"New Year, new me" is always the motto when the new year arrives. Gym memberships, juice cleanses, fitness classes all start up again because this year will be different. The weight will shed off and stay off, right? Every year my New Years resolution revolves around my body and losing weight, but this year I decided to challenge myself and make a resolution that goes beyond my appearance. As social media becomes mores present, our body image is constantly on the spotlight. What happened to #YOLO? Life is more than what we look like and our New Year resolutions should reflect that. 

1. Go Outside More

Get lost in nature. Why not take advantage of climate change or recognize it's real by stepping outside and exploring the great outdoors. Make your New Years resolution about spending more time using the world as your playground. Go for a hike, jump in the ocean, surf, mountain bike, explore a tide pool, watch the sunset, garden, or have a picnic. No matter what activity you choose, look around you and inhale the beautiful life around you. 

I always think it's incredible how life goes on even when my world feels like it's tumbling down. The birds will still chirp, the bees will still pollinate, the trees will still grow, the flowers will still bloom, and nature will still perform the greatest symphony of all, but it's up to us to listen and appreciate it. 

2. Spend More Time with Loved Ones

We all live busy lives, juggling 400 things at once, but make time for the ones you love. The experiences I create with my loved ones are the memories I'll bring to my grave. Loved ones can look like your family, friends, pets, neighbors, teachers, and so on, but despite who you consider your family, we all agree how important they are. Express your gratitude to them and share how much they mean to you because you never know when the last time you'll see them. More quality time spent with the ones you cherish should be a lifetime New Years resolution because life would be pretty lonely without your people. 

3. Complete a Competition

Petrina Pinto

Sign up for a marathon or a triathlon as your New Years resolution. Make it your goal to train and then compete in the race. The competition could be a 5k, a chili cook off, a tennis match, or a chess tournament, but either way, challenge yourself to commit and accomplish. One of my favorite feelings is to work towards a goal and completing the task. Preparing yourself to get better and seeing the results is so fulfilling.

This year, I signed up for my first marathon in Big Sur, CA. I cannot wait to see what my body is capable of and see my physical and mental strength progress. The farthest I've ever ran is 13 miles, so I am determined to finish the entire 26.3 miles. My goal is simply to cross the finish line and enjoy the experience. One of my favorite feelings in to work towards a goal and completing the task. 

4. Meet New Friends

In the era where we have more followers and Snapchat friends than actual real friends, I propose meeting new people as a New Years resolution. Instead of staring at a screen in a coffee shop or at a gathering, talk to the person next to you. You never know, the person sitting next to you at the library may be your future best friend, boss, soulmate, or person you shared a lovely conversation with. People want to get to know people. In fact, we all fear rejection and hope someone will initiate the conversation, so take it upon yourself to put yourself out there and meet new people.  


5. Learn a New Trade or Skill

Ever want to learn how to play the guitar or how to cook? Why not make learning a new trade or skill this year's New Years resolution. There is no better time, than now to start making those "I wishes" into reality. Discovering new past times may lead you to your passion or next business idea. Learning new trades or skills allows us to grow and expand our interests. Through these new passions we explore our capabilities.  

6. Travel

Make this New Years resolution about traveling. Choose a destination either far or near and plan a trip. Traveling is one of the greatest pleasures of life and why not take advantage of life and experience new places, cultures, people, and scenery. The world is filled with an abundance of incredible and beautiful sights--why not see them all? Don't allow money to deter you from exploring the world. Save or start small because traveling doesn't have to be expensive. There are several ways to make your dream destination affordable. 

7. Learn a New Language

Il mio amore, learn the language of love and pasta. It's never too late to pick up a new language and open the door to more connections and opportunities. Once you learn one new language it makes it easier to learn another language. All it takes is a first try. Throw yourself into the language and culture and don't be afraid of being bad. The more practice and conversations you have the less foreign the language becomes. Being bilingual gives you an advantage while you travel or apply to jobs. Enroll in a Spanish class, watch Italian sitcoms, or befriend a person who speaks another language. Everyone knows speaking another language is sexy and fun. 

8. Volunteer 

Spending your time helping others as your New Years resolution won't just make a difference for those your assisting, but will benefit you too. We all form communities within our families, schools, and hometowns. These communities give us so much support and love, so there's nothing better than returning the favor. Even if you can't donate money or food, your time is always appreciated. Volunteering your time to those in need or just a neighbor is a selfless act. Join an organization and be part of something bigger than you

9. Practice Self-Love

Rupir Kaur wrote in her book of poems, "We are all born so beautiful, the greatest tragedy is being convinced we are not." Society, social media, and others have convoluted what we define as beautiful, making us all believe we need to change ourselves. However, in reality we are perfectly imperfect, which makes this world a beautiful place filled with different walks of life. Based on my understanding, self-love is any action that will fulfill and satisfy your intuitive need. This will look different for everyone at different times. Self-love could look like swimming in the ocean, reading a book, going for a run, eating a cupcake, having sex, doing nothing, meeting a new person, dancing, or crying. Choosing an action that aligns with you in that moment is self-love. Invest time in yourself and become the best version of you. 

10. Choose Happiness

There's already enough negativity in this world, so start contributing the positivity. Decide to see the light in dark situations and express your gratitude. Your New Years resolution can be as simple as choosing happiness. We may not be in control of every situation, but we do decide how we act and react. Make sure your actions and reactions raise yourself and others up. Choose happiness, spread happiness.

New Years resolutions go beyond these 10 suggested ideas. Life is more than your appearance. It's okay to want to lose weight and make that a resolution, but do it for you and know you are enough as you are. When you focus on activities beyond your size, your body will adjust to the happiness inside. Recognize what you value and align them with your actions. Choose resolutions that help you grow and explore yourself as an individual. 

Stop waiting for the right time and start living in the present and making your dreams a reality. New Years resolutions are for a fresh start to new beginnings, but you don't have to wait for tomorrow, Monday, or New Years to make a change or addition to your life. Cheers to the New Year! May 2018 be filled with joy, love, laughter, and yummy food.