10 New Year’s Resolutions that actually make a difference in 2020

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If you’re tired of making New Year’s resolutions that seem hollow and pointless, you’re not alone. Every year, thousands of people ring in the New Year resolute to make changes in their lives that often don’t materialize, or worse, don’t matter. It’s easy to say you will do this or that, but when it comes down to following through, it’s not always so easy. Making a New Year’s resolutions is a personal decision that takes a little bit of planning and insight, not something you want to be making up as you go with a glass of wine in your hand during the countdown to midnight.

If you’re looking for a 2020 New Year’s resolution idea, here are twenty of our top thoughts to get you thinking:

1: Think about other people

In such a self-absorbed selfish world, it’s easy to lose perspective and context. One of the most important things in the world is other people. We’re social creatures, and human interaction is just as important to our well being as the food we eat and the water we drink, yet often we find it easy to focus on our own well being while neglecting others around us. This New Year’s, consider taking the time to think more about other people. Ironically, doing so is one of the best things you can do for yourself. 

2: Give more money to strangers

This may sound like a lame idea at first but hear us out. Maybe you get asked for money all the time from those that are less fortunate, like the elderly person asking for change outside the coffee shop or the busker making a few extra bucks outside the liquor store, and it’s true you can’t give away everything to everyone, but if you’re like most of us, getting asked for spare change from someone isn’t something that happens on a daily basis. It’s easy to say no, to walk by, or otherwise justify not giving money to a stranger, especially if you think the money may be spent on things other than necessities of life. If you take a little longer, however, to ponder the idea, you’ll quickly realize that asking strangers for spare change isn’t something most people would choose to do unless they had few other options. If you were down and out asking for money from strangers, how good would you feel if others actually helped you and how low would you feel if people simply walked on by? Give other’s the benefit of the doubt more often than you do. Not only will you be making a meaningful difference in the lives of others, but you will also be benefiting yourself in more ways than you could ever imagine. 

3: Spend more time doing nothing

We’re really great at filling up all our free time thinking this will make us more productive and happy, but nothing could be further from the truth. Most of the greatest ideas, concepts, and inventions in human history were discovered by people at times of contemplation, like when an apple fell on Newton’s head or when Einstein had an epiphany while eating a sandwich. Make space and create a buffer. You will be surprised at what happens when you do.

4: Meditate

We’re not talking about spending all your life doing so, but not spending any time meditating puts you at a great disadvantage over others that take a few minutes each day to recalibrate their minds. The most complex thing we know of in the universe is the human brain, and each of us has one. Take the time to get familiar with meditation and practice it daily. It’s one of the best things you can do for yourself and others., 

5: If you don’t already do so, have a meat-free day every week

We’re not talking about not eating, and we’re not saying eating meat is wrong. Rather, we’re suggesting you explore outside of your comfort zone and experience something new. Our North American culture is meat-heavy but some of the tastiest foods out there are also vegetarian. India, for example, has over 2 billion people who live a meat-free lifestyle, and their cooking is renowned for being healthy and tasty. Aside from giving yourself an opportunity to discover something new, going meat-free one day a week also lowers your carbon footprint and comes with health benefits like lowering your risk of cancer.

6: Take a short fast, even for a day

Believe it or not, we’re not meant to be constantly processing food. Our bodies prioritize processing food over many other bodily functions only because food used to be in short supply, but with most people having easy access to food on a daily basis, our bodies are in a constant state of processing food, never getting a chance to take a break from digestion to do other things like cellular repair and regeneration. By taking a fast, you give your body a chance to do other things that it may need to do but has put off for a long time. Take a break from eating for a day and discover the magic healing that your body can do all on its own when it’s not inundating with having to break down food on a constant basis. 

7: Explore ketogenic eating and see if trialling a ketogenic diet is something that might be good for you

When we eat sugars and carbohydrates, our bodies process energy by burning carbohydrates. If you have lived the traditional North American lifestyle, this has been the primary state your body has operated in since the day you were born. There is, however, another state of metabolism your body can switch to. People who eat diets rich in fats and protein but low in carbohydrates (or people who are in a state of fasting) switch automatically to a new type of metabolism that processes fats instead of carbohydrates for energy. Although it takes two or three days of carbohydrate restriction to get into this state, the results can be quite positive. Although the research is still ongoing and not everyone agrees, studies have shown that switching into a state of ketosis by eating a ketogenic diet can have positive health benefits. Some parents with epileptic children clam a ketogenic diet has helped their children avoid seizures. Others have found it to help with autism, depression, cancer, and a myriad of other health conditions. Obviously, consult your doctor and ensure you’re healthy enough to make a diet change like this before embarking on the journey, but at the very least educate yourself on what a ketogenic diet is and how it can be positive for you. 

8: Experience a culture you know nothing about

This may be going to a country you’ve never visited before, eating lunch on Sunday at a Sikh Temple, or getting involved with a cultural group in your area. Most of us hang out with people who are more like us than different. Our peers, colleagues, and social circles are often filled with like-minded people who often think and act like us. While this is normal and ok, realize there are other ideas and concepts out there that are drastically different than our own. By keeping an open mind and exploring what others think and believe, we may end up questioning things we otherwise took at face value, and that is never a bad thing.

9: Practice random acts of kindness on a regular basis

If you think back, you may be able to think of a time when a total stranger did something nice for you that you did not ask for, was not required, and was totally unexpected. How did it make you feel when this happened? Good right? Pass it on and do the same for someone else. You will be shocked to discover that the primary beneficiary of your random act of kindness is you.

10: Practice having days when you spend nothing

We know that money can mean the difference between life and death, but in the same breath, we also can say that money is meaningless. Because we are so caught up in the global economic engine and chancing the almighty dollar, it’s good to take a break frequently from the rat race to purposefully spend no money for a day or two. Experience what this is like, share in the experience with family or friends, and discover what lies beyond our culture of buying and selling. 

Please take these ideas with a grain of salt, a dash of humour, and a light heart. When it comes to health and diet advice, always be sure to check with your doctor to ensure you’re making a good decision for your personal health before committing to things like fasting and diet changes. We just want you to be happy this 2020, to think outside the box, and to experience new things that truly make a difference to your life and the lives of others. 

Have you made any of these changes in your life or do you have an idea or concept you would like to share? Post in the comments below. We want to hear from you.

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Whale House Guest House offers luxury boutique private suites with outdoor hot tubs overlooking humpback whale feeding grounds. Located next to the east coast trail in the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, just 30 min from downtown St. John’s.

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