Do you dabble in new year resolutions?
Do you vow every year to lose weight/learn another language/travel more/save money/cure cancer? Of course you do. There is something rather thrilling about staring down the nose of a brand new, untainted, mystery-filled, whole entire year. It always gets me a bit giddy.
I’m upfront about the fact that I’m not really into the traditional new year resolutions.
In fact, I wrote a whole post on commitments to make in the coming year that are strictly not resolutions.
But I do believe there’s a place for self improvement resolutions every new year.
There’s no time like the new year to take a good long look at yourself and find some areas that need improving.
So while I’m not strictly setting myself “resolutions”, I have made one decision that I would like to stick to.
This year, I’m resolving to be a better person.
It’s a very broad, open-ended idea, and in itself is not much of a self improvement resolution at all! But if you break it down and work out exactly where you need to improve yourself, it becomes a lot less lofty.
Want some great ideas on how to be a better person this year?
(PS. These aren’t coming at you from some blogger who’s all “I’m nailing all of this and I’m an amazing person so listen up peasants, here’s how it’s done.” I need these self improvement resolutions just as much as anyone!)
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Self Improvement Resolutions That Will Make You An Epic Human Being
Months ago, a blogger I love wrote a healthy dose of perspective on, well… perspective. On balancing the good against the bad and choosing where to place your focus.
This is something all of us should practice. Not to say your distress isn’t valid when times are hard. But trying to remember the good things in life and choosing to believe that life is good is huge for your mental health. It can be a difficult mental shift to make, but is well worth it.
Take care of yourself
Be someone who cares about their body and the condition it’s in. If you’re carrying some extra weight, stop focusing on losing it and instead focus on nourishing yourself. The weight loss will naturally come if you commit to feeding your body with the right foods and doing some gentle exercise to keep your muscles warm. (This is also valid for those who don’t need to lose weight, of course!)
Don’t engage in online battles
Are you someone who gets a thrill from tearing up a fellow human in the comments section on Facebook with your expert opinion? Consider toning it down.
Online battles are a waste of energy and brain space. Nobody’s point of view is converted by an opinionated person in the comments. Putting people down does nothing except make you look like a jerk – and don’t forget that your friends see what you comment on over Facebook.
I wrote this post on our sister site, She the Fierce, and though it’s targeted at mothers it’s valid for absolutely every person.
Honour others’ time
Time is such a precious commodity in this busy world. When someone commits to spending time with you, when an appointment is made, the expectation is that you will be there in that designated slice of time. People commit that time slot to you and nothing else.
So when you’re perpetually late, you’re communicating that your time is more precious than the time of the other person; that it’s okay for them to sit and wait for you because whatever has caused your lateness is worth stealing time from them. If their time was important to you, you would be there when you said you would. We all have circumstances that make us occasionally late, but for some people, late-ness is a way of life, and it’s not cute.
This year, resolve not to be late. Don’t be that person whose friends tell them to come half an hour before an event starts just to ensure they make it on time.
Don’t be offended by every little thing
Try not to take everything personally. Most things that people say, and actions that they take, aren’t done so with you and your values and feelings in mind. Day-to-day there may be lots of opportunities to be offended, and a lot of people will absolutely take the bait. But don’t be one of them. It’s not worth your energy.
And if people really are trying to offend you for the sake of it? If an acquaintance tries to cut you down, if a stranger hurls abuse at you for no reason, try to remember that those are the people whose opinions of you matter the least. They have no bearing on you as a person.
Kat wrote a bloody brilliant piece on not choosing offense and you should definitely read it for a much more eloquently written perspective than what I’ve just shared.
Learn to cook a handful of meals
Not knowing how to cook is cute when you’re 19 and eating 2-minute noodles for dinner when your parents aren’t home, but once you’re an adult with a kitchen of your own it’s kind of a bummer!
I’m here to tell you that cooking ain’t hard. And I say this as someone who was completely uninterested in learning how to put a meal together as a newlywed 22-year-old, 10 long years ago.
Stop telling yourself “I can’t cook” and having cereal for dinner. Spend this year trying out some basic meal ideas. Buy packet meal bases. Jar sauces. Search for beginner recipes on Pinterest. A lot of recipe blog posts have step-by-step instructions and photos.
Some things you attempt will be utter fails, and that’s okay. That happens even to the most seasoned cooks! My favourite food blogger of all time releases an annual “cooking bloopers” post (her latest is here and includes one of the most disgusting uses of salmon I’ve ever seen). And cooking is her full-time job!
But keep trying, and keep learning. You don’t need to impress anyone with your culinary skills. You just need to get warm, nutritious food in your body occasionally.
Be kind to strangers
We all keep to ourselves a little bit too much, in my opinion. People are so awesome. But we would never know, because nobody says anything to each other out in the world.
Be the person who does say something. Compliment someone’s nails or hair if you notice them – don’t just think it to yourself. Be friendly to people in customer service – instead of just the usual “I’m good, how are you?”, ask them about their day, when their shift ends, what they plan on doing this weekend, etc. At the dog park, tell someone their dog is super adorable and well behaved. Compliment someone trying on a gorgeous new dress in the change room (if she comes out to the big mirror of course – I’m not advocating anything creepy here!).
It feels amazing to be noticed by someone who doesn’t know you and what you’re about, so give that feeling to people that you come across. It might feel a bit awkward at first, but you will get used to it.
Encourage your loved ones
People thrive on encouragement. It’s so nice to have your best qualities, or something awesome that you’ve done, recognised by someone you love. It’s also amazing to receive the right words when you’re struggling through something.
So look for opportunities to compliment and encourage the people you love. Your words will reach right into their heart.
A while ago Tahlia shared the life-changing difference made for her when friends and family began encouraging her through a tough time. It’s easy, and the words might feel small, but the sentiment is massive.
Take control of your finances
Chris and I recently began implementing the (very simple) principles in The Barefoot Investor and it has changed our financial life! Not to say it’s the only way to get control over your finances – there are many methods out there and people offering wonderful advice. Check out Dave Ramsey’s YouTube channel or look for financial freedom accounts on Instagram for some amazing inspiration.
Just stop being the person who can’t afford stuff. Give yourself the gift of control over your money. It will change your life.
Stop apologising unnecessarily
Apologising unnecessarily is one of the most dis-empowering things we can do, and (generally speaking) women seem particularly prone to it. Apologising unnecessarily communicates all kinds of things, including:
- that we have done something wrong, when we haven’t
- that we owe something we don’t
- that we should have done something, when we shouldn’t necessarily have
It’s a hard habit to break but an important one. Apologise when it’s due, but don’t give others the power of your undue apology.
Do that thing you’ve been meaning to do
We all have that burning desire. Something big we want to get to “in the future”. In the mean time, the years are passing, and it’s always hovering off in the distance as a “someday” thing. But. What if you started putting the plans in place to get it off the ground? Whether it’s a business, a blog, a new career path, or a move to the other side of the planet… get those wheels turning. Make a plan. Register the business name you’ve been dreaming up. Reserve that domain. Sign up for that course that will set you in a new direction. Research that country you’ve been yearning to live in and explore.
Change is hard to undertake, but so necessary. And the more changes you undertake, the more natural it starts to feel.
Let this be your prompt to put yourself out there and do that thing.
I hope these self improvement resolutions have motivated you.
I hope you’ve reached the end of this article feeling empowered and excited. Self improvement is a never-ending process but one worth committing to.
Happy new year, you magnificent beast.
(Feeling inspired? Go ahead and pin the whole list on Pinterest to refer back to!)
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