You can be honest with yourself: How many times did you go to the gym after resolving that this would be your year to get fit? How much money have you invested in your savings account since you pledged to make good financial decisions in 2015? How many cigarettes did you smoke after declaring that your last one would be before midnight on December 31?
There is a reason you keep making the same resolutions January 1 after January 1. Common New Year’s resolutions are not only vague and difficult — they tend to sap the fun out of life.
Instead of devoting another year to depriving yourself of simple pleasure, you should make the following resolutions to help you get the most out of another year on Earth.
Say Yes (and No)
In life, you can accumulate an overwhelming number of diverse experiences; all you have to do is say yes. By agreeing to invitations and inclinations, you can lead a full, active, interesting life. Then again, you should also feel comfortable turning opportunities down if you feel like it. In the wise words of Liz Lemon, “Yes to love! Yes to life! Yes to staying in more!”
Call Your Family
Everyone has a family — whether or not they are related by blood. This year, you should devote an hour a week to calling your parents, your siblings, or any other family members you don’t regularly see. Even if you don’t yet have a close relationship with your family, this commitment to call could grow your love more than you thought possible.
Eat More Chocolate
Most people try to cut sugar, fat, carbs, and other well-known no-no foods to keep their bodies strong, but research shows that indulging is just as important for staying healthy. Indulging your sweet tooth will keep your stress down and your spirits up while you strive to maintain other common New Year’s resolutions, like getting fit.
Develop a Hobby
Most people waste their free time with mindless inactivity, like watching television. By being more active during your off-work hours, you can increase your happiness and gain valuable skills. There are hundreds of potential hobbies for you to explore: crafting, playing music, cooking, dancing, collecting, and much, much more. The difficulty is finding the hobby you love, which you should devote yourself to in 2016.
You can waste ridiculous amounts of energy chasing after the latest fashions, but no matter how quickly you conform, there will always be a new fad on the horizon.
You might not realize it, but pursuing trends rarely makes you feel good; more often, you will feel uncomfortably self-conscious and outdated. This year, you should try to forget about fads and do only what comes naturally.
Speak Your Mind
Recent studies have shown that women have a tendency to keep quiet, which usually prevents them from earning raises, promotions, and other acclaim. This hesitancy to speak up largely results from a widespread confidence problem suffered by women and men alike. By pledging to speak your mind, you will not only grow your poise and self-assurance, but you could improve your social and vocational standing, as well.
Think Happy Thoughts
It is impossible to escape those moments when you feel glum, but with the right reaction, you can limit the impact of depressive thoughts and gain a more positive life outlook. Whenever you start to feel down — when lying in bed, when looking in the mirror, or even when out with friends — you should have a handful of go-to happy thoughts to banish the blues. For example, you might think of your strong body, your cozy home, your loving family, or other small blessings in your life.
Donate Your Time
“Do good” is a common New Year’s resolution, but it lacks and qualitative and quantitative directives to help you achieve your goal. Instead, you should resolve to volunteer on a regular basis, perhaps once per week or once per month. Unlike donating items or money, donating your time gives you direct access to the causes you support, which should give you unending amounts of joy despite the possible hard work and long hours.
Feelings of happiness make you smile — but it works in the reverse, too. Smiling will make you feel happy, and smiling more often, especially when you don’t feel like it, will cause your good cheer to increase dramatically. Even if you don’t fulfill any of your other resolutions, simply smiling should bring you happiness in 2016.