It's a typical end-of-the-year habit: As we turn the page from one year to a new one, we make vows to ourselves (and maybe even let some of our loved ones and social media followers know, too) to make a change in our lives, no matter how big or small. And then? We tend to break them. Not just us — it seems like everyone in the world has trouble keeping their New Year's resolutions. And some are harder to stick to than others, apparently. Amongst Time magazine's most commonly broken New Year's resolutions are to lose weight and get fit, eat healthier and diet, drink less, and be less stressed. So I guess... good luck with that.
We could be more honest about what we want to achieve in 2015 by changing our mindsets. When we make New Year's resolutions, we are literally resolving to do something, and that can make those things feel more like obligations than goals. Instead of making resolutions, a better alternative is to assess what we're already doing and if giving it up will make us feel more fulfilled, healthier, and happier. We can also make goals more realistic — one way is to take baby steps towards achieving your goals, or swapping them out for goals that feel more attainable. If one of these five common New Year's resolutions is on your list, take a look at what you can do instead, or what you can give up to make things easier on yourself for a new and improved you in the year ahead.
1. INSTEAD OF: Going back to school...
WHY NOT: Take enrichment classes
If your academic life is on pause or you only plan on going to grad school for a new title, there are other ways to continue learning. Think about a new language you want to learn, a new skill you want to acquire, or a new way you'd like to become physically active. Invest a fraction of the money (and possibly the time) you would spend on a full semester at school on enrichment classes instead. Yelp a local school or studio that offers classes in your specialty of choice. Deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial are also excellent resources to help you find a place while offering discounted introductory rates. Whether your 2015 goal is to learn Italian, brew the perfect craft beer, or become a more coordinated hip-hop dancer, you can dedicate yourself to following those paths.
2. INSTEAD OF: Moving to a bigger space...
WHY NOT: Revamp your current space
We get it — sometimes moving to larger housing is more of a necessity than a wish. If you're more on the "wish" side, you can make your current living space feel new and bigger. You can get creative with DIY pieces and minimize apartment clutter by adding pieces that serve double-duty, such as a desk that can also serve as a console table. You can also treat yourself to new furniture and accessories that are both functional and super-hip. A little bit of feng shui can also make a huge difference by freeing up some room and changing up the entire atmosphere and vibe in your home.
3. INSTEAD OF: Resolving to lose weight and get fit...
WHY NOT GIVE UP: Sugary drinks
While it's important to maintain a well-balanced diet, make it a priority to cut down or completely eliminate soft drinks, sports drinks, juices, and energy drinks. Not only are you simply consuming empty calories, but having too much sugar contributes to weight gain, tooth decay, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. You may not be able to cut sugary drinks out of your diet overnight, and no one expects you to. The trick is to gradually cut down. Instead of ordering a soda with your dinner, stick with the glass of water. Instead of having one drink per day, have one every week. If you're really craving something sweet, dilute fruit juice with water, or try sparkling water with a splash of fruit juice. Once you get into the habit of having fewer sugary drinks, you'll forget about ever wanting a soda at all!
4. INSTEAD OF: Looking for love through online dating...
WHY NOT GIVE UP: Being the one looking
This advice may be traditional and a little cliche, but let the guys (or other girls) look for you. From personal experience, actively scrolling through profiles and reaching out to hot-looking and interesting people on OKCupid and other online dating sites felt like a chore. Take a breather from Tinder, Zoosk, or whatever else you use once in a while and see who's interested in you. It's easy to get rid of creepers, spammers, or anyone else who doesn't float your boat, and you never know if there's a legitimate hottie checking you out. Also, don't forget that there's an outside world full of people that you can meet outside of a web page or phone screen. Go to parties and mixers, and roam about your everyday life without feeling like you have to meet someone to date. Relax, have fun, and know that love finds people when they least expect it.
5. INSTEAD OF: Feeling like you need to be less stressed...
WHY NOT GIVE UP: Sweating the small stuff
So many people are so focused on being less stressed in the year ahead that it actually causes them even more stress. It's natural for lives to get busy and hectic. You may have more responsibilities in the year ahead, and the best way to feel less stressed is to stop worrying about things that don't matter that much. Don't worry about a potential new employer not getting back to you on Friday when you interviewed with them on Tuesday, or about not being able to get your exercise class in for one day because you were backed up with an errand. Don't worry if you forget to buy one non-essential item on your grocery list, or if you made a bunch of enemies on the Internet because you stated your honest opinion that Uggs and dresses don't mix. If it's not life-or-death, or your current job/housing situation/relationship with anyone important in your life doesn't depend on it, then it's simply not worth worrying about.