Most resolutions made at the start of the year are all the same -- lose weight, exercise more, and eat healthier -- so I have come up with 19 New Year's resolutions you should try instead of the traditional ones. Let me know what you think of these and please feel free to share any unique ones that you’ve come up with. There are so many different New Year's resolutions you should try, I'd love to hear some of your suggestions too.
1. Show More Kindness
This is one of the easiest New Year's resolutions you should try because it can be done in many different ways. You can hold the door open for someone, help carry groceries, offer assistance when you see someone struggling, or even just smile at someone. Go out of your way from time to time to show someone how kind the human race can actually be. It might take some practice to be able to remember to at least smile at a perfect stranger. I live in an area where everyone waves as they drive past someone, whether they know the other person or not. It took me about a month to remember to wave back!
2. Bake Something Twice a Month
Choose a different neighbor each time. The neighbors don’t have to be right next door, either. I live out in the country, so people are spread miles apart. I like to bake during the holidays and take goodies to the bank, post office, grocery store, the hardware store, and the local gas station. These are the only businesses in town. Living in a community where houses were closer, it would definitely be a lot easier to bake more often.
3. Take a Family Outing
Look for free things to do with the family. That way you won’t have to save up money and the outing won’t have to be canceled due to lack of funds. Go on a picnic, take a walk through a favorite park, visit a festival that is in town, or make it game night indoors if the weather is too sketchy to be traveling in. Maybe you could work things out with friends and rotate to each other’s houses once a month for dinner and a movie.
4. Cook an Exotic Meal
Tons of recipes are available online and most are easy to follow. The hardest part might be finding the right ingredients. Try making a dish from a different country each month or maybe pick a region of the world and cook up a few different entrees from this same country for an entire week out of the month. There are many possibilities with this resolution!
5. Make a Charitable Donation
I find myself collecting more and more stuff each year. Sometimes I get in a cleaning mood and end up throwing tons of stuff in a cardboard box. I try not to look in the box again and close it up as soon as it is full. There is always some place around here accepting donations, whether it is one of the local churches or the thrift store in the next town. I feel better knowing that someone else will get good use out of my things.
6. Pamper Yourself
Take time to lounge in a warm bubble bath, then paint your toe nails or soak your hands and give yourself a manicure. If you can afford it, I recommend getting a massage, even if it is only a half hour one. It’s amazing how relaxed you will feel afterwards! Pampering doesn't always have to include something physical either. Maybe eating lunch at a favorite sandwich shop or hanging out at a bookstore for the afternoon is more up your ally. Anything that you don’t normally get to do that makes you happy could count as pampering.
7. Go Vegan Once a Week
Every Monday I get an email from a website that promotes Meatout Mondays. These recipes are usually very yummy and easy to make. I find this method of taking time out from eating meat to be easier than trying to find recipes in a cookbook. The recipe comes in my email, I gather the ingredients, and then make it for the family. Not everyone is as thrilled with this as I would like, but they really are tasty. I also feel like I’m helping my family eat healthier too.
8. Get Creative
Unleash your creative juices by committing a creative act every week. You don’t have to write a novel, just create little items to pass the time. If you run out of ideas, the internet is full of them. Write short stories, paint landscapes, knit, or build a birdhouse. Whatever appeals to you is perfect.
9. Phone a Friend
Too many times, people go through life without telling their loved ones how much they mean to them. You don’t have to go overboard with expressing your feelings. Just remember to text your friends and call your grandparents to say hello. When you’re around your parents, hug them. When someone does something nice for you, thank them. These simple acts can strengthen your relationships with the people you love the most.
10. Spend Money
Most of the time, resolutions revolve around saving money. However, you don’t need an overflowing bank account to be happy. What’s the point of making money if you’re afraid to spend it? You shouldn’t splurge every weekend, but you should pamper yourself once in a while. Spend money on a new haircut or buy those expensive boots you’ve been eyeing.
11. Be Brave
Have you always wanted to go skydiving? Nothing is stopping you from doing something adventurous. As long as you’re safe, it’s fun to take risks. Go white water rafting or simply tell your crush how you feel. It’s amazing how fulfilling acts of bravery can be.
I hope some of these 11 New Years resolutions entice you to find your own unique resolutions, as well as to actually go for some of the choices on this list. It’s usually easier to make a resolution for the New Year than it is to carry it out. I remember how full the gym always was right after New Year’s Day. After a month or two, the visitors would thin back out to the regular crowd. What New Year’s resolutions do you plan on making?
This article was written in collaboration with editor Holly Riordan.