Real resolutions for a happy New Year…
We’ve all heard the list of cliché, standard, run-of-the-mill New Year’s Resolutions before: Lose weight, get raise, meet soul mate, get straight A’s, change the world. While well-meaning, it’s hard to believe those who make these their goals actually expect success. After all, anyone who puts so little effort and imagination into making their resolutions probably isn’t going to exert much energy when it comes to meeting their goals.
Setting powerful but doable resolutions, like volunteering, can be great for the soul.
While many resolutions have become stale over the years, the start of a brand new annum does provide a good opportunity to turn over a new leaf by setting some personal goals – ones you’re going to actually want to achieve. After asking around, we’ve created a list of interesting and (hopefully) inspiring resolutions you may decide to make, too.
Powerful and Doable Resolutions for 2007
Stop whining. Jess, 29, says: “Whenever something bad happens to me, I blame everyone and everything but myself. I want to start taking more responsibility for my problems. I think it’ll make me a stronger person.” Wallowing in the attitude of “poor me” is a waste of time and energy. This year, learn to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get on with things. The only one responsible for your life is you, and you’re the only one who can affect change to make it better.
Learn from your screw-ups. Everyone is familiar with this concept, but few are successful when it comes to not making the same mistake twice. “I got and lost four jobs in 2006,” says Patricia, 28. “Each time I was let go, I went on this mad hunt for new employment. Not once did I sit down and figure out exactly what went wrong, and what I can do differently in the future so it doesn’t happen again.” This year, take time to find the hidden lesson in every stroke of bad luck. It’ll probably save you plenty of headaches down the road.
Raise the bar. “I like to think my standards are already high,” says Mari, 27. “But that doesn’t mean they can’t be higher.” If you refuse to compromise, raising the bar in every area of your life – from relationships to career to money – can make a major difference in your outlook and self-esteem. This year, do yourself a favour and refuse to settle for anything less than you deserve. You’ll likely be a lot happier for it.
Live more, Myspace less. In this age of mass communication and ever-advancing technology, it’s easy to get “stuck behind the screen.” Since she joined the popular social-networking site “Myspace” in early 2006, Tanya, 24, has found herself “spending more and more time on the computer and less and less time meeting new people in person.” Since it’s started to affect her work (she admits to spending two to three hours each day logging on to her profile, adding new friends and writing her daily blog), Tanya’s resolved to spend less time online – especially since, in her case, it hasn’t forged any tangible relationships for her. “I’ve met tons of people online, but I’ve never seen any of them in real life! This year, my goal is to start living in the real world again.”
Help stop global warming. “I think we’ve all noticed how much the weather has changed in the past few years,” says Rhonda, 28. “I think it’s time we all realized it’s not really a positive thing, and start doing something about it.” While most of us are enjoying the unseasonably warm weather this winter, we must realize it comes at a cost. And, in fact, we are all responsible to take some sort of action to preserve our planet. It doesn’t take much – here are some things you can do to help:
Do something for someone else. Yes, it takes some time and effort to do something nice for someone else, but it’s worth it. “I know the good feeling you get when you do something for someone less deserving is supposed to be twofold,” says Jana, 27, “but I’ve never gotten around to getting off my butt and doing it!” This year, get off your butt. Pick something you’re good at, that you enjoy doing anyway, and apply it to a worthy cause. If you’re a hockey fan, volunteer to help coach a kids’ team. If you’re a math wiz, find a student who needs tutoring. It’s not a cliché – you WILL be repaid in good karma.
- Take alternative transportation. Take the bus, walk, ride your bike or carpool. Leaving your car at home just two days a week is a great way to limit toxic fuel emissions. If you’re thinking of buying a car in 2007, consider one that’s fuel-efficient. It’s an important step to reducing global warming.
- Don’t idle. If you must drive, get into the habit of turning off your car when you’re not in motion. If it’s cold out, bundle up inside the house and scrape the windows before you start the ignition. It may be a bit chilly, but you’ll be helping make sure future generations get to enjoy snow, too.
- Thermo stats. Installing a programmable thermostat not only saves carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, it’s also more convenient, letting you program it to turn on and off according to your schedule. As extra incentive, you’ll save about $100 a year on energy bills.
- Bag your own. Reusable grocery bags have been around for years, yet many of us continue to rely on plastic bags at the store. It’s so easy to do – get yourself a strong fabric bag and don’t forget to take it to the store each time your fridge needs filling.
- Paper trail. Beyond recycling paper products, don’t forget to use both sides of every sheet. Set your printer to double-sided mode and you’ll help save trees.
- Recycle. Here’s another example of a program that’s been in place for years in most cities, yet so many of us find it easier to throw recyclable waste in the trash. This year, do whatever you need to do to make recycling easy and mindless in your home and office. Buy large plastic bins and label them “paper” and “plastic/glass,” and store them where they’re easily reached, especially where you’re likely to generate the most waste.
- Bright idea. Replace your old, energy-draining bulbs with energy-saving compact fluorescents – they’re available everywhere and are no more costly than the originals. And don’t forget to turn off the lights.
Be honest. If you’re hiding things from other people, you’re most likely lying to yourself, too. “The last lie I remember telling was a couple days ago,” says Lisa, 27. “My dentist asked me if I was flossing every day and I said yes. I haven’t flossed since.” You probably see the moral of this story. Stop lying. Honesty really is the best policy – and the only way to live happily.
Be brave. OK, maybe this one is a bit of a cliché. But it can be a fun resolution, if you want it to be. Terra, 26, admits: “I’m pretty shy. I have a lot of trouble talking to strangers. It makes it really hard to connect with people and make new friends. I’m going to try harder to be more social and break out of my shell more. It’ll be scary at first, but once I get over that first hurdle I think it’ll become easier and easier for me.” This year, do something that frightens you. Step beyond whatever boundaries you’ve previously set for yourself and try something new – good things will result.
Cherish those you love. Sarah, 29, says if she could accomplish only one thing in 2007, she knows what it would be. “I want to make sure every single person who means something to me knows I love them, appreciate them and am a better person for knowing them.” Now that’s something each and every one of us can aspire to this year – and you’ve got 12 whole months to do it. Happy 2007, everyone. ¤ Noa