“Hi Fiona, 2016 has been what I can only describe as an ‘interesting’ year, not rubbish, not great, just ‘interesting’. I am determined to make 2017 much, much better. I love the idea of New Year’s resolutions because I think it’s such a good idea to sit down and think about what you can do to make your life that bit better. The only problem is, I am rubbish at thinking up specific ones. All I can come up with so far is: be better in 2017, and I feel that’s a bit vague. How would I do that? What areas would I tackle? Better at what exactly? What should my New Year’s resolution be instead of this vague one?” – Daniel
Hi Daniel, thanks for getting in touch. What a great question! New Year’s resolutions are something that I have had a bit of a love/hate relationship with for the last few years. I find that I always either set myself completely unachievable goals, like “eat absolutely no sugar whatsoever for the rest of my life or at least until I look like a model”, and then find myself binge eating Starbursts on January 3rd. Or I set myself things that I pretty much do anyway, to make myself feel like I’m being productive. I do not recommend either of these methods. I have sat down and had a bit of a think, and here are my top ten suggestions for a productive New Year’s resolution.
“What should my New Year’s resolution be?”
1. Foster a positive attitude – enjoy life!
I really believe that this is the best resolution you could possibly have. It is a bit of an umbrella term and so you can think about how exactly you will do this. Make a conscious decision that from the beginning of 2017 you will only do things which will make you feel good within yourself. Think to yourself, “what do I enjoy? What truly makes me happy?”.
Maybe this is picking up a sport you used to love? Going to visit a friend who lives far away? Working on a project that you forgot about? Doing these things that make you happy will allow you to see the world in a more positive light. This positive attitude will translate across all aspects of your life, and is very easy to maintain. Deciding to love life and look at things in a positive way isn’t something you will give up by the end of January. It is more a change of outlook, which you can hang on to forever.
2. Be more organized
Moving on to the more literal resolutions, this is one that can be difficult. “Be more organized” is relatively vague, but it can be the starting point. You can have a think about exactly what you need to organize and pinpoint more exact resolutions from it. For example, if you sometimes struggle with time management, this comes under the organization umbrella. You can then highlight specific things that will help you achieve this. Maybe you could buy a calendar to set yourself time slots for certain tasks? You could even download one of the apps which mutes all of your social media for a certain time period? Tackle the things that make you disorganized.
3. Take time to travel
One of the main things that I will really take away from my international internship is how amazing it is to travel and experience new things. I’m not trying to do a Kylie Jenner and tell you that 2017 will be the year for “realizing stuff”, but it should be the year for “seeing stuff”. During my time abroad, I have had the opportunity to visit some incredible places in South America, and ticked a large number of things off of my bucket list. I would say that I have definitely caught the travel bug.
One of my personal resolutions for 2017 is to continue this, both internationally and nationally. When you live abroad you make a conscious effort to travel the country you are in as much as possible. You want to see as much as you possibly can in the short time that you are there. This has really made me realize how little I have traveled my own country. I live in the UK and have only been to Scotland once. I have never been to the Lake District, or the Peak District, or to Manchester, and it’s crazy. There are incredible places to visit right on our doorsteps, and in 2017 I will go and see them.
4. Keep a journal
This may not be for everyone, but it is a great resolution to make. Keeping a journal every day is a great way to gather your thoughts and make sure that you don’t forget any of those amazing business ideas that pop into your head. If you carry a journal around with you, you can immediately write down any ideas, thoughts or experiences. It’s also nice to have something to remind yourself of everything you’ve done throughout the year.
5. Learn something new every day
This is a great one (if I do say so myself). It doesn’t have to be something huge, just maybe read an article a day, or learn a new word every day. You could even write it in your new journal. This will help you feel like you really are bettering yourself – even if all you learn that day is that there is an island in the Bahamas which is only inhabited by swimming pigs. True story.
6. Wake up earlier
They say that the early bird catches the worm. But I think the early bird essentially just has a jump-start on all of us. Getting up that little bit earlier can make a huge difference to your mood for the day. Having a bit more time in the morning means that you can really prepare for the day. You will be able to have a proper breakfast, not be rushing around and then start your day with that positive outlook we were talking about before.
7. Help others
This is a great resolution to make if you’re not sure exactly what you want to improve in your own life. Helping others is one of the best uses of your free time. There are so many ways to do this. You can volunteer your time for so many causes. Maybe you could work a shift in your local animal shelter? How about spending a few hours collecting money for a charity combatting homelessness? It doesn’t have to be a huge commitment. Taking a few hours out of your day will make someone else’s day a little bit brighter.
8. Make time for exercise
This is probably the most common New Year’s resolution of them all. Everyone starts the New Year thinking that they will hit the gym every day, and finish the year with cheese grater abs. The majority also end up failing tragically once February arrives. The best way to go about this resolution is to be realistic. Put some time aside in your week, or a few times a week, which is dedicated to exercise. A great way to motivate yourself is to sign up for a class, because when it is organized and put into your diary, you are more likely to go. You could even try and convince a friend to become your gym buddy.
9. Spend time with family and friends
This is crucial. It’s so easy to be “too busy”, but it’s a huge problem. Your personal network is one of the best tools for your future career and well-being (also, it’s just fun to hang out with them). Your family and friends will definitely appreciate you putting in the effort to organize things with them. Why not cook a big meal for your family and gather them all together? Or plan a weekend away for all of your friends? I can guarantee that you will have a great time.
10. Conquer a fear
This I think, is an interesting one. A lot of people believe that the things holding them back are their fears. Conquering them is a great way to feel like you are moving forward, and a great way to feel empowered. This doesn’t have to be a big fear. There’s no need to put yourself in one of those shark cages and go face to face with a great white. But, the little things that you get nervous about, now is the time to confront them. Maybe you’re scared of asking someone at work if they want to grab a coffee? Just go for it. Perhaps you are scared of driving? Take a lesson with an instructor. 2017 is your year, go out there and push yourself.
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2. based on 2014-10-planner-hinten1, by danyeela, CC BY -ND 2.0