The end of the calendar year marks the time when people commit to resolutions that will hopefully improve their lives in the coming year.
We can work to make improvements in our lives all year long, of course. But there’s something about the fresh possibilities of a New Year that inspire us to make resolutions, set goals and start working towards them.
If you’re looking to make positive changes in 2016, there are myriad different ways to do so. But if you’re going to stick to your resolutions and achieve your goals, it’s important to choose the right ones. Here are a few of our favorite ways to improve yourself in the New Year:
Use Your Vacation Days and Travel More
It’s amazing to realize how many people let their vacation days gather dust each year while they gather more stress and frustration at work. This year, why not give yourself the vacation you deserve?
If you feel pressure to constantly work hard for the sake of your career, consider the benefits that travel can bring to our lives, both personally and professionally. Not only does travel give us a much-needed break from work. But it also reduces stress, opens our eyes to new cultures, creates memories we’ll never forget, and allows us to return to work feeling recharged and refocused.
If you work in a creative field, consider the inspiration that travel could offer! You won’t find all those new sights and sounds by sitting at a desk all day. If there’s a place you’ve always wanted to see, stop waiting and book that ticket for 2016!
Get Involved in Your Community
The issues facing our world these days can feel overwhelming at times. With so many terrible things happening around the globe, many of us feel frustrated and helpless.
Making changes in the world has to start somewhere. This year, consider starting small by helping out your local community. If you want to make a difference with a global issue such as climate change, begin with a neighborhood trash pick-up or start a community garden.
Getting involved in community projects allows us to have an immediate impact that helps us and our neighbors. Our lives are better when we see the impact of our hard work first-hard, and working hard to improve our own communities is a great way to do just that. It will also give you a chance to feel more connected to the place and the people that make your home so special.
Explore Your Hometown
We can’t always hop on a plane to go explore some country on the other side of the world. But that doesn’t mean we can’t explore!
Getting to know the places where we live is a great way to add some unexpected excitement to our lives. It’s easy to neglect the possibility for adventure that lies right outside your door. When we’re in a new place, we’re automatically more receptive to trying new things. But we can apply that frame of mind to our hometowns, too.
If you live in a big city, try getting lost in a neighborhood you’ve never explored or check out a restaurant you’ve never tried. Imagine what travelers would gravitate towards if they visited the place you call home. Check those places out, and try to see them through the eyes of a traveler. Even if you think you’ve seen it all, you’re virtually guaranteed to discover something new.
When you develop a better understanding of and appreciation for the beauty found in your own backyard, you’ll begin to approach other experiences with fresh, new eyes.
Donate to A Charity You’re Passionate About
There are so many great causes that can use our help, it can be difficult to pick just one. Do some research and find a cause that speaks to you personally. Donating to a charity that aligns with our own interests, ambitions and beliefs can make it more fulfilling to get (and stay) involved.
By donating to a organization you’re passionate about, you open up the door to help them again in the future. Once you’ve donated to a charitable organization and experienced the joy of giving, you’ll be more inclined to learn more about the cause and continue to do what you can to help them out.
We recently covered a bunch of great charities that could use your help this holiday season… or any time of the year. Find one that speaks to you and get involved in making the world a better place. You’ll find that, in doing so, you’re also improving your own life.
We could all use a little extra fresh air in our lives. Getting outside can be great for your physical and mental health.
Many of us spend significant portions of our lives looking at screens, whether it’s for work, personal use, or a combination of both. The great outdoors has a way of clearing our minds while activating our bodies.
Is there an outdoor activity you’ve been wanting to try? Treat yourself to a class, or buy the equipment you need to give it a go.
Getting outside allows us to actively experience the world, getting away from our connected devices and connect with nature instead. We can also connect closer with other people when we get outside. A skiing trip or a rock-climbing adventure can bring people closer together by allowing them to share in a new, exciting experience.
Volunteering is obviously what we’re all about here at Discover Corps. So we know first-hand how much it can improve your life.
Volunteering, whether abroad or at home, allows you to take an active role in making the world a better place. It brings people together to work towards a common goal, showing us the power of teamwork. And when we make the world a better place while making new friends in the process, our lives become better, too.
Volunteering is something that everyone can fit into their life in some capacity. You might want to use those vacation days to go on a volunteer vacation, or use volunteering in your community as a way to get outside on the weekends.
Volunteering can also improve our lives by encouraging us to work on general skills like leadership and teamwork, as well as more specific skills like gardening or teaching. If there’s a skill you want to improve upon, there’s probably a volunteer opportunity that will allow you to do so.
No matter which of these ways to improve yourself ultimately work best for you, we congratulate you for making the commitment and taking the steps towards positive change. Here’s to a healthy, happy New Year and an even better you in 2016! –Britany Robinson
BIO: Britany Robinson is a freelance travel and culture writer based in Portland, Oregon. Her works appears in BBC Travel, Mashable, Green Global Travel, and more. Her blog, Travel Write Away, shares advice and musings on travel writing. When she’s not planning her next big trip, she’s scoping out Portland craft beers and local hikes.