone complain about everything that happens to them? Think about that the next time you go to speak negatively of something trivial.
This also counts for when you're out and about and something bothers you at a store or restaurant. Sure, if there's something truly wrong then go ahead and bring it to the attention of an employee. But if you just want to complain because the thing you want is sold out, or because you don't like how long the line is, maybe you should keep it to yourself.
21. Spend Less Time On Social Media
Social media is the main cause of anxiety for a lot of people, especially in younger generations. It's basically a full-time job keeping profiles up to date. In 2019, try and limit the amount of time you spend on social media, and definitely limit how much you share.
We spend too much time scrolling through feeds and trying to get the right picture to post on Facebook, and it's time we start paying attention to what's actually happening around us.
22. Eat More Fiber
This one is easy, because it's telling you to eat more! Getting more fiber in your diet can help lower your cholesterol and your blood sugar levels, not to mention keeping your digestive system working properly.
If you don't want to eat more fiber, you can always take supplements instead. They're not as good as the real thing, but they're definitely better than nothing.
23. Use A Day Planner
Writing things down is always the best way to go, and using a day planner is the perfect example of this. How many times have you said "Oh, I think my appointment is that day...but I can't remember?" and then you have to go through emails or texts to find the information. Keeping a day planner lets you stay organized, which will relieve a lot of stress over the course of the year.
24. Read More
Books, magazines, news articles, take your pick. There is so much content out there for you to read, and it's time we all start taking advantage of it! Sure, we can sit and watch TV for five hours straight, but there's something so fun about reading a book and getting yourself sucked into an adventure.
Even something as simple as reading the morning paper as you eat your breakfast, instead of skimming through Facebook or Twitter, is a great way to start.
25. Start A Creative Project
We all have a creative side. Some people like writing, others like drawing, even woodworking counts as creativity! Use 2019 as your year to take on a project, big or small, that will give you something to work on over the course of the year.
Having a long-term goal can help you stay on track, especially when you know exactly what the payoff will be.
26. See A Financial Planner
Even if you don't think you need to, sitting down with a financial planner can help sort out your cash flow and see if there are ways to help you save. Setting up your finances to give you the best tax breaks, potentially getting into the stock market, or even having them help set up that savings plan we talked about earlier, are all great options to get started in 2019.
You may not think you need to get this stuff sorted out now, but as you get older and closer to retirement, you'll definitely be glad you did.
You obviously don't need to do every single one of these resolutions (although more power to you if you do,) but picking two or three to try and stick to for 2019 is never a bad thing.