New Year Resolutions to Actually Do

I’m always reluctant to make New Year resolutions, especially if they concern anything that has to do with the gym or eating healthy. Why? Because these are things I should incorporate into my everyday life with discipline, not things that I should permissively allow to slack off over the year until I'm feeling guilty and tired. That being said, this time of the year is great for self-reflection and going in a positive direction. New Year's resolutions can be life-changing and refreshing, so here are a few new resolution ideas that you might not have considered! I promise they have nothing to do with cardio or quinoa.

Forgive

You weren't expecting that, were you? If you're around other human beings, chances are someone has treated you in a way that makes you feel hurt and bitter. Growing up with a happy, healthy family, it wasn't until this year that I experienced the emotional damage that can be inflicted with the words and selfishness of others. It was a great chance to grow and to try to be the bigger person, and I was forced to remind myself that others do not have power over myself or my attitude. Forgive others for yourself, and also use the opportunity to develop your own personality. Was there any truth in a person's hurtful words? If so, view the words as “poor communication” and try and change yourself for the better. If not, tune out the haters and allow yourself to be joyful. Still having trouble forgiving? Think of all the times when others chose to forgive you. Everyone makes mistakes.

Say “No” More Often

You might already be good at this, but for you doormats out there, this one can be hard. I am a huge people pleaser myself, and there's nothing that brings me more joy than knowing I can make a person happy. However, it's a dangerous thing to always put others first. It's always okay to say “no” to things that make you uncomfortable. Saying “no” can apply to many things: it can mean refusing to spend time with a hurtful person, keeping your schedule stress-free by avoiding too many activities, deciding to stay out of drama, or simply saying the words “no” to anything with confidence and no explanation. The mother of one of my friends always refuses to listen to gossip, a choice that must be difficult but one that is honorable and trustworthy. When you decide not to always care about the expectations of others (which, I discovered this year, are often unreasonable), you'll find new confidence and a healthier frame of mind.

Try Something New

Trying something new is a great way to realize that the world is bigger and more complicated than you originally thought. If you're feeling like you're in a rut, force yourself to do things you'd never normally do. Even something as simple as trying a new restaurant or a new style of clothing can be refreshing. Has someone been begging to give you a makeover? Let them do it! Feeling bored? Plan a fun mini trip with a best friend! Sitting on your bed with your laptop all day? Have a bubble bath and try an intriguing new book. 

Really Listen

Do you watch your friend's face when she talks, planning in your head what you're going to say next in the conversation that has to do with yourself? Don't be that person. I have a friend who does this, and it's a little exhausting to sit silent for hours because I'm tired of getting interrupted. Practice being a genuine listener. This means not only absorbing what your friend has said, but interpreting it, showing interest, and asking her more questions. It's hard, but completely worth it, and it only gets easier the more you practice active listening. When you become a better listener, you'll find that your relationships will become richer because people will sense that you truly care about them.

Stop Complaining

I noticed that I've been complaining an awful lot lately. I should be the happiest person in the world, and I'm mad at myself for stressing over small details and focusing on the negative when my life has so many good things in it. To fix this I've tried to watch my words more closely, and I've also started making a habit of waking up every morning and listing off all of the things I'm happy for that day. I've done this for three days and my mood has already drastically improved. My list can be as simple as expressing thanks for a soft blanket, for getting to see a good friend, and for having a hot shower in the morning. I also make a point to remind myself how lucky I am to have an education, something that's important to do when I start complaining about how many essays I have to write. Start giving thanks daily, and I promise you'll not only be a much happier person, you'll also have more success and friendships because people are drawn to positive thinking! What are you thankful for today?