Despite your best intentions, a new year can often bring the same old. We’ve all been there: it’s nearing midnight on December 31st, and your resolutions are set. You’re 100% committed to waking up earlier, hitting the gym, and eliminating bad dietary habits. Fast-forward a month, and these goals feel like a distant memory. Unfortunately, New Year’s Resolutions rarely succeed past the end of January – let alone the entire year.
However, just because it’s difficult to make New Year’s resolutions last, doesn’t mean you should give up on self-improvement. Instead, try these 6 creative alternatives to new year’s resolutions. By setting more achievable targets, removing the pressure of intimidating, year-long goals, and taking time to reflect on the little things, these creative New Year’s resolutions can help you have a happy, healthy, and, above all, successful new year!
#1 Word of the year
When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, one of the biggest obstacles most people encounter is making their resolutions too specific. While setting targeted goals can be useful in certain circumstances, this specificity often leads to frustration when you’re unable to achieve an incredibly narrow (and often difficult) task.
Instead, pick one word which you want to define your year. Think of it as your ‘theme’ for the year. The word can be anything from ‘happy’, ‘joyous’, or ‘love’, to something more active like ‘discipline’, ‘ambition’, or ‘adventure’.
This provides an overarching sense of clarity for your year, and lets you align every aspect of your life with your chosen word. Consequently, you can make incremental improvements in many areas of your life, rather than only focussing on one area.
#2 Set monthly goals
It might sound painfully obvious, but New Year’s resolutions last an entire year (in theory, at least). 12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days. 8,760 hours. However you look at it, that’s a long time. This is why many people struggle. Giving up a deeply ingrained habit for a few weeks might be possible. Doing so for an entire year is far more challenging.
Instead, breaking the year up into monthly increments makes your goals far more achievable. Setting monthly goals has two main benefits. Firstly, the shorter time frame allows you to dedicate your undivided focus and attention towards the goal. Obviously, quality is better than quantity when it comes to goal-setting. Therefore, it’s better to set a short-term goal which you put 100% effort into, rather than a year-long goal which you only work towards sporadically.
Secondly, variety is the spice of life. By setting monthly goals, you can mix things up so your goals never become boring. While your monthly goals will probably be smaller in scope than a typical New Year’s resolution, the feeling of completing a new goal each month is hugely rewarding.
#3 Write a bucket list
It’s one thing to say ‘that’s going on my bucket list’, but it’s another thing to actually follow through. Be honest: how many of us have a real-life, written bucket list? Well, this New Year is the perfect time to make one.
Often, you’ll write a list of New Year’s resolutions while you’re feeling especially motivated, only to discover a few weeks later that your goals were too ambitious. As such, the key benefit of a bucket list is that you have your whole life to tick each item off.
In many ways, this gives you the best of both worlds: a list of awesome goals and activities that you really want to do, without the time constraint of having to get everything done in one year.
#4 Help someone else with their resolutions
They say that the most rewarding gift is giving. If that’s true, then there’s no better alternative to making personal New Year’s resolutions than helping someone else achieve their resolutions! Perhaps you have a close friend who always struggles to achieve their resolutions and could do with a helping hand. Or maybe your parents have something that they’ve always wanted to achieve, but have never followed through on.
Either way, by providing a supportive, helpful presence and holding someone accountable for their resolutions, you can make sure this is their year! In essence, helping someone else achieve their resolutions takes the pressure off you, while still allowing you to make a positive impact on someone’s life. Not to mention that warm, glowing feeling you get from helping others.
#5 Take time to reflect
In our fast-paced society, it’s easy to move from project to project, without ever taking a moment to reflect on everything that you’ve achieved. So, rather than setting yourself goals for the year ahead, why not take some time off to reflect on all the awesome things you’ve achieved this year? You might want to write a list of everything you did this year that you’re particularly proud of, or you might want to simply sit down, get comfy, and reflect on all the positive things you achieved.
Taking a break from the frantic hustle and bustle of daily life to give yourself a well-earned pat on the back is the perfect way to cap off the year. Better yet, you’ll probably find that you achieved even more than you realised!
#6 Positive resolutions, positive outcomes
If after reading all of this you still have your heart set on making New Year’s resolutions, allow us to offer one last piece of advice: make positive resolutions. Too often, New Year’s resolutions are framed in a negative light: ‘quit sugar’, ‘give up alcohol’, ‘lose weight’, ‘stop wasting money’ etc. While these are perfectly valid goals, they all focus on aspects of our lives that we are unhappy with. Unfortunately, this negativity can be infectious.
When making your resolutions this year, try framing them in positive terms, and see what a difference that can make. Usually, this is as simple as focussing on exciting things that you do want to do, rather than focussing on things that you want to stop doing.
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