In January, many people feel hopeful about the year ahead, which they see as a blank slate. They imagine positive changes, better habits, new beginnings, and a brighter future. According to a survey from Discover Happy Habits, more than a quarter of respondents plan on setting a resolution for 2021. Some of the most common New Year's resolutions include losing weight, exercising more, eating a healthier diet, saving money, achieving a better work-life balance, getting organized, and quitting smoking. Do you typically set a New Year's resolution?
Unfortunately, most people don't stick to their New Year's resolutions. According to the same survey cited above, "of those that made a resolution in 2020, 35% kept all their resolutions". Why do so many well-meaning people abandon their resolutions? We think most resolutions aren't creative or compelling enough, so the people who make them lose interest quickly. We'd like to share some unconventional resolutions that might actually get you excited about making a positive change this year.
Start an Add-A-Pearl Necklace
A New Year is an excellent time to begin a new tradition, either for yourself or for someone you love. An Add-A-Pearl cultured pearl starter necklace serves as the beautiful foundation for all the precious memories ahead. When you give a necklace to your loved one, you express your hopes and dreams for the future and demonstrate your commitment to be in that person's life for the long haul. When you give yourself a necklace, you show yourself that you're worthy of love and self-care, and you express to yourself that you deserve all the amazing opportunities ahead in the New Year and beyond. For every milestone and special moment, you can add a new pearl to the necklace.
Cook a New Recipe Every Week
With our busy lives, it's so easy to get stuck in a cooking rut. Do you find yourself cooking the same meals week after week? Can you practically cook chicken in your sleep? If so, you may want to shake up your routine, stimulate your creativity, expand your palette, and improve your cooking skills. Pinterest is an excellent way to search for and browse recipes. In addition, you can follow some of the most popular food blogs and YouTube channels for inspiration: Food52, Serious Eats, A Pinch of Yum, Binging with Babish, and Maangchi. A fun way to approach this resolution would be to cook a recipe from a different country every week. That way, you can "travel" the world through food, even if you're not quite able to travel in real life.
Be More Spontaneous
As we grow older, we tend to lose the sense of wonder we had as children, when the things we didn't understand felt magical to us. Having a vivid imagination and being in awe of what's around us can bring joy to ourselves. If you've been feeling less energized than usual, you may want to create a spark or two in your life. One way to do that is to be more spontaneous. Stop planning and micromanaging every aspect of your life and start letting life happen to you. The next time you feel like saying "no" to a plan because it seems too complicated or unrealistic, try saying "yes" and embracing the unknown.
Start a Gratitude Journal
Did you know that gratitude may be the key to happiness? According to research in the field of positive psychology, "Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships." When life feels challenging or difficult, you may struggle to express gratitude because nothing seems to be going your way. However, if you can be grateful for even the smallest thing, you will understand the value of what you do have. By starting a gratitude journal, you can encourage yourself to keep a running log of everything that fills you with gratitude. When you feel sad or frustrated, you can re-read your journal to lift your spirits.
Revisit a Hobby from Childhood
In adulthood, we sometimes get caught up in our routines and habits, losing the excitement and wonder we had once possessed as children. Make a New Year's resolution to revisit a hobby from childhood like drawing, doing DIY craft projects, exploring the neighborhood, rock hunting, dancing, sports, or whatever else once delighted you. You'll soon find your muscle memory kicking in as you practice the old hobby again. If you have children of your own now, you may even want to introduce the hobby to them. Sharing the experience will give you a fresh perspective.
Rethink Your Personal Style
When was the last time you audited your closet? Do your clothing and accessories still fit? Do they reflect the image you'd like to portray to the world? Do they feel contemporary? If you answered "no" to any of these questions, then it may be time to donate and sell some of your items and treat yourself to a few new pieces. Before you start buying new clothes, consider how you want to feel when you're wearing them. Do you want to come across as free-spirited or professional? Do you know which colors and silhouettes look the best on your? Even a new accessory like a cultured pearl necklace can breathe new life into your wardrobe. If you're really not sure about how you can update your personal style, you may want to consider treating yourself to a virtual style consultation with an expert stylist, who can guide you in the right direction.
Make a New Friend Every Month
The COVID-19 pandemic may prevent you from interacting with new people on a daily basis, but you can still strive to create and develop new friendships, even from a distance. Author Patrick Lindsay once said, "Every new friend is a new adventure...the start of new memories." Forming new friendships can help you feel youthful, and it can expose you to new ideas and perspectives. New friends can introduce you to unique hobbies and even other interesting people in their network. To make a new friend virtually, start engaging more on social media or participating in an online form related to an interest. For example, if you really enjoy knitting, you can follow hashtags like #knit and #knittersofinstagram to find posts from like-minded people.
Choose a Resolution You Can Complete in One Day
Many people fail at keeping their New Year's resolutions because they aim too high; they set lofty expectations and then they don't create a clear plan to get from point A to point B. They also don't have any accountability. Set yourself up for success by pursuing a resolution that you can actually complete in one day. For example, make a resolution to organize your kitchen or promise yourself that you will help someone less fortunate in whatever way you can. These sense of accomplishment you'll feel after achieving your one-day resolution will motivate you to try others. You'll increase your self-confidence in the process.
Be a More Active Listener
By being an active listener in a conversation, you can give the speaker the gift of presence, which is one of the most precious gifts of all. Instead of forming your response while the other person is talking, pay more attention to what that person is really saying and get out of your own head. The next time someone is speaking to you, take notice of what you're doing. Are you making eye contact? Are you engaging in defensive body language like crossed arms? Are you thinking about something else? Are you formulating your next thought? If so, you may be a bad listener. Push yourself to pay closer attention instead.
Write Letters or Postcards
Now that everyone communicates by email or text message, writing letters has become a lost art. However, most people do love when they receive a handwritten letter, since it happens so rarely. During the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have friends or family members who you're not able to see often. Why not write them letters? Putting pen to paper can be a fun and meditative exercise, and you can express your creativity through stationary, inks, and stamps. If you can't think of anyone who'd like to receive a letter from you, you can write letters to strangers who would really appreciate them. For example, the non-profit organization Letters to Strangers accepts encouraging anonymous letters and distributes them to youth aged 13 to 24. Their goal is to create more human connection in the world.
Which of these unconventional New Year's resolutions sounds the most interesting and realistic to you? Did any of them inspire an idea for a resolution that's not on the list? We'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.