Rethink your New Year’s resolutions for a happier life

Jan 9, 2019


It’s hard to enter the new year without making at least one resolution. New Year’s resolutions are a tradition that almost half of us practice every January.  

And what do we usually resolve? To lose weight, exercise more and spend less. In other words, we resolve to deny ourselves. So is it any wonder that come February, most of us are viewing our resolutions in the rearview mirror? 

Maybe it’s time to come up with some resolutions that we know will stick. Here are four resolutions that encourage happiness—and that you’re more likely to achieve. 

Reconnect with loved ones 

Are there some people—family or friends—whom you haven’t talked to in a while?  

Give them a call. Or, even better, write them a letter. Not an email or a text, but a personal, one-to-one letter. We may be able to send pictures around the world with a click of a button, but there’s something exciting and heartfelt about getting a letter in the mail. 

Here’s a resolution that’s a little harder but may prove even richer: Forgive someone from whom you’ve disconnected.  

Did you know that forgiveness is actually healthy? According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, forgiveness can lower your blood pressure, ease stress and give your immune system a boost. It can also reduce depression and anxiety, according to Mental Health America. 

And try to remember that forgiving someone doesn’t mean you’re condoning whatever they did. You’re just putting a period at the end of your anger and moving forward. 

Nurture your spirituality 

You can find spirituality in God and religion. But you can also find it in unexpected places, like in nature or in art. According to Mental Health America, tapping into your spirituality can improve your mood and reduce anxiety and depression.  

It can also provide: 

  • A reassuring belief in a higher power. 
  • A sense of purpose and meaning. 
  • A connection to and understanding of the lives of others. 
  • A reminder of the good in the world. 

You could start by resolving to go to church twice a month, and build up to attending weekly. Or you could engage with the spirituality of nature by taking a hike through a forest once a month. Whatever you do, set a practical schedule that you can follow. 

Take a class 

Have you ever wanted to learn how to make pottery? Or how about repairing old cars? Taking a class to learn a new skill is an excellent resolution—one that challenges your brain and can introduce you to new friends you would not have met otherwise.  

If you live in a place with a community college, pick up a class schedule and pore through it. Find a class you’d enjoy and enroll in it. Your interest in the subject and the course’s set schedule will make it easy for you to fulfill this resolution.  


Volunteering is another resolution that feeds your heart. That’s because it’s all about helping. It helps the cause—whether you’re cooking meals once a month for homeless people or walking dogs every other week at the Humane Society.  

And it helps your mental health. Volunteering can help you: 

  • Lower stress levels. 
  • Fight off depression. 
  • Stay mentally stimulated. 
  • Find a sense of purpose. 

Volunteering also connects you with your community. It can also be a great way to meet other people who care about the causes that are near to your heart.  

To take the first step toward volunteering, pick a single cause that you care about and resolve to contact the organizers expressing interest. From there you can decide how much time you have in your schedule to donate. 

Whatever you resolve to do, remember to keep it small at the start and plan for obstacles. The more planning you devote to your resolutions, the more likely you are to succeed in 2019.