11 Ways to be a Better Person This Year Gina Vaynshteyn

Every year, I make this grandiose list of all the things I’m going to do differently after January 1st. Do the dishes every day, write a book, save enough money for a Prius, and I mean, who am I kidding? No wonder like 99.9% of the population doesn’t keep their New Year’s resolutions. We make these crazy promises to ourselves, feel badly when we don’t follow through, and then just abandon them entirely. Not this year, guys. There are small but significant ways in which you can better yourself. You could:

1. Be aware and keep up with current events.

It is so, so important that you are aware of what is going on around you. Don’t have a TV? Well, there’s always the internet. And you have books. And a library card. And the local paper (yes, those still exist). The ways to stay globally connected are endless. Just checking Yahoo News once a week works.. I think if everyone found a way to study their world and surroundings, we would have less ignorance and more open-minded individuals.

2. Keep a journal.

One that you don’t just write in when you’re sad or angry. You don’t have to update it every day, but it’s really cool to go back and see how happy you were that some guy flirted with you at work, or that you decided to go vegan but failed two days later (it’s the thought that counts, right?). It’s those small things in life that we tend to forget, and that’s kind of sad.

Girls

3. Call your grandma more often.

Your grandma is the one person on this earth who probably loves you so unconditionally, it should be illegal. No matter what you do, your grandma is your number one fan. So, give her a buzz. Tell her what’s going on, who you’re seeing, or not seeing, or which book you’re reading.

4. Listen to your friends.

Don’t fall into the trap of always being the talker. Be the listener for a day. Don’t say a thing about yourself until your friend has gotten everything off her chest. We all know it’s really nice to have someone to talk to, so be that person that she can rely on for that.

5. Listen to your body.

Instead of making crazy weight goals this year, try focusing on being more attuned with your body. Do you feel gross all the time? Maybe you’re eating way too much junk food and not enough fruits and veggies. Are you tired a lot, even if you got a lot of sleep? Avoid processed foods and definitely exercise, even if it’s just a walk around the block. Do you frequently get headaches? Drink more water. The cool thing about our bodies, is that they communicate pretty well, and you can generally figure out what’s wrong. Focus on being healthy and how good you feel.

6. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.

Quit scrolling through Facebook and hating all your friends who seemingly have better jobs than you. Spend the day revamping your resume, take a useful class, or just spend a few days applying to other jobs. Don’t feel badly about yourself if you’re single. Embrace it. Go out with friends. Flirt with strangers. The truth is that no one likes being around negative people. Even if you’re bummed out, get it out of your system somehow and actively try to make yourself happier. Even if it’s romanticized, it’s actually no fun being unhappy.

7. Have a conversation with your server.

If they don’t seem busy, exchange a few words with your server or maybe a sales associate at the mall. A simple, “how’s your day going?” is probably enough to make them feel more appreciated and less servant-like. I’ve been there, and it’s the worst to have a table straight up ignore you after you’ve gone back and forth a million times with extra condiments and drinks.

Ghost-World-indie-films-2

8. Buy or make your coworkers coffee/chocolates/cookies from time to time.

Try out a new Pinterest recipe and bring the fruits of your labor to your job. Recipes usually yield at least 50 cookies and you’re not going to eat all of that yourself anyway. Make people happy with treats!

9. Try to be more observant.

Don’t leave your shopping cart in the middle of the aisle. If someone is trying to pass you on the road, don’t be a dick. If you’re with a group of friends at the mall, don’t walk in a row, especially if it’s crowded; people probably want to get past you. If you’re annoyed that it’s taking your server forever to bring you your food, look around you and notice that they probably have a lot of tables. Or maybe the kitchen is backed up or short-staffed. Just be aware of your surrounding and be patient.

sherlock

Get it? It’s Sherlock.

10. Let go.

Stop trying to force a disintegrating friendship to function again. It isn’t your dying laptop, you can’t just download virus protection or buy a new hard drive. I had a couple of friends from high-school that I thought would be in my life forever, but one thing you learn post-college, is that this probably won’t happen. Friends will move away, find new circles to be in, or just straight up change. Let it happen. You’ll find new friends. If there is an ex-friend you are only Facebook friends with to hate stalk, then delete them. You don’t need that unhealthy connection in your life.

11. Make tangible goals this year.

I had this 20 page essay due last semester, and I was just totally lost. I came with all these ideas to my professor and she said one of the most helpful things to me: think small. Instead of vowing to go to the gym every day, vow to go to the gym when you can, but if you’re too busy, you’ll do some crunches in your bedroom. Don’t promise yourself you’ll lose 15 pounds. Promise yourself to eat at least one veggie with every meal. You see what I mean? Don’t make huge goals if you know you might break them. Try your best. Be a go-getter. Think small.

What are some of your goals this year?

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  1. Love this list, I’m trying to remember #11 this year since I am normally the set huge and unachievable goals-type… thinking small definitely sounds better! :)

  2. Love this Gina! I needed to read some of these for sure! Thanks for the motivation!

  3. This is lovely advice and is one of those things that seems so obvious that you should have thought of it yourself.

    #3 hit me hard…I currently reside in the same house as my Grandma and hardly ever have a conversation with her. Shame on me :( I think this is a much needed resolution for me, stop being so busy and strike up conversation with her more often.

    Thanks!

  4. This is amazing and I could not agree with you more! Great read to start 2014. Kudos!

  5. This is such an amazing list! Extra kudos to giving Grandma a shout-out. :)

  6. hahahaaha & here I am still trying to save up for a Prius!

  7. What a fantastic list to start this new year off on a strong, healthy foot! Thank you for sharing. I had a conversation with some girl friends on New Years Eve about what their resolutions were and felt like I was attempting to articulate this message to them. I will be sending it along for them to read.

    Hope you enjoy the start of 2014 and I look forward to implementing some of your thoughts above!


    Danielle Elizabeth Aaronson
    @deaaronson

  8. I love speaking to my Grandma!!! Can never call her enough!

  9. greetings from Chile! thank you for writing this (wonderful article, besides it helps me to practice my english), i’m printing it to read it every now and then.
    My resolution is take more care of myself in every way. Great post. Happy new year!

  10. Thank you for writing this, this is spot on! I wish my grandma was still around today to call. Also about letting go- I wish I didn’t have to learn this lesson the hard way but I completely agree with you, ain’t no body got time for people who aren’t your true friends.
    As part of my degree I have to keep track of current affairs (politics degree) and I find it so funny when people are shocked that I haven’t seen the latest best tv show but I know about the war in Syria!
    Finally, I’ve kept a journal since I was about 10 years old. Reading back through the pages makes me both cringe and feel glad I went through those awkward teenage years and documented them. Think of the advice I could give my children when I remember how it felt for me!
    Happy New Year I hope it is a prosperous and happy one!

  11. I absolutely love this. The issue I have with Large Goal type people is that they set this unbelievable bar for themselves, and once they don’t achieve it the negativism sets in! Also, Small and Large are quantitative terms. Your goals may be small to someone or large, depending upon their life. I hope that by completing the small goals, and working on being better individuals we will be able to view Large Goals in a radically different way; maybe they’ll be just as easy to accomplish simply because we’ve opened our eyes to the world of diverse goal reaching/seeking. Again, great article to read on a fresh New Years Day. Also, I’ve been a server all through college and can’t express my gratitude to those customers who’ve made time for me during their meal. :] Happy 2014 everyone!

  12. I disagree with Ancsa, I believe thinking small allows you to have mini goals and feel proud and positive about yourself more often. If you achieve your small goal and leave it at that then yes, i agree there will be no improvements. However if you continuously ‘think small’ by setting more goals after achieving your first, you will be more motivated to complete the next one.
    Think big in the long term, think small in the short term. Life gamification.
    One of my resolutions is to write more about the things I make, and try and meet new people in the process: lovefromtegan.blogspot.com

  13. I disagree with Ancsa, I believe thinking small allows you to have mini goals and feel proud and positive about yourself more often. If you achieve your small goal and leave it at that then yes, i agree there will be no improvements. However if you continuously ‘think small’ by setting more goals after achieving your first, you will be more motivated to complete the next one.
    Think big in the long term, think small in the short term.
    Life gamification.

  14. Wow!! This is Great!! Thanks

  15. My resolution is to worry less and be happy. :)

  16. Loved this! You go girl

  17. I totally agree with this except the last one. You always have to think big, you have to make yourself work. You sure have to know your limits but if you never try to go beyond them you will hardly improve yourself in any ways. If you want to lose 15 pounds, you can do it if you work really hard, but one veggie with the meals and gym once-twice a weak won’t do it for you. Same goes for everything.
    Make yourself work this year! I’m doing the same. ;)