Alternative New Year resolutions

Alternative New Year resolutions


MOST of us will kick off the new year with resolutions we secretly know we can’t keep. Stop drinking, join the gym. Standard. We start with good intentions and buckle under the misery of FOMO and feelings of depravation.

So this year, why not try an alternative resolution — something pleasant you can do for yourself that’ll make a positive impact on your health and well-being without plunging you deeper into the January blues.

1. Experiences not things

This year why not treat yourself to experiences rather than things? Whether it’s a mini break, a visit to a gallery or a fun day out. Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University, says, “You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.” Research by San Francisco State University revealed people who splurged on experiences rather than things reported feeling happier and that their money was better spent.

2. Invest in friendships

Friendships are vital to our health and well-being, they help us develop a sense of meaning and direction in life, protect against stress and provide distraction from the more serious aspects of life. Being part of a supportive social network can lead to better mental and physical health for many people. If you don’t get out enough, make 2017 the year you change that. Put time aside for yourself and your friends, whether it’s once a week or once a month.

3. Listen

Do you listen properly? Truly listen, not just hear the words. To listen effectively is to give another person the gift of time. It’s a simple act but one we all too often get wrong — we’re either too busy formulating a response, interrupting or trying to solve the other person’s problems. Genuine listening helps deepen relationships, build friendships and even save marriages.

4. Set goals

According to a study by Gail Matthews at Dominican University, people who wrote their goals down on paper accomplished significantly more than those who didn’t. So, what do you want to achieve this year? No matter how big or small your goals are, firm them up outside of your head and make them a reality.

5. Volunteer

Apart from the obvious benefits of helping others and improving communities, volunteering actually makes you happier and healthier; helping to reduce stress, combat depression, make new friends and even advance your career. A study by the London School of Economics revealed the odds of being “very happy” increased by 7 percent among those who volunteer monthly, 12 percent for people who volunteer every two to four weeks and 16 percent for those who gave up their time on a weekly basis.

6. Live frugally

How much pointless junk will you have acquired by the end of the year? Why not make 2017 the year of living frugally? That doesn’t mean having a miserable year of depravation and skimping on essentials, just avoid the materialistic side of life — make do with the clothes you’ve got and read all those unread books. You can still eat well and do fun stuff!

7. Practice gratitude

The act of practicing gratitude has been scientifically proven to open the door to more relationships and improves psychological and physical health. Grateful people also sleep better and report improved self-esteem and reduced aggression. Take a moment to silently appreciate the good things you have, or write them down in a gratitude diary.

8. Learn a new skill

Ever had a hankering to learn a new language? Perhaps you’ve always wanted to make your own clothes? Whatever’s been piquing your curiosity, why not make 2017 the year to satisfy it? Take an evening class at your local college or check out one of those free online courses you read about from your WeChat Moments.

9. Complain effectively

We all hate confrontations. Most of us won’t complain about a terrible dining experience or substandard service we’ve received for fear we either won’t get the desired outcome or to avoid arguments. Same goes for gripes we may have with friends, family or our significant others. The next time you find yourself unhappy about a situation, ask yourself: Is this something I’d like to change? If so, empower yourself by taking positive action to complain effectively and get a result.

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