Alternative New Year's resolutions

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From the Babylonians to the Romans, people all around the world have been making New Year’s resolutions for thousands of years. Today, New Year’s resolutions often focus on what people want to stop, lose, or give up. At the Scouts, we wanted to think of some more positive, alternative resolutions; ways we can take care of ourselves, help our communities, and become the best that we can be. 

Look for the positives

When we’re stressed, busy, or worried, it can be difficult to find the positives in a situation – and it might seem difficult to find many good things to be thankful for. For many of us, choosing to take the time to recognise things we’re grateful for can help us to feel a lot better. This can be particularly comforting when we see people displaying what they have on social media; just because they have something, doesn’t mean we have nothing.

It’s up to you how you do this - some people like to write what they’re grateful for down in a journal, while others share them with a friend. The key is to deliberately notice good things, however big or small. 

It won’t fix anything overnight, but taking the time to be thankful for a friend’s kind action, a day of good weather, or a meal someone’s made for you can boost your mood and help you remember to say thank you to the important people in your life.

Cook new foods

Using a brand new ingredient or trying a recipe you haven’t made before is always exciting. It’s also an important life skill to be able to make a range of healthy, tasty foods. 

By trying new things throughout the year, you’ll find out more about your tastes and develop your skills – and trying out this resolution could even help you to earn your Cook or Chef Activity Badge. 

Why not share your creation with friends or family – maybe you could each make a dish to bring and enjoy together?

Start a helpful habit 

As Scouts, we all understand the importance of being helpful, but how many of us can say that we have helpful habits? The new year is a great time to pick one specific action to turn into a habit – something you can be relied on to do regularly, perhaps without even thinking about it.  

Good helpful habits to adopt could include doing the washing up, sweeping a neighbour’s drive, or supporting a sibling with their homework.  Whatever you choose, making the effort to make it part of your normal routine is a great way to get your new year (and the new year of those you’re helping) off to a strong start.

Enjoy a new story

Whether you’re a book lover, a movie buff, or a comics fan, stories are a great way to learn more about the world around us. It can be tempting to stick to stories that we know, but exploring new ones helps us to develop empathy, improve our imagination, and relax.

You could ask a friend or family member about their favourite stories, or pick an author, director, or artist with a different background to you. However you find and enjoy them, diverse stories are guaranteed to help you understand more about other people and yourself.

Make a new friend (or reconnect with an old one)

Despite technology making it easier than ever before for us to send a quick text, GIF, or sticker to a friend, the UK is experiencing a loneliness epidemic. Thankfully, a few simple actions can make all the difference when it comes to solving the problem of loneliness. 

Spending time face-to-face helps us feel more connected, but some people find it harder than others to get out and spend time with others. If there’s anyone you know who might be lonely (like an older neighbour or an unwell friend), you could ask if they’d like you to visit for a cup of tea and a chat. 

Sometimes it’s distance that makes people feel lonely – especially if they’ve recently moved home or live far away from their friends and family. Picking up the telephone, or sending a note through the post, could really brighten someone’s day.

Have an adventure beyond your comfort zone

The new year is a great time to commit to challenging yourself by having a new adventure, or trying again at something you haven’t quite managed before. 

From geocaching to coding to speaking to someone new, there are plenty of ways we can challenge ourselves and achieve more. With the whole of 2019 in front of us, now is a great time to decide to take the plunge.

It can be daunting to take on a challenge, so prepare some strategies to support you on the way, and ask friends to lend encouragement or even join you on your challenge.

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