I’ve never been a New Year Resolution type of gal. That’s likely because for me growing up new year celebrations meant Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur not the December 31st to January 1st thing. Sure, I watched the ball drop and all the parades on TV. And even went to the Rose Parade one year. But resolutions weren’t really on my radar until I was in college. And even then, I never really got in to the whole excitement of saying I’ll do things only to decide a few days later it’s not gonna happen.
I’ve asked my Rabbi before if Jewish people make resolutions. As in, when Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur come around why is it that I don’t hear a lot of talk about all the great things we decide we’ll do in the year ahead. I’ve never really gotten a good answer. Sometimes I’ve been told it’s because we focus on forgiveness and look forward in the coming year to doing better for ourselves and others. Other times it’s more about the spiritual well-being of our resolve than the physical and economic. The general focus, I’ve come to understand, is, in addition to the teshuvah, often translated as repentance (that whole ask for forgiveness part), the Jewish new year is a return (another definition of teshuvah) to spirituality, goodness, and charity.
As a progressive Jewish woman, there are many secular aspects of this whole resolution thing I want to embrace. Not the make them and break them part, but the change part. The quest to improve and make things better, not only for myself but also for others. Which is why I’ve been looking at ways to use this changeover to 2016 as a catalyst to kick up my quest for reminders and actions to make every day better than the one before.
So if making resolutions isn’t your thing, but you want to do something here are some fun and encouraging ways to help you make 2016 your year!
5 Awesome and Amazing New Year Resolution Alternatives
Start a gratitude journal – There are scientific studies that show gratitude actually makes us happier and healthier. Kind of like a diary, a gratitude journal is a place where you write down things you are thankful for. You can be as creative as you wish. No pressure to write 50 things a day or explain everything in detail. It doesn’t have to be big things. It’s what YOU are grateful for that day. You don’t need a fancy journal or pen. Any notebook will work. And as time goes on you can upgrade if you want. Start out simple and before you go to bed just write down 3 or 4 things that made you grateful that day. It could be as simple as having your water bottle because you were super thirsty and couldn’t stop for a coffee or soda. It could be coming home at the end of the day and not having to make dinner because you had leftovers from the night before. Maybe you’re grateful for a text from a friend or being able to send a text that cheered up your friend. You get it, right? Just a few things, every day, that fill your heart with joy and give you a reason to say “good things happened today”.
Create a happiness jar – Happiness jars have been around for ages. DIY and self-help mavens have made them popular again, but the truth is, we did these when we were kids. We’d write things about the day and store these scraps of paper in our dresser drawer, a shoebox under the bed, a mason jar in the closet, or wherever prying eyes wouldn’t be able to find it. Again, nothing fancy if you don’t want. You just need a jar or a box and a piece of paper and something to write with. Of course, if it’s something pretty or decorative that you can see daily and that brings you joy, that will likely make it easier for you to stick with this journey throughout the year. At the end of the day, pick something that made you happy. It could be getting a promotion, finally quitting that crappy job, or getting to see an old friend. Even if it was a nose-to-the-grindstone or when-does-school-start-again kind of day, sometimes just taking a few minutes to focus on your heart and your happiness can be a big deal for your personal health and well-being.
Fill a dream jar – Instead of filling a jar each day, start the year with a jar filled with things that symbolize your dreams. That way you can see it every day and be motivated to keep at it. Fill it with pictures of places you want to travel. Maybe you want to finish your degree. Or start it. It could be a new house, more money, time with friends. Whatever it is that you want to do this year, add them to a clear jar by your sink or bedside or kitchen to remind you that today you’re going to do something to achieve your dreams.
Select a word – Sometimes we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to remember all these awesome things we’re going to do this year. Twelve months is a long time and planning that far ahead isn’t for everyone. So why not just pick a word. One word that will be your focus, your anchor, your driving force. And once you have chosen that one word, write it down and post it so you see it frequently. Maybe it’s in your daily planner for work or in a reminder note on your phone. Could be a sticky-note on the fridge or in the car. Write down your word and when you need to make a decision, ask yourself if it fits with your word.
Make a vision board – It can be as fancy and elaborate as you desire. Vision boards have been around for ages. Again, you probably made something like a vision board when you were a kid. Remember tearing apart all those magazines and sticking them on your wall or in a notebook? Channel your inner creative child and put together a vision board to keep you motivated all year. If a physical dream board isn’t your thing, there are a number of virtual dream board options.
So there you have it – five pretty awesome and amazing alternative to setting resolutions you know you’re not likely to keep. I wish you all the best in 2016. Thank you for visiting my blog, sharing your thoughts, and showing your appreciation by sharing my work. May all your dreams become a reality and may goodness and joy follow you throughout the year.
What do you think of these alternatives? Do you think one of them might be right for you? What other suggestions do you have as a resolution alternative?