Ten ways to complete New Years resolutions

We’ve all seen the magazines, the motivational posters on Pinterest and the emails from various gyms, claiming that with the new year can come a new person. It seems that everyone these days wants to lose ten pounds, exercise more or get super-organized.

However, come February, resolutions are usually shattered, along with any hopes of revising them until next year. That chocolate cake is just too delicious to pass up at lunch and watching “Skins” on Netflix instead of working out is just so much easier.

This year, though, can be the year of change. By taking baby steps and creating realistic goals, anyone can make a difference within themselves that will have positive effects on their overall lifestyle. Here are some tips on how to create a mantra and stick to it until 2015 rolls around.

1. Lose Weight- One of the most common resolutions set by Americans, but also the one that usually ends up broken by the Super Bowl party full of chips and wings. Instead of fretting over one bad meal decision or cutting back on calories dramatically, start small. By eliminating one can of soda per day or choosing a salad instead of a burger at lunch, the desire to shed pounds will become easier as you start to see more ways to realistically stick to this goal. For more dramatic results, try counting calories with an app like “MyFitnessPal” and purge your pantry of any processed foods that could lead to a bad calorie choice. Of course, exercising and sleeping more foster further success.

2. Getting Organized- Instead of relying on your twitter feed or mother for remembering your schedule, try using a planner, a calendar or a desk to keep things in order. Smart phones are great resources for keeping organized these days, from iPhone calendars to task lists that can be seen with a click of a button. Also, it might help if you declutter your room and locker so everything needed for the day can be found easily.

3. Spend Less, Save More- Just because your friends all got the new Hunter boots for Christmas doesn’t mean you have to waste your month’s paycheck on something you might not even wear next year. Before making a major purchase, consider this: “Will I regret this when I need a meal in college three years from now?” If you think you will, maybe rethink spending your change on something so insignificant.

4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest- Always stressed? Spend just five minutes of everyday meditating to get back to your inner “chi.” Find new passions that could help you realize more goals and dreams, like creating clay sculptures, reading biographies or doing yoga. Whenever something bad happens at school or with your family, focus on the positives of the event instead of the negatives. Also, try to avoid fearing the future and instead look forward to change and new opportunities.

5. Staying Fit and Healthy- Just as the doctor says, exercise and eating healthy will help you fulfill this goal. Getting active for just 30 minutes every day can help you become stronger, faster and happier. In order to be classified as “fit,” you don’t have to be stick thin. However, the more you work towards this goal, the better the results you’ll see. Encourage the rest of your family and friends to take part in this goal to make it easier on you as well. But living healthy doesn’t have to be a chore: you could go sledding for a few hours and make healthy muffins instead of cupcakes. You don’t have to log monotonous miles on the treadmill or eat fermented vegetables with spelt at every meal. You can have just as much fun and get the same results as running a few monotonous miles on the treadmill or eating salads and fermented fruits for every meal.

6. Learn Something Exciting- The school and public library are both teeming with books that can help satiate your learning pleasures. From the Black Plague epidemic in the Middle Ages to Steve Jobs’ career, there are plenty of new subjects to learn about and are super easy to research. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find your next big obsession through a little wisdom found in new places.

7. Volunteer- Every single year, you vow you will help more people out in the community. But then, other events come up in your life seem so much more important, such as surfing the Internet for “Man Candy” or going out for milkshakes with your best friends. When you have the free time and are considering spending money or effort on smaller things, think about all the other groups that are less fortunate than you. The local United Way chapter, as well as clubs like Key Club and FYI are always doing service projects that are available to anyone willing to help. By contributing to society more, you’ll notice that you feel more thankful of your surroundings, and people will respect your service. All you need to do is sign up and start!

8. Take More Risks (i.e. travel more, try new foods, etc.)- Have you been dying to ask out that girl for a few years? Are you always afraid to go to summer camp? This year, you can become a bigger risk taker. The best way to start is small: create a list of tasks you want to do that are continually harder to accomplish, almost like a bucket list. Once you can check off the easier tasks, like eating a California sushi roll or going to your first basketball game, you’ll see that taking risks can yield rewards that are exciting and worth the change. You may not become a daredevil by creating this resolution, but you will definitely find life more interesting and different by taking a chance.

9. Fall in Love- Unfortunately, this resolution requires something to fall in love with, but it doesn’t have to be a person. Maybe you can fall in love with a new hobby, a sports team or even your future college. Look at things in your life that you really enjoy and consider spending more time and effort in those opportunities. And if finding that special someone is your main priority, just remember to keep your options open. In February, the school provides a “Matchmaker” compatibility test that students are welcomed to take. Who knows? Maybe one of those matches will be your next date. Always keep an open mind and love will find its way in.

10. Spend More Time with Family- We all have those moments when the only thing that sounds appealing is locking yourself in your room with Alt-J and Hulu, but your family provides great interactions that can help you develop as a person as well. The next time your mom is preparing a dinner party, ask if you can help. Or, instead of visiting friends on every weekend night, suggest a family game night where you could play competitive Monopoly or poker. A little family bonding and group collaboration will help you grow socially in and out of your family. Plus, once you are out of the  house, you will appreciate the extra time you spent with them when you were still around.