Most people set resolutions, but here are seven different, unusual ways you can start your new year that will make it the best new year yet.
1. Go to a party!
That’s right, go to a party! It doesn’t have to be a rager and you do not (and should not!!) have to do anything crazy, weird, or dangerous. Just go to a party and socialize. There is something about ringing in a new year in the midst of community that will help propel you into and through the rest of the year.
2. Pick a theme for the year rather than a resolution
Resolutions can be broken so easily, and statistics show that they are. They are so specific that they often can narrow our vision too much, making it harder to see the larger picture and harder to stick with when we mess up. However, a theme gives you space to grow as a person in many different elements of your life. A theme can be a phrase or a word that means something to you and helps you stretch yourself. Can’t think of one on your own? Jen Fulwiler has you covered with her Word of the Year Generator.
3. Pick a saint for the year
Why pick a saint? Well, for starters, a saint is someone who has already reached the heights of holiness and achieved the Beatific Vision, so who else would you want guiding you, holding your hand, and praying for you on your earthly journey towards the same goal? But also, there are saints for everything! That makes them good companions for all seasons of life. Pick a saint and promise over the course of the year to get to know him or her, pray for her intercession, and learn how to incorporate the virtues he displayed in his life into your own.
The saint can be your patron, one you already have a devotion to, the patron of something you’d like to do in the new year…anyone! If you’re having trouble feeling like a saint is right for you or can’t decide, give Jen Fulwiler’s Saints Name Generator a whirl and see who you get matched with. There’s something really cool about getting to know a random saint!
4. Choose to incorporate one new practice into each area of your life: spiritual, physical, and mental/emotional
This probably sounds more like the traditional resolutions but it’s not! Ok, it kind of is, but it’s fourth on the list for a reason! After you’ve made your theme and picked your saint, you’re ready to do some more practical things.
Here’s the catch, though, you have to take care of your whole self. Physical is the easiest to tend to as it’s the most in your face—do 50 sit ups everyday! Take a walk each day! Eat more vegetables! These are good and you should do them, but you are more than just your body! Make a spiritual resolution, too; pick a virtue to work on this year or incorporate a new prayer practice into your daily routine. This will help you grow in holiness and that’s what we ultimately want, right?
But there’s another area of being you don’t want to neglect: your mental health. Maybe this will mean learning a new skill or a new academic discipline. It could also mean going to therapy or finally going on medication or setting an emotional boundary with someone in your life who regularly oversteps. This is perhaps the most stigmatized part of our life but helping yourself grow mentally and emotionally and finding mental health again is not to be feared. We are composite beings! So take care of all of yourself, no matter what anyone else says (and if they’re putting you down for desiring to take care of yourself, they’re the person you need the emotional boundary with FYI).
5. Join some sort of group
This could be a young adult group, a fitness club, a book club, an informal group of people who all like to play pick-up basketball or video games. Whatever! Joining a group is important because we are social beings and need to be in and find community. This will also help keep us accountable and help us relate better to more people. Already in a group that you love? Good! Go deeper into it and make a commitment to get to know the other members better or do whatever the group thing is better.
6. Set a routine
This isn’t so unusual, I know; it’s very common advice! But it’s really good advice. Also, it’s towards the end of the list purposefully. Once you have all the other things determined, now you can sit down and see how they all fit together in your life– or how they don’t. Now is the time to make whatever adjustments you need to, whether swapping out one of the above for something else or swapping your life around a bit to make the things fit. Then comes the more difficult part, sticking to it. This is where your community will come in handy! Remember at the beginning when I said that it’s good to start the year in community? And then enjoined you to a group? This is why. We are not islands. Isolation breeds complacency, failure, and desolation. But community will help you stick to your commitments and also help pick you up when you fall. Not to mention all the other benefits of just knowing people!
7. Get some sleep
This isn’t unusual at all! But maybe pretty rare. Sleep is important, you know this, so make it a priority. This can be part of the routine you just set above. And yes, sometimes things happen that throw off sleep schedules or make it hard to get enough sleep or any combination of things. But prioritizing sleep will help you function better and raise your quality of life and will also help you bounce back when life does throw unforeseen circumstances in your path (I’m talking to you, newborn babies and parties with friends!). You’re probably exhausted reading all this! Go take a nap, it’ll all still be here when you return.