You don’t have to wait for a Monday, a new month, or a new year in order to start new habits. Yet… there’s something addicting about the first of anything. It beckons a fresh start fueled by hope. The turning of a new page, a new leaf, a new adventure. It’s no surprise that 74% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions.
Statistically speaking about 45% of New Year’s resolutions are related to heath as it relates to weight. I’m not here to knock those goals or desires. If this goal is being pursued for the right reasons- a desire to become healthier is really great and can lead to a more active mind and body. Who wouldn’t want that?!
But in a sea of people flocking to gyms, trying new weight loss beverages, swearing off second glasses of wine, and throwing every baked good in the trash, I’d dare you to go deeper this year. Beyond your health as it relates to weight loss. Not instead, but beyond.
We are wholistic beings and it’s time our New Year’s resolutions reflected that. Passionate about food, drink, comedy, art, music, dance, theatre, nature, animals, design, culture, friendship and on and on and on. None of those have anything to do with what size jeans you can squeeze into. The best part? It can all start with the smallest of steps.
1. Learn a New Skill
There isn’t a single area in your life that would benefit from learning a new skill. Most importantly, learning a new skill has NOTHING to do with perfecting it. You can learn something and be terrible at it, and then never want to do it again… and that would still be considered an accomplishment. Maybe you’ll hate it? Maybe you’ll love it? At the very least it will expand your knowledge base and connect you with other likeminded individuals.
Using Your Hands
- Basic car repairs
- A musical instrument
- Baking bread
- Floral arranging
- Card games
- Speed reading
- Second or third language
- Exploring a specific century in history
- Yoga: increases body awareness, centers attention
- Coordination: think jump rope, juggling, dribbling
- Accuracy: think archery, grip trainers
And no I don’t mean doomsday prep, although it that’s your thing… go on and do your thing.
- Starting a fire and cooking over it
- Tying different knots
- Basic first aid
- Learning what is edible (safe to eat) in your area
If you’re not quite sure where to start, but interested in learning more, check out these 8 Basic Survival Skills You Can Learn In Your Backyard. Learning any one of these skills would be a New Year’s resolutions goal in my opinion!
2. Make One Sustainable Swap
Talk about an overwhelming subject. Everywhere you turn there’s someone telling you you’re doing it wrong. That if you but buy this set of reusable bags or reusable paper towels or don’t use laundry detergent anymore, YOU WILL SAVE the planet.
Yes. I’m pro being responsible and accountable for my actions and their affect on those around me, including this beautiful planet we get to call home. But, I cannot live in daily guilt wondering if the straw I just used is responsible for killing a sea turtle tomorrow. I cannot afford to swap out every item I own for more sustainable options. In fact, I honestly believe that if you’re tossing something just to replace it with a more sustainable option- you’re just contributing to the problem.
Instead, I offer this solution for one of your New Year’s resolutions. When it comes time to replace ONE item you use regularly make your new purchase an educated one. One that makes a truly positive impact over time. It’s all of us making baby steps together, sustaining those decisions, that will add up over time and make a world of difference for this world that’s sadly in steep decline.
- A pair of shoes that can be resoled instead of replaced when they wear out
- Glass storage containers instead of plastic, look for ones that are freeze, microwave and oven safe as an added multipurpose benefit
- Cloth napkins instead of paper
- Use your local library system
- Consider composting
For a more comprehensive list covering a few different categories of life, pop on over to 52 Swaps to Live More Sustainably.
I've use these to make homemade crème fraîche, store pestos, house garlic confit, and so much more. Primarily these are being used in my kitchen for sauces, dips, and quick pickles. Perfect to take to a summer BBQ or to nestle into a bowl of tortilla chips. Think next level guac baby.
No, this doesn’t require first class tickets to Bora Bora, although that’d be super cool. Sometimes we forget just how much there is to see in our own backyards. How much of your city (or nearby city) have you actually explored? Have you been in any of your state parks? What about the restaurants in your area run by chefs who are nationally recognized by the James Beard Foundation?
- City: parks, trails, restaurants, museums, local festivals, food and beverage tours
- State: capital building, state parks, state fair, BnBs, zoos,
- Region: recognized monuments, top rated towns/cities,
Not sure where to begin? Chances are there’s local to you influencers online who blog all about the hidden gems in your area. And while I’d recommend you looking for local experts, sometimes it’s nice to browse the “big picture” too. If that’s you, take a moment to check out Only In Your State. Where you can literally select your city and/or state to reveal a list of things to see and do!
4. Get Connected
Who doesn’t love scrolling through Tik Tok and Reels? I’m here for all the video content these days, but NOTHING replaces in real life connection. And unless you live in the Yukon in a cabin 200 miles outside of town on 1000 acres of land, you can get connected in your local community.
- Does your neighborhood have an association? Not all of these are HOAs. In fact, many are non-profits who seek only to build a stronger, closer community. There are so many great opportunities to get involved with the board or as a volunteer right in your own neighborhood!
- Are you working on developing a skill? Consider checking out MeetUp or one of the neighborhood apps to see if there’s a weekly or monthly group to connect with. Trying to learn a second language? There might be a group you can practice with, I know I found one that was super helpful through MeetUp!
- Volunteer with an organization that supports a cause you are passionate about. The options are endless because the needs are endless. From food pantries to refugee services to community gardens there’s something for every passion- you’ve just gotta look for it.
- Book clubs
- Religious groups
- Walking groups
This could easily be the longest paragraph or the bunch. This really boils down to finding a genuine way for you to connect with others in your local community while doing something you love. Overwhelmed by it all? Why not start with a neighbor? Someone you’ve already chatted with once or twice that you’d be interested in getting to know better. It doesn’t matter where you start… just start!
5. Get Outside
If you can. As in it’s not monsooning, blizzarding, 120f/49c with a severe heat warning, or threat of ravaging wild fire. Whether it’s for a quick walk around the block or full body stretches in the sun or happy hour on the porch, just being outside can completely reframe the way you process and focus. Did you know that Americans spend 90% of their life indoors? 90%…
- Wash your car
- Tend a garden or flower patch
- Go on a picnic
- Sit on the restaurant’s patio
- Enjoy a fire (in a fire pit)
- Drink your morning coffee on the porch
- Shop your local farmers market in season
- Ice skating and sledding
- Play a round of mini golf
One of my most memorable dates with my husband was renting scooters in out city, driving over to our favorite market for a lunch on the lawn, popping over to a neighborhood lake for a walk around, and stopping for a cup of coffee at our go to cafe (consumed on their deck). Totally over the top for us, and not cheap. But it’s a date we still talk about regularly- 7 years later.
At the time, we were a one car family and couldn’t afford another payment. Getting a scooter seemed like a good idea, so before purchasing we decided to rent a pair. Let’s just say we’ll never be buying scooters… because I did legit almost crash 5 or 6 times! I’m not the most coordinated person on the planet.
Let Me Know
Have you started thinking about or making plans for your New Year’s resolutions? If you’ve been successful at setting and completing your New Year’s resolutions in the past please SPILL your tips and tricks in the comments! Sharing is caring, and we’d all love to know what you have to share 🙂
While you’re at the sharing and commenting, please Save to Pinterest or Share on Facebook. I need all the support I can get to keep on growing this dream of mine. A place where practical beats perfect- and simple, delicious food is a lifestyle. A place where together, we can begin filling homes and tables with joy.
Hugs, because handshakes are awkward~