11 Ways to be a Better Person This Year

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.

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.

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.

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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