It felt like January would never end but it’s finally drawing to a close and on Friday it will be February. Soon, there will be more light in the sky and green buds appearing everywhere. It’s a new beginning, and there is still time for new year’s resolutions. The resolutions you made in the final days of December might be cracked and broken but you can still make fresh, bright new ones! Resolutions that aren’t about punishing yourself for the excesses of Christmas. Resolutions that don’t involve giving things up.
Here are six resolutions that are designed to add something to your life and make it better. They are all a bit earnest and do-gooder-y but they are definitely better than a juice cleanse.
1. Give blood
If you’re feeling bad about the resolutions you’ve already broken and want a win, this is a really easy resolution to keep. Giving blood costs nothing and because you have to wait three months between donations, the most you can donate is four times a year. You could literally save someone’s life so you get to feel really good about yourself. I’ve written before about all the reasons I give blood. Not everybody can, so if you are eligible I think it’s an important thing to do.
2. Reduce the amount of meat you eat
All the science says that most of us need to cut down on the amount of meat we eat and add more plant-based food to our diet. It’s better for our health and the health of the planet. Climate change is not inevitable, we still have a chance to turn things around if we really make an effort now. Cutting down on the amount of meat produced and consumed is something that will make a huge difference. From the Project Drawdown – “According to a 2016 study, business-as-usual emissions could be reduced by as much as 70 percent through adopting a vegan diet and 63 percent for a vegetarian diet, which includes cheese, milk, and eggs.”
Reducing is a bit too vague for a resolution because it has no clear aim. Make a clear resolution that’s doable for you. Maybe that’s having one meat-free day a week, or only eating meat at the weekends, or going meat-free for a month.
3. Join a club. Or set one up.
It’s important to step away from our screens sometimes and talk to people in real life. It’s good for your brain and your body. (Seriously – socialising has been found to boost your immune system!) Clubs are a handy way to do that because they let you meet new people who are interested in the same things as you are. Or if you feel like you have enough people but don’t see them enough, just set up a club with your friends. I can recommend an ABC Dining Club. It magically makes it much easier to organise dinner with friends, maybe because it comes with an inbuilt challenge and everyone loves a challenge. It’s also a good way to get to know someone new. Invite someone to join your dining club sounds less strange than inviting them to have dinner with you and your friends. It’s also good for people who dread the thought of socialising in big groups. It’s doesn’t have to be going out to dinner. You could set up a Pot Luck club, or a book club or a film club, just something that involves a bit of a challenge that lets you hang out with people you like on a regular basis.
4. Pay for some journalism
There are a lot of terrible things happening in the world right now. The world is full of scary, depressing news stories and it can be tempting to step away and pretend it’s not happening. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean the terribleness stops happening go. We need news and journalists and people who will devote time to looking at terrible situations and relaying them to us in a way that makes sense. This doesn’t mean you have to drown yourself in 24 hour news and always know about every disaster that’s happening everywhere in the world. It’s not possible and it’s not good for you. You don’t even need to know everything that’s going on with Brexit, but somebody needs to.
We need good journalism to try and keep the terribleness at bay, and maybe even knowing more about the terribleness can help. The internet has made everything free and that’s dangerous because investigating things takes times and money. Paying for some journalism will help to keep this necessary thing alive. This might mean subscribing to a newspaper or donating money. It might just mean buying a newspaper or magazine every now and again. Maybe you’d prefer to support arts journalists and subscribe to The Stage. It all helps keep people writing.
5. Pay for some art
If journalist points the spotlight at the terrible things happening in the world, art tries to help us make sense of it. It helps us imagine other worlds so that change doesn’t seem too impossible. Again, the internet is making everything free and it’s having a negative effect on those who make art for a living. If you can afford it, give some money to an artist or pay for some art. This might be contributing to someones Ko-Fi or Patreon, it could be buying a hardback book from an independent bookshop, it could be buying original art from somewhere like the Jam Factory or even going to the museum and dropping a few coins in to the donation bucket. Now – you are a supporter of the arts!
6. Learn something new
Life-long learning is good for you. If you’re finding the long, dark evenings a bit dull, evening classes can really help break up the tedium. I’d recommend picking something fun so it’s learning for the sake of learning.
The People’s College on Parnell Square does a wide range of odd and interesting courses for a very reasonable price. I think their language classes are really good value. This term they also have classes in Europe and Current Affairs, Astronomy, Dublin History and Self-Defence. The English Literature Appreciation course is focusing on Canadian writers this term. If none of that interests you, maybe have a look at the classes run in Dance Ireland on Foley Street. They have a wide selection from burlesque to break-dancing.