Regardless of whether or not you embrace the practice of making new year’s resolutions, the start of each new year presents an opportunity to reflect upon what went well and not so well during the past year.
Of course, any time is a good time to assess your life in its current state and make adjustments. You don’t have to wait until one year ends and the next year begins to consider what changes you would like to make and what new projects or adventures you would like to embark upon.
One reason many people don’t make new year’s resolutions is that most of them tend to fail – usually within a few weeks. So rather than making idealistic and overly optimistic resolutions, try evaluating your daily and weekly routines and consider what you’re willing to change.
After all, your level of satisfaction with your retirement – and your overall life – is determined more by how you spend each day than by the occasional big trips or special events you experience.
In this article, I will offer ten ideas for how you can alter your approach to your day-to-day life in order to make this new year your best year yet. Some of these suggestions will resonate with you and some won’t, and that’s fine. I hope you find a few that will be valuable.
1. Look for occasions to celebrate
Get out your new calendar and mark the meaningful dates – birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, etc. Think about what you want to do for these occasions. It doesn’t have to be anything big or expensive, just something out of the ordinary that will make each occasion special.
Start making plans for the ones that are coming up in the next couple months. Create reminders two or three months in advance of the later ones.
2. Decide upon your next vacation
Whether you have an actual written-down travel bucket list or just a mental list of places you want to visit someday, pick one! Decide when you will go. Start making reservations – that’s when it gets real. If you need to start saving for it, then create a budget with estimated costs.
3. Do something new
4. Make time for fun
Do you often bemoan the fact that there never seems to be enough time to do the things you truly enjoy? This could be playing a game of golf, bowling, seeing a movie, hiking, cooking a special meal, or whatever. If you wait until all of your other chores are done and all your obligations are satisfied, you will rarely have time to do your favorite things.
Choose some fun things and schedule time for them. The vacuuming can wait. So can the TV and the computer.
5. Exercise your creativity
Create some art. Write some poetry or a story. Play some music. Knit a new garment or sew a quilt. Do some woodworking (or as one of my friends says, make some sawdust).
6. Read a good book
If you’re like many people, you probably have a stack of books that you have acquired over the years that are waiting to be read someday. Pick one. Work down your stack before you acquire more. Re-read some of your old favorites.
7. Contact your friends more often
I don’t mean just sending them a text or a Facebook message – although that’s better than nothing. Pick one or a few of your most valued friends and invite them over or set up a lunch date. If they’re not local, call them. Write them an old-fashioned letter or send them a card on their birthday.
8. Spend more time outside
If you live in a safe area, going for a walk at night is peaceful and provides a wonderful opportunity for thought and reflection.
9. Get rid of what you don’t need or want anymore
Look at your life over the past year. Is there anything you want to reduce or remove from your life, such as a group you are no longer enjoying or TV shows you’re tired of watching? Are there toxic people in your life you want to reduce your involvement with? Eliminating what no longer benefits you will make room for more activities and people you will enjoy.
10. Shake up your routine
If there are parts of your daily and weekly routines that have become boring, how can you shake things up a bit? If you seem to be busy all the time or it seems like you spend too much time in front of the computer or the TV, make room in your new routine for some of the activities mentioned above.
It often seems as though the years pass more and more quickly. Remaining in a routine or rut is one of the main reasons this happens.
Make this the year you stop putting things off for “someday.” Choose some things you’ve always wanted to do and make them happen. Create some experiences this year that will become lifelong memories.
How will you make your next year better? Scroll down to share in the comments.
© 2019 Dave Hughes. All rights reserved.
Photo credit: Nik MacMillan