If you’re like me, you hear New Year’s resolution ideas and you roll your eyes. After all, according to U.S. News and World Report, approximately 80 percent of us fail at keeping our resolutions. When something so widely seems impossible, like keeping a New Year’s resolution, you’ve got to wonder why anyone would bother. And yet, when I pause from the knee-jerk eye-roll long enough to think about it, I would argue that it’s still a worthwhile endeavor.
We need goals to aspire to and even when we fall short of our goals, moving toward them, in and of itself, is an accomplishment. So go ahead and set some New Year’s resolutions. Choosing one or two could make a big difference in your life this year. Here are seven key New Year’s resolution ideas to consider.
1. Be present with those you love.
I’ll admit, this is basically impossible to measure. So is most of what really matters—love, meaning, hope, faith. But far too many of us live in what tech writer Linda Stone calls a state of continuous partial attention. We’re never fully present, always distracted by something (your phone, the television, your music.). Put the phone down, take out the earbuds, and make eye contact. Choose to be present with those you love.Put the phone down, take out the earbuds, and make eye contact. Choose to be present with those you love.
2. Do one thing for yourself each week.
This sounds selfish, but hang on. Self-care is different than being selfish. In fact, if done correctly, it’s the opposite. All you have to offer the world is you. The healthier you are, the better the gift you are to the world. Take care of yourself. Choose to do one thing each week that brings you joy or makes you a better version of yourself. Those around you will thank you.
3. Get some sleep.
Of all the New Year’s resolution ideas, this could be the most difficult to implement. However, there is a growing body of research pointing to how critical sleep is. Our emotional, physical, and spiritual wellbeing is tied to sleep. There’s no glory in being able to run on three hours of sleep per night. When you were 19 in college, that was cool. Now that’s just hubris. You’re human. You need to sleep.
4. Read a book a month.
Whether you are a fan of fiction or non-fiction, the access we have to books both for entertainment and for learning is remarkable. Get a library card and commit to reading one book each month. Authors such as Seth Godin and C.S. Lewis have short, easy to read books that can change your life. Ta-Nahesi Coates wrote a Black Panther comic book I read in one sitting but hasn’t stopped inspiring me to reflect on issues of race and power. Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection is just 130 pages but it’ll blow you away with its insights on courage and vulnerability.
5. Try something new.
We all get stuck in ruts. Ruts are comfortable. We know where they take us. But we rarely grow in ruts. To grow, we have to get out of the rut and into something new. So take up a new hobby. Visit a new city, state, or even country. Join a group that cultivates a specific interest. Do something that challenges you. Not only will it bring new energy into your life, but you’ll learn a lot about yourself and maybe discover something you love along the way.
Many of us have a distant relationship that used to be close. Someone said or did something to cause hurt and the relationship never recovered. In some cases, these are significant relationships: a parent, a sibling, a child. Reconciling is painful, hard work. And it’s rare but it’s powerful. Choose to do the hard work of reconciling with the person you hurt or the person who hurt you. It’ll probably be one of the most difficult and rewarding things you’ve ever done.
The benefits of journaling are astounding. The seemingly simple act of writing down what you are thinking and experiencing can have profound emotional and intellectual benefits ranging from stress reduction to improved memory and increased creativity. Take 10 minutes each morning as you’re enjoying your cup of coffee to write in a journal. If you pray, it can be a tactile way of praying. However, it’s also a great way to process whatever you are thinking about.
Even if it’s unlikely you’ll keep them fully, choosing to implement any one of these New Year’s resolution ideas will have a profound effect on your overall wellbeing. And besides, wouldn’t you love to say you’re in that 20 percent who managed to keep the commitment? It’s worth a shot.
Sound off: Which of these practices is most attractive to you? Why that one?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What makes you excited about the new year?”