Last year you vowed to join a gym and lose that daunting 10 pounds (you lasted two months and the gym was next door to a froyo place—net gain of three pounds), and the year prior you pledged to cut back on alcohol (did pretty well until Valentine’s day, when you drunk dialed your mom to lament about your lack of love life). This year, instead of resolving to make drastic life changes, take baby steps. Consider any progress is good progress, and starting small will help you succeed in the long run.
1. Practice Kindness
I don’t care if your Mother Teresa or Kathy Griffin, you can always practice kindness a bit more carefully. Take it upon yourself to extend warmth to everyone you encounter, be they new acquaintances or old friends. This shift should come gradually, whether it’s making the extra effort of holding the door open for a co-worker to picking up someone’s purse that’s dropped on the ground. Not only will people have a more positive opinion of you, but you’ll feel more at peace too.
2. Get physical
Hear me out, fitness resolutions tend to crash and burn, so why not start slowly? Use your body for a mere 15 minutes a day; it doesn’t matter if you’re walking, jogging, or even fucking. Feeling connected to your body is crucial. Don’t make it about weight loss or vanity, just encourage yourself to get moving. The benefits will quickly become apparent to you, both mentally and physically, and even someone with the most hectic of schedules can be active daily for such a small amount of time.
3. Lighten up
Apathetic bumper stickers all over the world read, “Life’s short, then you die.” As jaded as these words might seem, there’s a stark truth to them. Your time on earth is much too short to spend worrying about trivial matters, including how you look or are perceived. Enjoy each moment of each day to the best of your ability. If you can manage to take yourself less seriously, you’ll be on the track to long-term happiness, all as the result of a simple resolution.
4. Support your peers
Whether it’s your closest friends or coworkers, there’s something to be said for the person who can fully embrace those around them. When you’re around people in your age group, it’s easy to see those closest to you as competition. If you’ve ever heard the news that your friend got a promotion, and you immediately experience a twinge of jealousy, rather than joy, reevaluate your motives. Always strive to be successful, but don’t make yourself sick comparing your accomplishments to others. Instead, choose to be fully supportive of those around you. By opening your heart and accepting their achievements, you’re more able to focus on your own, while simultaneously becoming a better friend.
5. Unplug for a while
Social media is a constant, and sometimes necessary, evil in our lives. While it’s great to see pictures of your best friend from middle school’s trip to Asia, it’s more rewarding to actually be productive. Evaluate how much time you spend checking your social media accounts and adjust accordingly. Reserve a minimum of one hour up to an entire day to be social media free, and try to get shit done that you actually enjoy! Read a book, do volunteer work, call your grandparents, seriously anything that gets you away from the monitor or your all-seeing smart phone. You’ll make stronger interpersonal connections by being out and about than you would be glued to a screen.