10 New Years Resolutions if You're a Little Late to the Game

Every new year is a fresh start celebrated with sparklers, Ryan Seacrest, champagne (if you're of age), and, in the case of my family, a lot of dancing. It's a lot of newness that's scary, like the start of new classes and constantly erasing the wrong year on the top of your paper, but it's also an opportunity to get a little closer to the person you want to be. And while I think the you that you are is just right already, everybody has goals. If you're a little late on setting them as it's the third week of January and it all feels a little pointless, I hope this encourages you. The truth is, whether you stick to the new habits or reach the goals you set for yourself, the most important part is the trying. So let's promise each other a little grace. Let's also set some realistic, positive and happiness-increasing kind of resolutions rather than the ones that make our current selves feel inadequate.  

  1. 1. Read more books! The kind you like, not the kind you think you should like!

    Reading is fun and the truth is, if you don't agree with me, it's probably because you haven't read the right book yet. There is nothing like a good book, friend. No matter the genre or the length, find a book that really pulls you in. Don't feel obligated to read a big book, don't feel embarassed to read a silly book, and don't feel discouraged because all you've ever read are the ones required for school. Our hope for you is that you find something that intrigues you, makes you laugh, makes you cry or just brings you a little paperback piece of joy. My mom and I decided to do a reading challenge together because we both really love to read. Believe it or not, reading can be a very social thing. My mom and I sit next to each other on the porch while we read, we discuss the books together and with our friends, and if they make a movie based on it, we go see it together. Meeting the reading goal for the year is not what's important, it's the fact that we are doing the reading and loving it. But does it feel satisfying to check off a book on Goodreads? You better believe it. 

  2. 2. Make more friends! 

    The friends you have now absolutely rock. Keep them, cherish them, and love them. Making more friends is not the same as making new friends, though if you feel like you're in that boat, by all means change your crew. Making new friends can look like a lot of things, but what it comes down to is being brave enough to say the first words or make the first plans. Sit next to someone in that new class and spark up a conversation. Go to events that interest you even if you have to go by yourself- you might meet someone really cool who you already have something in common with. Push yourself to be bold in situations where you tend to pull back. One day last year, I was telling my mom that I wished I had more friends that shared my faith. She encouraged me to be bold in making friends, so I asked a sweet girl from church if she wanted to hang out. We went to Moes, talked about One Direction, and the rest was history. She's one of my favorite people now. Being surrounded by the right people will make this year the best yet, so do the hard work to surround yourself with those people. 

  3. 3. Drink more water! 

    I realize this is not original, but drinking water is the easiest way to do something good for your body. It's a lot easier when you carry a water bottle around with you. I don't know if the extra carrying makes you thirstier or if you psychologically trick yourself into thinking your thirsty because you see water in front of you, but it works. Also, adding lemon juice makes it even better for your immune system while making it more fun to drink. Drinking water is so important to feeling good, but it's so easy to forget. 

  4. 4. Find something active that you actually enjoy doing and make more time for it! 

    Exercising and losing weight is one of those classic resolutions that comes with a lot of shame. Let's stop doing that to ourselves! Exercising is about getting your heart rate up, strengthening your whole body inside and out, and feeling good. If your reasoning for exercise is to look different, that's okay, as long as you know that you are just as valuable and lovable right now as you will be however many pounds from now. But exercising for other reasons like having good cardiovascular health or feeling mentally refreshed from the endorphins your body rewards you with are just as valid reasons for making this a resolution. One sure fire way to make yourself quit before you've really even started is by forcing yourself to do an exercise you really hate. Find something that gets you moving that also puts a smile on your face, or at least doesn't make you actually frown. I like walking outside more than anything else. My roommate and I like to walk around our apartment complex when we are at school, and my mom and I like to walking around the trails near our house when I'm at home. Maybe you like dancing or hiking or hitting a punching bag. Those things aren't any less impressive than burpees or running 10 miles. You do you. 

  5. 5. Say "I love you" more often!

    We all assume that the people closest to us know how we feel, but 2020 is the year of reminding people that we love them. Whether it's your family, your best gals, or your boo, take every opportunity to say "I love you" because you never know when someone needs to hear it most. This is the year of loving people well. I'd rather be annoying by saying those three words too often than not saying them enough.

  6. 6. See more sunrises!

    Being in nature is so good for you. Many of my friends who are also Christians feel closest to God when they're surrounded by creation. Whether it's a place for spiritual connection or just an opportunity to take a deep breath, go outside more. Mornings are the best part of the day in my opinion, although it does feel good to dance late into the night with your roomies and sleep late into the next day too. Sunrises can make you feel brand new. If you're in Athens, grab a blanket and a friend or two, and watch the sun rise over the Iron Horse. Then, go get Chick-fil-a or something. The day is all yours when you wake up early. 

  7. 7. Pray boldly! 

    This is a goal specifically for the gals who want to spend 2020 getting closer to Jesus. Praying is direct and constant conversation with the God of the universe, which I just think is so cool! This year I challenge myself and you to pray for the things that don't even make sense. Let's not limit the work of God to what we think is possible, but ask him to do immeasurably more. How different would life look like this year if we stuck to this resolution?

  8. 8. Worry a little less about the daunting and distant future and just try to do the next right thing!

    College is an amazing time in life, but the reality of adult life is always looming scarily in the future. It's good to plan and prepare, but it's also important to realize to break things up into bite sized chunks to manage anxiety about things you can't control. Doing "the next right thing" is a piece of advice I've heard a few times in the past few years and it brings me peace each time. You might not know what you're doing 10 years from now, 1 week from now, or even tomorrow, but what you do know is how to do the very next thing and how to do it right. 

  9. 9. Show people more grace! 

    Just as 2020 is a year of showing ourselves grace by creating resolutions that enhance our lives rather than causing shame or disappointment, we should decide to show others in our lives that same level of grace. People make mistakes, disappoint us and fall short sometimes, but so does the person you see in the mirror. Keep in mind that sometimes people are having a bad day and their actions aren't always a reflection of how they feel about you or even how they are the majority of the time. Show a ridiculous amount of grace to those around you this year. 

  10. 10. Learn a new skill! It doesn't have to make money or even be "productive," you just need to enjoy it.

    Society, especially in our generation, tells us that if it's not a profitable side hustle, it's not worth our time. What about doing something just because it makes you happy, or it's stress-relieving, or it creates a reason to see a friend? This year we are unapologetically learning new skills and developing new hobbies just for the heck of it. And we aren't worrying about whether our time is wasted because it isn't bringing in a paycheck. So color, knit, read, write, dance, and go to the movies, for goodness sake.

Here's to a bright New Year!