It’s that time of year again when we reflect on the last 365 days and audit them for triumphs and mistakes, what worked and what didn’t work. As we focus on areas that still need improvement, we set a goal that will undoubtedly make our lives better and happier. The only problem is that most New Year’s resolutions tend to be a bit lofty and many people end up failing to meet them. Instead of leaping head first into a big goal this New Year’s Eve, we at Ebates advise taking some baby steps instead. We have taken 13 common New Year’s resolution ideas and whittled them down to microresolutions anyone can meet.
1. Lose Weight
This is a tough one. There are almost too many ways to approach losing weight if you feel you need to. First, forget the number on the scale and ditch the time table. The added pressure of trying to lose X amount by Y date can sabotage you. Instead, think of one or two things you can easily do starting right now, like eating salads for lunch or moving your body for 10 minutes, three times a day. Don’t think of this as underachieving. Think of it as just the starting line! Once you conquer this goal and make it a habit, you can move on to the next step with confidence.
2. Quit a Habit or Addiction
Again, there are many ways to approach dropping a bad habit or addressing your addiction. Remember that in some cases, you could be dealing with a chemical dependency. Behaviors are also very hard to break. Your first goal should be finding a method of help that would best suit your situation. Whether it’s literature, professional help, 12-step groups or beyond, make seeking help your goal. From there, an action plan will surely emerge to get you to the bigger goal of kicking your habit.
3. Get a New Job
This one is just not totally up to you, sorry. Whether or not you score a new job is up to one person–the hiring manager who will extend you an offer. Instead, update your resume and LinkedIn profile, seek out career counseling to get some feedback on your approach to job searching. You can also set goals for how much time you will spend searching for and applying to jobs, such as an hour or two a day.
4. Get Out of Debt
Depending on how deep in debt you are, this is something that can easily take more than a year. The first step is finding out how many expenses you are willing to cut from your budget and how much money you can easily put aside each month or each paycheck to both pay off your bills faster and avoid accruing even more debt. These are small, sensible goals you can stick to. And before you know it, your debt will become a lot more manageable.
5. Get Organized
Blanket statements like “I’m going to organize my life!” can overwhelm you in seconds flat. You may have multiple areas in your life that need to be organized but picking one should be your first goal. Whether it’s your closet, your desk, your schedule or that mounting stack of coupons on your kitchen counter, start in one place and do not move on until it is in order. Clean out that closet and find a place for everything then buy yourself a weekly planner and get that schedule in check. Make steady progress and you’ll feel more organized in no time.
6. Spend More Time With Loved Ones
Finding more time for anything can sometimes just not be an option with the demands of work and other responsibilities. As an alternative, why not make the time we already spend with family and friends count? Putting away your phone or turning off the TV during meals is a good start. Planning fun activities in advance for the weekends doesn’t have to require a lot of money or travel. Sometimes it’s just your attention and not your schedule that need the adjustment.
7. Live Stress Free
For those who suffer from anxiety, this is not a simple goal and perhaps not something you can do on your own. Seeking the help of your doctor is a reasonable goal. You can also sign up for a yoga class. Practicing gratitude is also very effective in alleviating stress. Do this by keeping a journal of things to be grateful for and update it every time you are feeling overwhelmed. Also, count your complaints. Every time you have the urge to complain, recognize your frustrations but also counter them with finding something positive in the situation.
8. Enjoy Life to Its Fullest
First of all, what does this even mean to you? Generally, we think most people just want to be happier. When you’re happy, you enjoy life. So how can you be happy? Again, we suggest starting small. Do one thing every day that you enjoy, but that is good for you or constructive. This can be exercise, calling a loved one, painting your toenails, whatever. It doesn’t have to cost money or take a lot of time. Knowing that you are dedicating a portion of each day to self-care reinforces the idea that you are important.
9. Travel More
Vowing to travel more this year could be a lofty resolution. Plus, you never know what 2016 is going to throw at you to derail any dream destinations you have set in your mind. Planning one trip, however, is completely sensible and doesn’t even have to involve a deadline. Start by picking a destination then estimate how much money you would like to save for the trip. From there, you can figure out a monthly savings plan that is sensible for your income and normal expenses. It may take another year but you will eventually have enough to take the trip of a lifetime.
10. Rekindle a Relationship
Maybe things are tense between you and a friend or loved one or perhaps you haven’t even spoken in a long time. Repairing or rekindling a relationship is really only half up to you. You can take the steps to initiate contact, but they may not be met to your satisfaction. A feasible goal would be just to reach out in the first place. This may need to include making an amends to clear the air. The rest is up to them. If they are not receptive, at least you can move on knowing you did your best.
11. Get 8 Hours of Sleep
If you normally conk out at midnight only roll out of bed at 6 a.m., it is not sensible to suddenly resolve to get to bed every night by 10. Treat yourself like a toddler and ween into an earlier bedtime by bumping it up 15 minutes at a time. After a few days of lights out by 11:45, go for 11:30 and so on. Gradually, you will get to an ideal bedtime and find yourself all the more rejuvenated by getting more sleep.
12. Kick Your Social Media/TV Habit
Whether you’re a compulsive Tweeter or a Netflix binger, it’s always important to address how much time you spend in front of a screen but it’s not totally realistic to go cold turkey. Deleting all your social media accounts is a tad drastic. So, too, is throwing your TV out the window. Instead, set yourself appointments to check your feeds. Once in the morning and once at night for 20 minutes is a good start. TV watchers can use the same principle but it could also be a good idea to downgrade your cable subscription. Having unlimited access to TV can result in a lot of mindless watching.
13. Be More Giving
This is one of our favorite resolutions but one that many fail at for one simple reason. Opportunities to be more generous don’t always make themselves available. It is up to us to seek them out. Some people find a charity and set up a recurring contribution while others donate a few hours of their time each month to a soup kitchen, animal shelter, etc. These are simple giving goals that can make a big difference for both you and the lives they touch. Be proactive!
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