We've all made them. And we're all equally guilty of breaking them at some point. Sometimes we'll even shamelessly cross out the last digit of the year in question and will simply change it to the next digit, leaving the rest of the list intact. It's almost like cheating, and too often people will ask "what's the point?" and give up altogether.
Change your unhealthy diet and lifestyle. Lose weight. Quit smoking. Drink less ("quit drinking forever" being the popular variation of this among college kids). Spend more time with _____. Spend less money on _____. File taxes on time, this time. And the list goes on.
Although well-intentioned and noble, goals that comprise our New Year's resolutions can oftentimes feel a bit daunting or nearly impossible. Why do so many of us fail at following through with our resolutions after only a month or two? Maybe it's because we initially set our expectations too high to the point of them becoming unrealistic, considering every other constant in our lives. Maybe, even if they were feasible, we try to tackle too many of them at once. It's been said that it takes 3 months for an activity to become a habit. And we all know that platitude about old habits dying hard.
So what should we do? The trick is to take small steps, to get yourself used to positive change. By doing things at the fundamental level, we gain momentum for eventual self-improvement and long-term change.
Below are just a few ideas that can help you jumpstart what should really be a lifelong undertaking and not just something characterized by tradition. Of course, we want you to get creative and come up with your own ideas to foster a mindset that will encourage you to expand your comfort zone and do something out of what you find to be ordinary. There are literally thousands of things you can do, as long as you're doing it for you. Maybe some of them will end with you having an epiphany. Maybe some of them will be unremarkable and forgotten the next day. But at least you'll have control.
- Eat something you're convinced you hate (preferably something with health benefits, like any item from the oft-neglected areas of the produce aisle and not something bad for you like deep-fried bacon ice cream served on top of a cupcake with a side of jelly donut). Want to make it more palatable? Look up restaurant-caliber recipes online that uses that food item as its main ingredient.
- Learn something completely new and unrelated to your work. Learning something complicated like an entire language or a musical instrument (with possibly the sole exception of the triangle) can put you off learning things because of the time investment involved, but learning a "useless talent" in a day or a week can prove to be fun and rewarding..
- Revisit your childhood neighborhood. See how much has changed over the years and see what's still there. You may be surprised to find out what the defining character of the place has turned out to be. Even if you're not a very sentimental person, you might run into someone from the past and make a new old friend.
- Take some time off to travel to a place you've never heard of before--whether locally, outside your state, or outside the country or continent. You may learn a thing or two about something you didn't know was interesting to you in the first place
- Talk to a complete stranger--not small talk, engage in an actual conversation about things you normally would discuss with your own circle of friends. You'll be surprised at how much insight they may have on the subject(s). It's a good way to see things from a completely different perspective, one belonging to someone from a completely different walk of life.
- Face and conquer a fear, even just once. It can be great or small, like going back to school or dancing in public; a victory is a victory.
- Move to Ridgewood, New Jersey.