This is the time of year where we start seeing ads everywhere for gyms and other aids to help you “start the new year right.” Whatever you’d like to see in yourself in the new year, you do not need to spend the money on a costly gym membership or an online class. Here are 10 New Year’s resolutions you can start today for free:
- Take a 30-minute walk daily. Daily walks have been shown to be one of the best ways to keep your body and your mind active. And if you don’t think you can afford 30 minutes at a time, a couple of shorter walks a day can have the same benefits. When the weather is bad, find a place indoors to walk, like a local mall. Just be sure not to spend money at the mall on things you don’t need.
- Read more books. Reading can improve your life in many ways. It can be a good stress reliever, and it can help you learn a new skill or two. Your local library is a great place to get free books. Many libraries also offer free e-books so you do not have to even have to go to the library to get your books. Don’t have an e-reader? Some library e-book services, like Hoopla, include a free phone app so you can read your phone.
- Learn a new language. In addition to language learning resources at your library, there are free phone apps like Duolingo (remember those green owl memes?) to help you practice a new language on the go.
- End a bad habit. With support from your social circle and sheer willpower, you can stop habits that hurt your body and your pocketbook. If your willpower needs some help or you need another social circle, there are free accountability apps on your phone, and you can find a group online for just about everything to give you the support you need.
- Exercise more. Through YouTube videos and phone apps, you can find no-equipment exercise routines to add more movement to your everyday life, without the costly gym membership.
- More self-care. We have all been more stressed than usual lately. The same accountability app that you can use to end a bad habit can also be used to start a good habit, like making sure you take some “me time” every day. Even just 10 minutes to meditate or just breathe can help you in the stress of the rest of your day.
- Learn coding. Ever wanted to learn computer coding? There are a number of free apps and online programs to learn. Some even provide certificates so you can show your progress.
- Keep a journal or note things that you are grateful for. Using an app or some paper you have lying around, write a little each day either about your day or listing things you are grateful for. It will boost your mental health, and it’s free.
- Do a random act of kindness every day. Using a free accountability app, plan on doing something kind every day. It can be something as small as giving someone a compliment, and it will help you feel so much better, as well as make the world a slightly kinder place.
- Unplug one day a week. Put it on your calendar. Likely, the world is not going to burn down if you don’t answer your email or check your social media for a whole 24-hour period. It costs nothing, and it gives you a full day to just relax or deal with the physical world around you.
Resist the deluge of ads that come to us this time of year promising, “a new year, a new you!” You can make this year something special just by making small changes that don’t cost a thing. Happy New Year!
By Bethanie Ryan