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Top 5 Alternative New Year Resolutions

Home > Everywhere > Lists | New Years Eve | Personal Development
by Tina Maria (subscribe)
Freelance writer based in Helsinki, Finland.
Published January 9th 2014
5 Alternatives to just joining the gym this January
Top 5 Alternative New Year Resolutions

Road, Sunset, New Beginnings, Journeys
"If you asked me for my New Year Resolution, it would be to find out who I am - Cyril Cusack"

January is meant to be a time of fresh, new beginnings and looking forward to all the amazing things the future will bring.

So why does it all feel a bit 'same old, same old' and almost like you are always setting yourself up to fail at something within the first few weeks?

Maybe, because it is and because you kind of are. I mean, there are only so many gym memberships a person can sign up for in January and cancel by mid February before they start to get sick of the routine.

Too many people make public plans for their coming year and then struggle to stick to them under the pressure of their friends and families' watchful eyes, and occasionally, scrutiny.

People are sometimes more likely to notice all the things you're doing wrong with your new resolution than all the things you're doing right.

This is not helpful and could cause you to lose confidence and give up on your resolution sooner.

This is why I've stopped making public New Year resolutions, I never manage to stick to them under pressure.

I prefer to make my life-style changes pretty stealthily, almost in secret, only mentioning them to one or two close friends.

This gives me time to make them part of my normal daily routine before I'm subjected to someone else's opinion.

I've realised that by doing this I'm less likely to quit and I actually manage to achieve a whole lot more before people even noticed anything has changed.
Peaceful Pier Sunrise
"The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do - Walter Bagehot"

Rather than making the generic New Year resolutions of joining a gym, spending less money on clothes or being a better person (how very nondescript and therefore hard to achieve), pick one that you feel passionate about and make this your year long resolution.

Focus all your efforts into something inspirational, new and exciting and let the everyday things like promising to go to the gym just fall into place as a sideline project.

A good long term goal will help to inspire you in other areas of your life too, it creates a sort of ripple effect. Make it fun, new and most of all make it something that helps you grow as a person.

Here are my five New Year resolutions.

Do Something Selfless

"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted - Aesop"

This could be volunteering for a charity, local organisation or just giving up some of your time to help out friends and family.

Just do something that doesn't benefit you but helps someone else out. You'll be surprised at the difference even a small kind gesture can make to someone else's day.

Say something complimentary to everyone you meet every now and again, buy a coffee for a friend, smile at a stranger.

It doesn't have to be a grand gesture in terms of time or money. It's the thought and motive that counts.

Do something nice because you want to not because you feel you have to or because you expect a favour back. One day someone might just do the same for you.

Learn Something New

Leaf, Grass, Autumn, Nature
"You can learn new things at any time in your life if you're willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you - Barbara Sher"

This is good for anyone who already has a hobby they enjoy doing. Why not make it your resolution to become the best you can at something you already enjoy?

Take up that painting class, go to line dancing or ballet, learn to speak Italian, play an instrument. You get the picture.

Do whatever appeals to you the most just as long as it's new and challenges you.

You would be surprised at the range of courses available from local adult colleges.

Most places offer a variety of daytime and evening classes to suit everyone's schedule.

You're never too old or too cool for school. (Yes, I did just say that).

Give Up Something Negative

Sunrise, Lake
"Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you or makes you happy - Robert Tew"

If it doesn't make you happy then don't be afraid to reassess whether it still has a place in your life.

Be it a job, friendship, hobby or any other obligation or routine you have become accustomed to but no longer enjoy.

Figure out what would make you happy/happier and then either alter your current situation to make it fit this or call it a day and do something else.

If you hate your job then take steps this year to make a move into the kind of job you want to wake up and go to on a Monday morning.

Alternatively, if it is a friendship which is bringing you down then feel free to consider whether it is time to either clear the air or to take a step back and allow some breathing space.

It is perfectly acceptable to give up on things which no longer make you happy. It shouldn't be classed as a failure, learning to recognise what is negative in your life and then eliminating it is healthy.

Forgive And Forget

"Forgiveness is not something we always do for other people. Sometimes we do it for ourselves to get well and move on - Kemmy Nola"

Somewhat similar to the previous resolution except this applies directly to you and how you feel about situations.

Unfortunately, unlike quitting a job, it's much harder to quit feeling resentful or hurt by something in your past.

Spend time this year allowing yourself to stop holding a grudge or relentlessly re-living something you regret.

Forgiving yourself and others for past mistakes is not a sign of weakness, it shows maturity.

Respect yourself enough to not carry the baggage around unnecessarily if there is nothing that can be done to resolve it.

Life is too short. Anger and resentment take up way too much of our time already. Just learn from it and move on. Next time you'll know better.

Learn to Appreciate the Little Things

"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realise they were the big things - Robert Brault"

  • A beautiful sunrise.
  • An even better sunset.
  • Those first kisses with someone you really like.
  • A good cup of coffee.
  • A friendly smile or a random act of kindness from a stranger.
  • Those lazy Sundays in bed.
  • Waking up for work and realising it's your day off.
  • Hugs when you really need them.
  • First snow fall.
  • The first hot day in Spring that reminds you of Summer.
  • The feeling of sand between your toes.
  • Reading a really good book.
  • Calling an old friend for no reason other than because you miss them.
  • Laughing until you cry and, sometimes, crying until you laugh.

The list is endless, and everyone has their own unique list, but these are just some of the little things that make up life.

We just don't realise how amazing or important they are at the time and all too often take them for granted.

Stop for five minutes everyday to appreciate something you usually take for granted. It doesn't sound like much but it all adds up.

I guarantee you that you'll still have enough time in the day for everything else. I know we're all busy people these days but we're not that busy.

Happy New Year!
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Your Comment
Excellent reflective ideas which are much needed in my life as well. Thanks!
by Happy Mom (score: 2|548) 2680 days ago
I just love all of these resolutions and hope to join you with them in 2014.
by Lucy (score: 3|1157) 2679 days ago
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