Let's be honest: not all of us have the time, money, or motivation to join a gym or volunteer on a regular basis like we'd like to. But that doesn't mean we can't make meaningful resolutions in the New Year and stick to them. Indeed, we might have better chances of doing good if we start small than if we put ourselves up to an unrealistic challenge. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Send handwritten notes: There's something really meaningful about receiving a handwritten note just because, and that's even truer in today's tech-centric world. Whether you do it once a month or more often, put a smile on someone's face by sending them a card to say hi and that you're thinking about them.
- Donate spare change: Know all that spare change that's collecting dust in a jar on your desk? Gather it up every once in a while and commit to donating it to others. That can mean giving money to a charity or treating your friend to lunch — either way, you'll be helping someone else out.
- Say "thank you": Sure, most of us say thank you on a regular basis and think of it as a given part of our day. But there are times when we can make the extra effort to show our appreciation, even if it means going out of our way. For example, we don't often think of leaving a note for the office cleaning lady who empties out our trash every day, but we can certainly start.
- Use fewer plastic bags: They might be convenient when we go to the corner store, but the negative effects of plastic bags on the environment outweigh their benefits. Keep reusable bags in the car, in your purse, or stored next to your coupons so you remember to grab them the next time you go grocery shopping.
- Be grateful: If we could all count a couple of reasons why we're grateful just once a day, it would make a world of difference in our outlook. Aside from being thankful for having basic necessities like a home, it's important to appreciate the little things in life, like having a close friend who lives nearby.
- Put the phone away: OK, it would be impossible to hide your phone all the time, but make a conscious effort to keep it away when it matters most. Dinner with the family? Getting to know someone you just met? Focus on the people in front of you; you can always check your email later.
- Clean your inbox: At the end of every day (or at least every week), take just a few minutes to delete the messages that you don't need anymore. If you do this on a regular basis, you'll feel much better every morning about starting your day with a clean slate.
- Make instead of buy: Most of us often buy food and drinks we could easily make ourselves. Do coffee and salads come to mind? By making these yourself, you'll not only save money, but it will most likely be a healthier alternative.
- Spend 10 minutes a day outside: It's hard to realize, but between work and home life, some of us might not even spend more than 10 minutes a day outside. Make it a point to go for a walk or sit at a park bench reading from a book. Your emotional health will thank you.
- Make an appointment: When was the last time you visited a doctor or a dentist for a routine checkup? Many of us either dread it or only go when a pressing issue comes up. Even if this is something you only do once this year, pick up the phone and set a date. Knowing your health is in a good shape or where you can improve is priceless.
What easy resolutions are you making this year? Tell us in the comments!