"Many people start the new year off with New Year’s resolutions, only to discover within a couple of weeks they have forgotten what they even were," says life coach Catherine Thorburn of Toronto.
"Rather than setting ourselves up for failure, let’s focus on resolutions that we should make that will help us have a better 2017 and many years to come."
Below, Thorburn suggests alternative New Year's goals you can essentially start any time of the year. And instead of focusing on weight or diet, it's time to start thinking about our well-being and others around us.
And don't feel bad about messing these up — picking up a new habit takes time to master.
Start Treating People Better
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We all want to be treated with respect and kindness, but these actions really start with you, says life coach Catherine Thorburn of Toronto.
"If we are shown these attributes by others, we will more than likely reciprocate with respect and kindness. Try reminding yourself of this whenever you begin to feel your blood pressure rising... it will not only make the other person feel better and respond better, it will make you feel better in the end too."
Get Up And Move
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No, this doesn't mean you need to join the latest fitness class or start a new workout routine — just start by stretching, walking away from your desk or going out for a stroll during lunch. For a monthly challenge, set an alarm to stand up and stretch at least once every hour during work.
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There is so much in life to be grateful for that we often take for granted. "If anyone has ever been wiped out by a bad cold or flu, we quickly realize how we take our health and our breathing for granted. Start paying attention to all the wonderful things we encounter every day," she says.
Thorburn recommends starting a journal and writing down five things every day you are grateful for.
"Soon you will begin to train your brain to seek out those things naturally."
Pay Yourself First
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Financial freedom is something many of us strive for our entire lives, and Thorburn says we should get into the habit of saving.
"If we get into the habit of always burying away a few dollars into our savings before spending any, we will over time accumulate enough money to feel like we have choices in life."
Pay It Forward
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We’ve probably all heard this term before, but how many of us have practiced it? "Last year I bought a few gift certificates and left them around for strangers to find them and use them. It was so much fun seeing their reactions," Thorburn says. Small acts of kindness aren’t going to change the world, but it can change a person’s day.
Learn Something New
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It is important to continue to grow your skill set and expand your mind, Thorburn says. "Set a resolution this year to learn something new. It could be as simple as a new word or a whole new language. Seek out opportunities to try new things."
Make New Friends
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You don't need to find a new group of best friends, but Thorburn says a new year is a good time to reevaluate your current list.
"People change over time and so do our relationships. Take inventory of your existing friends and see if they continue to serve you as a friend. If they don’t, it’s OK to let the relationship go," she says. Meanwhile, look out for new friends who may be in better alignment to who you are today.
Turn Off Those Screens
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"This one will be a challenge for many people. I’m only suggesting we spend less time watching television or replying to Twitter and Facebook, and more time actually experiencing life with our friends and family," she says.
Most of us are addicted to our phones, but it can be satisfying to go screen-free a few hours a day. Put your phone away during work hours, try reading before bed (instead of scrolling through Snapchat) and choose one day a week to not watch TV.
Don't Wait 'Till Spring To Declutter
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"Why am I holding onto stuff that I’ll never look at again? What is its purpose?" If you notice yourself asking these questions every time you open a closet or garage door, it's time to declutter.
"If you can’t see an immediate [purpose], chances are you should let it go and allow space for something new and more meaningful to come into your life."