Have you made your New Year’s resolution yet? Not surprisingly, U.S. News reports that 80 percent of resolutions fail by the second week of February. This year, why not set yourself up for success by resolving to make small changes in your life that will make a big difference — both for you and others. Whether you want to get healthy or get organized in 2018, try one of these resolutions that help you do something good for yourself while also doing something for your community. We promise the feel-good factor will keep you going long after that second week in February has passed!
1. Give what you can — and do it regularly.
If you resolve to give more every year but don’t actually get around to it until the holidays sneak up, reach out to the organizations you care about most to see if they offer recurring donations or monthly gift options. No matter the size of your donation, this is an easy way to make a difference every single month that you don’t have to think about. Just set it and forget it. Check out our Philanthropy section for ideas.
2. Get organized.
One of the best ways to feel like you’re truly making a fresh start in the new year is to clear out the clutter and get organized. Not sure where to start? A closet overhaul is always a good idea. Remove any items in poor condition or that no longer fit your style or lifestyle. And don’t forget to donate what’s still in good condition. Here’s a handy guide to where to donate just about everything.
3. Don’t diet — just resolve to eat healthier.
Forget fad diets, major calorie cutbacks, or anything that involves eliminating entire food groups. This year, commit to eating whole, seasonal, and sustainably sourced foods. When you phase out processed foods, your body will feel better, and you can feel good about helping the environment and supporting local farmers when you’re more selective about where your food comes from. If you think kicking your junk food habit will be a struggle, here’s how you can retrain your brain to like healthy foods.
4. Don’t resolve to get fit — just sign yourself up for a challenge.
To ensure you’ll actually stick to your 2018 get-fit goals, sign up for a race or some sort of fitness challenge. It’ll hold you accountable and give you something tangible to work toward — and better fitness will come as a byproduct rather than the target. Dreaming big? Sign up for the Chicago Marathon, or another race where you can run on behalf of a charity. Pick a cause that’s close to your heart and fundraise during your training. You’ll do good and feel good. If you’re new to running, here’s all you need to know to start training for a 5K, a good race length if you’re just getting started. If running’s not for you, register for a fun fitness event like Aon Step Up for Kids. Start early and hit the StairMaster now to get ready for this 80-flight climb benefitting children and families at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
5. Make volunteering your new hobby.
One of the most popular resolutions year after year is to learn a new hobby or do some type of self-improvement. Rather than picking up knitting or scrapbooking, commit to volunteering once a month as a family. Choose the same place to volunteer 12 times over the course of the next year, or pick a different cause each month to introduce yourself and your kids to a variety of organizations. You’ll better yourself and the lives of others in the process. Learn more about how and where to get involved.
6. Travel more.
Show your family the world while also showing them the joys of giving back by combining traditional travel and sightseeing with humanitarian volunteering. Get ideas for your next family trip.
7. Read more.
If this one’s always on your list, resolve to add a few local authors (like Beth Aldrich and Trish Cook) to your 2018 reading list. You’ll feel good knowing you’re carving out time for yourself to wind down, while supporting writers in your community. Who are you favorite local authors? Share with us in the comments below!
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Lindsay Roseman, formerly Make It Better Digital Editor, is a Chicago-based writer, editor, and lifestyle blogger living in Old Town. When she’s not blogging about her current favorites on What Lindsay Loves, she’s looking for the best new thing in fashion, beauty, food and entertainment — or she’s probably running. Other things Lindsay loves: banana lattes and small dogs (she’s a dog mom to @LylaTheCockapoo). Her work has also been published in CS, NS, and Women’s Health magazines. She is a proud supporter of Court Appointed Special Advocates.