The New Resolutions

The start of a new year means new resolutions, right? With two weeks already in full gear for 2015, we may be scrambling to get our resolutions in motion. Don't worry, we're all in the same boat. Some of the more common resolutions we promise ourselves are to “lose some weight” or “exercise more.” The fact of the matter is: resolutions like these don’t work. They’re too vague and too typical. If you’re going to make a resolution for this year, it had better be something that you really care about, rather than something you choose so you can say you have a New Year’s resolution.

Remember that when you’re choosing your resolutions to have clear, concise goals – you should know exactly what you want to do to improve yourself. Here are some new ideas to try out this year:

Read a Book You Wouldn’t Normally Read

With hundreds of thousands of choices and numerous ways to access books, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t pick up a book and try something new this year. Go outside of your comfort zone and read something you wouldn’t normally choose. Stop by your local library or peruse the iTunes bookstore – whether you’re reading from a physical book or from an e-book reader, you can still get the same experience.

Also, check out the bestseller lists or librarians' lists to find a book. If you normally reach for mystery books, grab a memoir. Opt for a fantasy book instead of a romance novel. You never know if you’ll like something until you try it – and who knows, choosing one book outside of your comfort zone could turn into five or 10 or even more.

Be a Better Driver

We’re all guilty of having some bad driving habits, such as checking our phones or getting worked up about things other drivers do. I know I’ve had two tickets in the past year that could’ve been easily avoided if I had replaced my lights or had driven slower.

Being a more conscientious driver does not only affect you; it affects the drivers around you. For example, 56 percent of fatal car accidents are caused by unnecessary actions, such as tailgating and erratically changing lanes. Sometimes other drivers will get you worked up, and sometimes you might think you have to look at your phone in the car. Just remind yourself that in the long run, neither of these things have a huge impact on your life, but one little mistake could.

Give Back to the Community

New Year’s resolutions do not always have to be about improving yourself. Volunteering your time or resources to a charity can be just as fulfilling, if not more so, as losing some weight or reading more.

Find a local organization and commit to spending a set amount of hours each week there. If you find yourself stretched for time, commit to giving a set amount of money each month or donating items for a good cause on a fairly regular basis. If you love animals, help out at an animal shelter. If you think you have too much stuff around the house, reach out to some goodwill stores or homeless shelters and see if you have anything that they can use.

It’s important to appreciate what you have, but it’s also important to help where help is needed.

Reach Out to an Old Friend

With social media at its height, you have all the tools you need to reach out to friends from high school who you may have fallen out of touch with. However, instigating a conversation with someone you haven’t seen in years is never as easy as it seems.

We all have at least one person in our lives where we think, “Why don’t we talk anymore?” You may want to check in with that friend, but then psych yourself out and stop at the last minute. Chances are your friend has gone through the same thing. Additionally, you may find you pick up your friendship right where it left off. Reuniting old ties can do wonders for your mental state.

Pick the Resolution You Want To Achieve

If you’re truly dedicated to achieving it, going for the typical New Year’s resolution can work for you. However, I know that I will be choosing resolutions that I want to complete, regardless of whether they’re common or not. The most important part of any resolution is the desire to do better. Make the decision to be better and stick with it – the rest will fall into place. As cliché as it sounds, start this new year off to a great start. Hello #NewYearNewYou!