If your New Year always starts with you reeling off the same old dutiful commitments to join a gym, start a diet and give up all those bad habits, why not try something different next year to boost your happiness and revitalise your life?
Here are our top 10 suggestions for alternative resolutions.
Get your photo taken in five interesting places
If you’ve got the travel bug and want to see a bit more of the world, why not make it a New Year’s resolution to visit five interesting places you’ve always wanted to see? Even better, make a visual record of the year by making sure you get a photo of yourself taken in each place.
Good photo opportunities include inside an igloo in Lapland, on the Great Wall of China, inside a volcanic crater or floating in the Dead Sea, but use your imagination to think of your own – the world’s your oyster after all.
Learn a decent party trick
You know that party trick you’ve got, the one that always comes out after a couple of drinks? Think about it; is it really so impressive in the cold light of day? If the answer is no, it’s about time you learned a new trick; one that will really impress.
Mastering a new skill – no matter how pointless – can increase your self-esteem, as well as earning you some serious social kudos next time you reveal it in public. For a physical challenge, why not work on your flexibility for a spot of contortion, or give yourself a mental challenge and learn how to recite the alphabet backwards in less than 10 seconds.
Break a record
Want to give your confidence a boost and work towards a new challenge? Then make this the year that you break a record! You could aim at breaking a personal fitness record or, if you want to aim a little higher, set your sights on a world one. With lots of diverse (and bizarre) records there for the taking, this may not be as difficult as you think.
Perhaps you could burn off some kilojoules with the world’s longest kiss, the longest time spent bouncing on a bouncy castle or the fastest one mile run completed wearing swim fins... Yes, these are all real world record titles if you fancy your chances!
Make a new friend a month
Fact: friends are great for your health, and the more you have of them the better. So, why not make it a New Year’s resolution to start collecting them? To expand your social circle, try to make one new friend a month by making a conscious effort to attend more social events, chat to strangers and get introductions to friends of friends.
Making friends with people with different personalities and interests from you can be particularly beneficial in helping you to broaden your horizons, explore different sides of your personality and find new ways to get the most out of life.
Develop a good relationship with your body
Many traditional New Year’s resolutions centre around improving our bodies in some way, whether by taking up a diet or joining a gym. Next year, make it your resolution to start to love the body you’ve got instead. While this doesn’t mean you can’t make changes to your diet and fitness regime if your health requires it, it does mean starting to love who you are in the process.
Work on improving your body confidence by focusing on the things you do like rather than those you don’t, and learn to dress according to your body shape, showing off your favourite features.
Learn something you never learned as a child
You may run your own company, pay your own bills and parallel-park like a pro, but do you know how to do a handstand or ride a bike? For this New Year’s resolution it’s time to nurture your inner child and learn that thing that you never learned to do.
Whether it’s the number of days in each month, how to spell ‘necessary’ correctly, how to ride a bike or swim, we all have something we never learned as a child that everyone else seems to know. Set this to rights and have some fun at the same time by redressing this gap in your knowledge. Your younger self would be proud!
Try a new food each week
Rather than cutting out foods from your diet as with so many New Year’s resolutions, opt to add more foods in to your diet next year instead (bonus points if they’re green!).
Many of us don’t eat a varied enough diet, so ensure you are getting all the nutrients your body needs – as well as enhancing your enjoyment of food – by making a resolution to try a new food each week. Try hitting the fruit and vegaisle first to sample some exotic fruit and vegetables you may have yet to try, such as dragon fruit, lychees, romanescu and plantain.
Make the usual unusual
It’s easy to get into a rut where we do the same things day in, day out, with our days passing us by as a routine-filled blur. Next year, spice up your routine by vowing to do one small thing differently each day or week. Wear something you wouldn’t normally wear, run a different route, or order a different coffee perhaps.
Also, don’t fall into the trap of postponing your happiness by saving everything special “for best”. Instead, brighten up a routine day every so often by donning your diamond earrings, swapping faded comfy knickers for your favourite silk underwear, or eating those fancy chocolates washed down with a glass of champagne!
Sort out a financial worry
To help get your year off to a good start, try getting your finances in order by making a resolution to sort out one area of financial worry. Perhaps you spend a fortune on petrol or maybe it is your food bills that are blowing your budget?
Try to think of some alternatives to the main causes of financial stress, such as cycling to work instead of driving, growing your own vegetables or making your own beauty products. Not only will coming up with alternative solutions help you save some money, you may find that you enjoy them and that they boost your health too.
Do something nice for others every day
Many of our resolutions (these included) are inwardly focused, concentrating on ways to become thinner, healthier, wealthier people. However, while there is nothing wrong with improving yourself, it’s worth remembering there’s a whole world out there too.
Next year, why not make a resolution to focus outwards instead and help make the world a better place. Plan to do one nice thing a day for someone else; whether it’s something small like giving a compliment, or something potentially life-saving like donating blood or sponsoring a child in need. By knowing you are making a difference, you will also indirectly boost your own happiness and sense of achievement.
(Picture: Couple taking picture from Shutterstock)
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