2018, 2019, Holiday, new year, Seasonal, winter

A New Take on New Year’s Resolutions

Alright, y’all, it’s time to talk New Year’s Resolutions. ⬅ Does that need to be capitalized? I don’t know. But we’re going with it. I try to do a post every year about them, whether it’s telling you all mine, or telling people to stop being assholes to people who want to make them.

This year I’ve come up with a list of some different resolution ideas for those that want to make them, but don’t necessarily feel comfortable with the typical ones.

Here’s the deal; the new year, every year, always feels like a fresh start. Nothing in your life could be changing, but something about that clock and that calendar resetting always makes it feel so fresh and new. Humoring the idea of resolutions is something that I think a lot more people do than they’ll admit.

And honestly, resolutions don’t even have to be about becoming a “new and improved you”. I feel like maybe that’s where the disconnect is. That’s the part where people feel like it’s something they can’t achieve. Self-improvement is hard. It makes us take a look inward at ourselves and identify what we perceive to be our flaws and weaknesses. A lot of people get stuck on that part and can’t figure out how they want to improve those perceived flaws and weaknesses.

So, here’s my proposition for you – if you want to partake in the resolution making, make resolutions that allow you to be kinder to yourself. Make resolutions that benefit your mental and emotional health. Make resolutions that encourage growth. Don’t know where to start? Here are some ideas.

Start New Hobbies

I’ve heard plenty of people say they don’t have a hobby. They work, hang out with friends, watch movies, or binge shows on Netflix, but they don’t have a true hobby. Do what my friend Jen did, and try a different hobby every month for a year. It can be completely random things, like taking a dance class, learning to sew, or cooking. Even if you don’t find the one that just sets your soul on fire, you may make some new friends along the way.

Find a Church

I kind of feel like cringing just suggesting that one, because I know how churches make people feel, but remember, these are all ideas – you don’t have to do all of them. Besides, having a church home doesn’t necessarily mean a Christian church home or any one particular religion. Try them all out. Learn about the different religions and churches in your area and see what they’re about. Seven years ago, this week I went to my local Unitarian Universalist church for the first time by myself as an adult, and it’s been life-changing. I’ve written about UUism a few times (here, here, and here) and how it helped me find my people when I felt like nothing made sense. Feel free to read those posts if you’re in the same place I was.

Be More Intentional About Self-Care

Self-care isn’t always candles surrounding a bubble bath with music and a book. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I did that. Self-care can be as extravagant as that if you want, or it can be as simple as setting your alarm fifteen minutes earlier, so you can wake up slowly and lie in bed longer. It can mean inviting friends over, so you don’t have to go out but can still socialize without feeling overwhelmed. It can mean having a sleepover once a month with your best friend. Self-care is doing what you need for your self to feel better mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Educate Yourself

Even if you’ve already got a degree (or two or three) there’s always more to learn. Take a class in the evenings, or a summer course or even multiple classes at a local community college. There’s something about being in a classroom that just feels good. On the flip side, if you can’t go to college, or school isn’t a good environment for you, look up online courses or certificates you can get. Borrow books on a particular subject and read them and take notes. There are so many ways to continue learning and growing.

Go to the Library

I cannot stress enough the importance of libraries. They are more than just a place to check out books, though that’s reason enough why they’re important. They are one of the last indoor places left where people can go without the expectation of spending money. You can rent movies there. You can take classes. You can meetup with friends. Imagine if you didn’t have a computer on which to read this post. Maybe you don’t. Imagine you don’t have a computer or access to one to make and send resumes or look for jobs. Libraries give you that. They give kids a safe place to spend time. They give adults a chance to learn new things and meet new people. Library funding is never a waste, and libraries are such a vital staple in a town or city.

Drink More Water

Our bodies are 60% water, so when we’re lacking, it’s a big deal. Adequate water intake boasts numerous benefits to our physical and mental well-being. The downside? Having to pee a lot until your body gets used to it. According to this Mayo Clinic article, 11.5 cups (2.7 liters or roughly three 32 oz bottles) of water a day for women is adequate. Your own personal needs will vary, obviously, as not all bodies are the same, but that’s a good goal. Whether you need to carry around a water bottle reminding you to fill up or keep track on your phone or in your planner, it will never not be worth it.

Get More Organized

This is one that seems impossible at first, but then when it’s done, feels amazing. I know a huge problem for those suffering from depression and anxiety is the ability to clean up your space. When you have an organizing system in place, it makes the days that you can clean and pick up just a bit easier. And honestly, even if you don’t suffer from depression, organization helps relieve stress and anxiety and even helps you sleep better. It’s hard when you feel like you have more stuff than you have space for, so maybe start by purging your things and donating, trashing, and selling what you don’t want or need. There are also lots of videos on YouTube with organizing tips and styles and even where to get good organizational stuff for cheap that maybe you hadn’t thought of.

Do More of What You Love

I mentioned up there ^ find a hobby if you don’t already have one (or a new one if you do), but maybe you do have a hobby (hobbies) and just don’t have time for it? I love to read, but I don’t ever force myself to sit down and read a book. When I do, I get enveloped in the book and have a hard time breaking from it, but that’s mostly because I don’t manage my time well enough to allow for it. I also love crafting, but the state of my art room has left me with a whole room to work in, but no space (the irony). Do you love to run but feel out of energy by the end of the day? Maybe you can try running before work. Or on your lunch break. When our schedules seem to make time for everything except the things that bring us joy, it’s time to start restructuring our schedules.

If you want to make a resolution for 2019, but don’t know where to start, I hope this helps. If none of these work for you, I hope you find something that does. And, if despite all of this, you don’t want to change anything at all, well, I hope you can do that. Whatever works for you and makes you happy, do that.

Have a happy and safe New Year’s Eve celebration, whatever you do, and may 2019 be your best year yet. If it’s not, well, the decade is almost over.



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