How to Make the Best New Year’s Resolutions List

The new year is a perfect time to review the past and look to the future. Not every country celebrates the new year on Jan. 1, but resolving to improve in the new year is nearly universal. The U.S. government lists popular New Year’s resolutions on its website, ranging from personal improvement to improving the world. The best way to make your own resolution come true is to select one and focus on it every day until it becomes a habit. Then you won’t have to put it on the list again next year.

    Personal Best

  1. Step 1

    Read the government’s list of 13 resolutions. Some of them are the old standbys: Lose weight; get fit; quit smoking; drink less; get out of debt. Each has a list of resources. Choose one. Focus on it. Get all the help you can, from medical aids and books to therapy and personal coaches.

  2. Step 2

    Reduce personal stress by looking forward. Plan a trip to somewhere you’ve always wanted to see. Save up for it. Research the sites to visit and plan what you will do. You will smile with anticipation, a health boost.

  3. Step 3

    Resolve to wake up with a smile. Think of something you’re happy about before you open your eyes and share your smile with others for the rest of the day.

    Help Others

  4. Step 1

    Resolve to help others by volunteering. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ ” said the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Volunteer your time and meet others who have the same goals and interests that you do.

  5. Step 2

    Find suggestions for volunteer opportunities on the government website, ask friends, look in the papers, on community bulletin boards and inquire at churches and senior centers. Enjoy a side benefit: Philanthropy reduces stress by focusing on others.

  6. Step 3

    Go green and resolve to reduce waste by recycling, using less packaging and buying fresh from local farmers and markets. You’ll be healthier and kinder to the planet.

    New Directions

  7. Step 1

    Dream about where you want to be in five years. Review what things you need to get there and make one of them your resolution.

  8. Step 2

    Learn a new skill, get a degree, change jobs, move to a better location. Each time you complete a goal, move to the next one.

  9. Step 3

    Include relationships in your resolutions. Whether with soul mates or co-workers, resolving to be more responsive and sensitive will improve everyone’s new year.

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