When the clock hits midnight on December 31st, some of us make promises and wishes we want to uphold in the new year. For the first couple weeks, it’s as if there are no treadmills left at the gym and the lineup at the salad bar is twice as long. Sadly, many people don’t stick to new habits, and slide back into old ways, punishing themselves without looking ahead. This year, make a vow with yourself to keep resolutions you can actually keep, and will make a difference in your outlook, ultimately, making your life better.
One of the most valuable resolutions you can make is to read more. It doesn’t have to be classic literature or scientific journals, but even reading a couple online news stories can keep you in touch with the world around you. Discover new blogs that inspire you, or read new recipes that you might want to attempt in your own kitchen. Sign up for free trials to download e-magazines or invest in a tablet to make reading on the go more convenient. Make a point to visit the library or book store from time to time to see what’s new and pick up a novel to get lost in.
With social media, we are constantly communicating, but most of the time, it’s not meaningful. Take the time to catch up with friends, colleagues and family. Whether it’s a quick phone conversation, or sitting down for ten minutes to write a thoughtful email, it will strengthen bonds. Avoid getting caught up in your Facebook or Instagram newsfeed and use those tools to actually connect with people you want to see. Instagram meet ups have been growing in popularity, and is a great way to meet people who live in your neighbourhood or share similar passions.
Move once a day
While many people resolve to be more active and lose weight, make a pledge with yourself to not put numbers into this resolution. Instead, aspire to move once a day. Whether that means a hard work out or yoga class, or even walking home instead of taking the bus, fitting in little bursts of movement will help reduce stress and improve your overall health. If you don’t have time to workout, don’t beat yourself up over it, but try to take the stairs instead.
While everyone wants to save a buck these days, there is a lot more value in supporting local business. While it maybe difficult to buy locally made appliances and certain clothing items, simple switches and more qualified over quantified buying habits can make a big difference. At the supermarket, buy produce that’s in season. This will also save you money and lowers your carbon footprint by choosing imported goods. When shopping for clothes, always check the label. It makes sense to invest on key pieces as their cost-per-wear will be lower over time, and it’s very likely that a responsibly-made garment will be made closer to home. You’d be surprised to see some big box stores carrying items that are Made in Canada, you just have to put in the research. Otherwise, you can scour the racks at consignment and thrift shops, or host clothing swaps with friends to eliminate the need to buy into our consumerist culture.
Show your manners
Hold the door open for strangers, visit an elderly neighbour or bring in cookies to work on a Friday… these are all little things that take barely any of your time, but have a great impact on those around you. After the Christmas season, many people can feel lonely, so partaking in simple gestures can mean a lot. Last year, a craze started when people would “pay it forward” and pre-purchase guest’s coffees in line. While you don’t have to be a knight in shining armour, bringing a coffee for a friend unexpectedly shows you care, and will strengthen bonds, while boosting your good karmic vibes.