17 Ways to Make 2017 Your Best Year Ever
We’ll just guess, but if you’re anything like 92 percent of Americans, you didn’t complete your New Year’s Resolutions last year. You probably don’t even remember them. And now here we are, staring at another new year.
But each year brings the opportunity for a new start—another chance to form good habits, invest in relationships and take the next step at work. And thankfully, there’s more you can do than just say, “This time is going to be different” over and over. Here are 17 surefire ways you can make 2017 your best year yet (the resolutions are up to you).
1. Plan a trip overseas on a budget.
You know you want to ‘gram some exotic adventures. But who can afford it? Actually there are some things you can do to cut costs. Sites like WWOOF.net and Couchsurfing.com make traveling abroad on a budget easy if you’re into alternative lodging. But if sleeping on a stranger’s couch in Berlin isn’t your thing, you can sign up for a newsletter at scottscheapflights.com that gives you the cheapest international flight of the day, like a $400 roundtrip to Rome. Ciao, America.
2. Use tech to get healthy.
Studies show people don’t reach their health goals because they don’t track their progress. From Fitbit to Apple Watch to Garmin, there’s no shortage of tech to track everything from the quality of your sleep, heart rate and physical activity. Amazon offers a selection from $20 to $200.
3. Become an expert (in something you don’t know).
Sites like Lynda, Coursera and Udacity help you learn something new without ever leaving your couch. Whether it’s app development, data analysis or a new language, there’s no shortage of courses to meet your interests.
4. Cross sky-diving off your bucket list.
Personal risk-taking increases emotional intelligence and builds connections. Run a marathon, sky-dive, get a diving certification or participate in your local polar plunge. What are you going to do in 2017 that you’ve never done?
5. Become a morning person.
Waking up early improves your quality of sleep (somehow). Some of the most successful people wake up before the rest of the world, and many creatives swear they’re most productive in the morning, from Stephen King to Haruki Murakami.
6. Join a clique (like, the good kind).
Your friends aren’t into playing ultimate frisbee or discussing politics? These days, you can easily search on Facebook for a group to join in your area or create a Meetup.com account and get involved in volunteering, a coed sports team or even a Pokemon Go league. It’s true, they exist.
7. Manage your $ like an adult.
Really, cash in paper envelopes? Now there are tons of 21st-century options for handling your cash. Acorns is an automated investment app that helps you save and invests your leftover change. Mint.com also connects to your account to do all your budget tracking for you.
8. Start using Yelp to discover new restaurants.
Foodie or not, it’s time to break out of your Chili’s habit. Finding local restaurants is a great way to invest in your community and support small business owners. Plus, with Yelp’s bookmarking system you can make a note of restaurants you want to check out.
9. Start a dinner club.
Eating with other people promotes good health and community. Seriously, it’s science. And we all know it’s probably time to learn that cooking means more than opening the oven to put your frozen meal in.
Apps like BigOven let you save recipes, keep track of your grocery list and even plan your menu for the week. With 350,000 recipes to try, you don’t have any excuses.
10. Set a generosity goal.
Remember that budgeting app we mentioned? Add “giving” to your budget planning. Whether it’s finally giving 10 percent to your church, supporting a cause you care about or buying groceries to donate to your local food shelter once a month, it’s time.
11. Create a rhythm of self-care.
Set aside a night out of the week to do something that restores you like going for a walk, treating yourself to a good meal or decluttering your desk.
Self-care is any intentional act that takes care of your physical, mental or emotional health. And when we’re stressed, it’s usually the first thing to go from our schedules. Getting into a rhythm helps keep you balanced.
12. Become a mentor to kids in your community.
25 percent of kids in the U.S. are raised in single-parent homes. Organizations like The Mentoring Project or Big Brothers Big Sisters let you make a difference in their lives. By volunteering an hour of your week, you don’t realize the difference you’re making in someone else’s life.
13. Sign up for the Book of the Month Club.
Seriously, spend time reading more than some BuzzFeed quiz results this year. With all the content out there, it’s hard to keep track of new books and authors you should read. Let a Book of the Month subscription do all the work for you. For $10 a month, you can choose a new book each month based on your interests. (Plus, you’ll look so smart.)
14. Read the whole Bible.
Ok, this one’s obvious, but when’s the last time you were consistent about it? We’re not talking about legalism here, but you’ve got to read it if you believe it. Reading four chapters a day gets you through the Word in a year. But honestly, your pastor will be happy if you just crack it open once a day.
15. Buy a Nest thermostat.
Trust us. On average, RELEVANT staffers who own a Nest saved over $200 a month in their power bills. Thermostats like Nest efficiently regulate the temperature in your home and turn off when no one’s home. It saves energy and all your money.
16. Create a personal mission for the year.
You know the verse —“without vision, my people fail.” It’s true for our individual lives, too. So this year, write down your big goal and use resources like Michael Hyatt’s Living Forward to break your goal into steps and make them, you know, actually happen.
17. Answer your own really deep questions.
Have you been wondering what the Bible teaches about an issue? This is the year figure it out. With the Logos and Accordance Bible software, it’s become easier than ever to take a deep dive in Scripture. Not only do these programs include Bible search tools, they also include just about any commentary or reference tool ever published.
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