Every year I make a bazillion ambitious New Years resolutions only to forget all about them within a month.
Like most people I hate chores and if there’s one thing my resolutions have in common it’s their tediousness. More gym and business emails, less chocolate and Netflix… what’s the fun in that?
But I love the idea of setting new goals for myself at the beginning of the year which is why I’ve decided to put together this list of fabulous New Years resolutions you will love keeping.
They’re simple and guaranteed to put a smile on your face. They’re also all about loving yourself, your body and those around you.
So instead of trying to lose five pounds again and failing, again, how about making your resolution something you’ll actually love doing?
1. Smile at strangers more
If you live in a big city – especially somewhere like London or New York – you’re probably used to suppressing your smile whenever you’re out in public.
But what if you did not? I often make a point of smiling at strangers and, although a few passersby no doubt assume I’m bonkers, I’m always surprised by how many people visibly cheer up and return my smile.
So turn that frown upside down (if you’re in the mood, anyway) and you might just make someone’s day.
2. Bake something for your coworkers once a month
Speaking of acts of kindness, sometimes it’s nice to treat those around you. A little goes a long way, so how about spending one hour on the last Sunday of every month and baking something delicious for your coworkers, family or flatmates?
Their gratitude will make your day and be a great bonding exercise. Besides, wouldn’t you like to be known around the office as that awesome girl who brings them chocolate chip cookies?
3. Create a capsule wardrobe
I recently came across a guide for creating a capsule wardrobe and immediately fell in love with the idea!
The concept is simple – you only get to keep 37 items in your closet, excluding accessories and sportswear. Once you’re done selecting your staple pieces, you wear them (and only them) for the next three months.
This will save you money, time, space and make you think more creatively about your outfits. It’s also perfect for anyone who loves to travel, reducing the amount of fabric you try to jam into your luggage.
4. Start a dinner club with your friends
If you live in the UK you’ll know “Come Dine With Me” – a programme in which several strangers cook up a storm at their home for a chance to win £1,000.
Watching it is my guilty pleasure but I’ve never organised a proper cook-off myself and think it would make for an awesome thing to do with your friends. So set aside one afternoon a week and instead of going out, stay in with your loved ones and stuff your belly.
5. Wear bright lipstick once a week
Wearing bright lipstick is the fastest way to spruce up any outfit. A quick smear of red and I immediately feel like a better, more confident version of myself.
Women who wear red lipstick tend to feel more confident which in turn makes them more successful. So take advantage of its magic powers and be the superwoman you know you are!
6. Volunteer at an animal shelter or soup kitchen
There’s nothing more rewarding than being kind to those less fortunate. Whether you cook food for the homeless or play with abandoned puppies once a week, you will be changing lives – and your life will be changed in return.
7. Explore a new area of town every Saturday
Travelling the world is great but don’t forget to explore your backyard! It’s likely that foreign travellers come from all over the world to see the city you live in – so why not join them and look at your hometown with fresh eyes?
If you live in a small place there might not be enough new areas to last you a full year, but how about checking out a new cafe or the neighbouring village?
8. Learn songs in a foreign language
Learning a foreign language can feel a little daunting (although you should check out my guide to learning languages from bed which will show you it really isn’t). But how about learning by singing?
Take famous songs like “La Bamba”, “Macarena”, “A Sereje” or “Waka Waka” – wouldn’t you feel cool if you could sing along next time you heard it at a party? Yes, you would. So pick a foreign song every month and sing it in the shower until someone threatens to evict you if you don’t stop.
9. Take a photo of yourself every day
Regardless of whether you like selfies or not, taking a photo of yourself every day makes for an interesting experiment.
At the end of the year, you’ll be able to transform those 365 photos into a short video and reflect on all your ups and downs. So many memories!
10. Learn to cook new recipes from different countries
I love cooking and while I realise not everyone shares my passion, we all have to eat at the end of the day. And because every day is a gift, it’s nice to make your dinner more memorable than spag-bol every now and then.
One of the best parts of travel is trying all the local delicacies, so why not go on a journey around the world from the safety of your kitchen? Vietnamese pho, Ethiopian shiro, Japanese ramen, German Käsespätzle, Colombian arepas… the options are almost literally endless.
11. No screens after 8pm
This is possibly the most difficult of these fabulous New Years resolutions but I promise it’s worth that little bit of pain.
Staring at a screen right before you go to bed makes it difficult to fall asleep and is a big strain on your brain (woo, rhyme!). So turn it all off and enjoy feeling properly rested the next day.
12. Read a book before hitting the hay
Instead of working on your phone or laptop, how about picking up a book and teleporting to a different world? The feeling of paper rustling beneath your finger tips will lull you to sleep and give your brain fodder for exciting dreams.
If you need advice on what to read, check out these inspiring female travel memoirs.
If none of these are up your street, how about going on more trips in 2016? Travel will help you if you’re feeling lost and open up your eyes to the beauty of the world around you. And isn’t that a wonderful way to make the most of the year ahead?
What do you think of these New Years resolutions? Will you try one of them? I’ll be trying no screens after 8pm myself – someone please join me!