Ahhhh New Years. The time for letting go of failed hopes and dreams, and to make lists of new (and likely most of the same) goals and aspirations.
I’m just not feeling the optimism this time. Perhaps its because I’m feeling older this year, or because the years seem to be flying by so fast, or maybe the daily routines of existence feels like a rut. I feel like “why make a list of goals only to watch the chances of achieving them wither away with the passage of time?”
I don’t know the answer.
Maybe the problem lies with the goals themselves. Instead of the obvious ones that everyone makes — fitness, money, love, travel, etc — perhaps I should think “outside the box”. Be more realistic and more interesting. (I hate that idiom by the way, “think outside the box”, and people should stop using it so often, including myself… I know, I’ll put it on my resolution list).
Here are some ideas for New Years resolutions that aren’t dumb:
Learn something new. Attempt to learn a new skill every month. It doesn’t need to be exotic; even simple things like basic car or home maintenance. Or take a class in some subject that you’ve never tried. The idea here is to keep the mind flexible. Your mind will become used to doing the same things over and over, and it gets lazy, but mastering new skills forces your brain to build new synapses (brain pathways) which is supposed to be healthy (even though its hard and uncomfortable). For example, last year I tried to learn how to play the piano a little. I could feel the steam coming out of my ears as I tried to make my fingers move. It’s definitely not as easy as I thought it would be. Or maybe I’ll just buy something from IKEA every month and see if I can put it together properly.
Try something that scares you a little. The idea here is to broaden your horizons and sphere of influence. This would probably be something more physical. A couple years ago my husband signed me up to a Krav Maga class without asking me (a self defense fighting system). That was WAY out of my comfort zone, but I ended up loving it and making several new friends, some of whom have become some of my closest and dearest of friends. This never would have happened if I hadn’t been forced to do something that scared me a little. Last year I tried stand-up paddle-boarding. If you’re uncomfortable with guns, try taking a class on shooting and gun safety. Most gun clubs or gun ranges offer a means for you to safely try shooting even if you don’t own a gun.
Random act of kindness once a week/month. This strikes me as something that everyone thinks about doing by never does. It’s not something I keep in the front of my mind to do, but I have noticed that when I manage to do something I do get a boost of happy feelings. So in the interest of wanting to feel happier overall, I think I am going to try to make more of an effort to do little things for others more often. Whether it is a pay-it-forward type thing at the coffee house or just help someone when you see they need it. I was thinking about making it be a daily thing, but lets be realistic and take baby steps here… once a week is probably good. Maybe Monday should be RAC day.
One non-electronics night a week. You and I already know how much time we all waste on Facebook or Netflix, and I’m pretty sure this one sounds easier than it is. We hear stuff like this all over the place and however realistic it may or may not be, it’s probably worth a try. Over the Christmas school break I have been playing board games with my kids more often and it is amazing how much everyone enjoys it. I can see it is also teaching them to lose a little more gracefully; the crying and screaming from the loser is getting less each time we play. I’ve read things like: if you turned off the TV and spent :30 minutes a day learning a new language, you’d be able to speak it fluently by the end of the year. Similarly with a musical instrument. While those ideas sound great, I’m not sure that I could stick with it, but it might be worth a try.
Whatever your plans for New Year resolutions are, consider trying to mix in some of these ideas to keep it interesting. And keep it realistic. Share your thoughts in the comments below.
P.S. Along these similar lines, if you’ve ever wanted to be a writer but not sure where to start, Mommy Perfect is taking submissions. Email me any previously unpublished articles and if I feel like it fits well then I’ll publish it. Email me: gidget at mommyperfect dot com (obviously reformat that address). Cheers!