Every year around this time, a large majority of people begin to prepare for their New Year’s Eve Festivities. For most of them, New Year’s Eve celebration involves a slightly different version of the same thing year after year, going out and making “questionable” decisions. While that may work for some, others may feel obligated for a variety of reasons, such as not knowing what other options are available. To assist in a unique New Year’s Eve experience, we have come up with a list of alternative activities to consider this year.

Crafts to Track Your New Year’s Resolution Progress

weight loss calendar

Every year people put on a hopeful face towards improving their life as the new year begins (whether they believe it or not is a different story). As I’m sure you have seen or been guilty of, allowing the idea of following through with a New Year’s Resolution fades, the hope disappears and business as usual resumes for many people. From my experience, many “resolutions” made upon the arrival of the new year are often either a standard cliché idea (“I’m going to focus on getting more money” or “I’m going to eat healthier”) or a “because my friends are doing it” forced rather than internally desired plan.

Whether you are selecting a resolution for yourself or to show solidarity with your friend(s), why not seriously consider following through? Writing something on a calendar might seem to be a good enough commitment, but is often easy to ignore or put off until it no longer seems plausible. Instead of a morning of facing the pain of the questionable decisions from the night before, preparing for and planning out how to accomplish your New Year’s Resolution goal can be a motivating and fun idea.

To begin, write down (or type) your resolution and your “plan of attack”. List what you will need to do or have to complete your task with specific details. This will help to highlight what you need to change if you aren’t moving towards your goal at your intended pace and prevent any internal compromise (ex. “I will lose 35lbs by summer, by eating only fruits and vegetables for 2 of my 3 meals a day”. Rather than “I will lose 35lbs by this summer.”). With the second example, it is my experience that people tend to be able to justify actions that are clearly negatively impacting progress when there are no defined steps to completion. Once you have a clear goal and the steps to achieve it transcribed, set milestones to track your progress. If you are intending to lose 35lbs by July, set a checkpoint in April to ensure you are halfway towards your goal. Set another checkpoint in February to see how well your plan is leading you towards success, you want to fine tune any issues in your plan before you get too far in and too discouraged to follow through by having “wasted time”. As an additional motivation tool and activity to pass the time on New Year’s Eve, craft reminders or checkpoint success markers to be displayed in your most frequented location(s). Create a calendar with a pocket for each date and represent the 35lbs with 7 popsicle sticks and as the days pass, move the sticks to the appropriate date pocket, taking away a stick for each 5lb mark you pass (and adding one for 5lbs added, if you happen to lose motivation). Find a way to show yourself physical progress no matter your resolution, seeing improvement physically is a great motivation tool and can help others that know of your goal know when to give you a push and when to congratulate progress (like it or not, everyone is dealing with their own life issues and my not notice your progress right away), just remember, you are doing this for a better you, your own approval is the most helpful when it is genuine rather than a compromise.

Highlight Necessary Improvements

Improvement list

Looking positively towards the new year’s potential for growth is always a great mentality to help progress. One thing often overlooked when adopting an optimistic outlook towards improving your situation is what went “wrong” in the past. While some issues can be attributed to not doing enough, some shortcomings can be solved by taking alternate actions rather than doing more. You could be exerting the same amount of effort to achieve success rather than failing by simply changing your actions instead of adding new steps.

Sticking with the weight loss goal, instead of just eating fruits and vegetables for two meals a day, take a look at what you did or ate to gain the weight in the first place and see if removing an action can help. If you pack your own lunch, instead of adding a dessert (or another fattening portion), remove it from your daily routine and you may need to only eat all fruits and vegetables for one meal a day rather than two.

Spend New Year’s Eve with those in your life that you know will be completely honest with you about you and review your past year in total, making a list of habits that can potentially hinder success. Once you both agree on the list being complete, go through and consider alternative actions to take that will help your success. Incorporate the updated choices into your new plan and then swap roles. When people are friends, they notice habits that you have that can be hurtful towards progress, they usually just try to keep from acknowledging them to spare feelings or see themselves having the same issues and do not want to seem hypocritical. If you have ever been in a serious friendship questioning argument with someone, you may see exactly how much they notice when insults begin to fly. Because of this, it is important to make it clear neither of you will take what the other notices personal and provide each other with examples of each behavior so the other person doesn’t feel the comment is out of spite. As you are the focus of the exchange, annotate each behavior that an example or two is provided for without question. Even if you are positive you only acted that way for those few examples and never did again, it is still something that can be helpful to be aware of, even if you never or rarely face that situation again. Taking an honest look at yourself is the only way to truly grow and getting an outside perspective, though it may seem like an attack in the beginning, can be very helpful to see thing you may not have noticed that you did.

Explore Something New or Uncommon

Mother and baby at Grand Canyon.

With the societal norm for celebrating New Year’s Eve centering around the “nightlife scene”, many of the natural and manmade monuments are left empty. While others are going to spend money they can’t afford to impress people they do not know in a place they don’t really like, you have the opportunity to see or do something you will enjoy, without the crowd of people doing it because it is there or they feel that they should.

Try primitive camping for the night and see how well you do living off of the land or visit a naturally existing attraction like the Grand Canyon. Look into doing the thing you have always wanted to but haven’t or haven’t done in awhile because of crowds and see if the holiday provides a window of opportunity.

If you are planning on eating healthier for the new year, practice preparing your new “menu”. One thing that can deter progress is boredom. Having to eat the same foods in the same way over and over for months can make it seem like the change in health is not worth the sacrifices you make. Find some recipes and stock up on your chosen health foods. Once you have what you need, prepare the dishes and make certain you enjoy them (and that they are as healthy after preparation as you thought). If you need to bread and fry vegetables in order to eat them, there may be other options that give you greater benefits while still taste good. Find food you can honestly say that you will enjoy or at least be ok with eating rather than hoping it is a taste you can acquire. Once you have a routine and fully adopt the “healthy mindset”, trying to eat your way into an acquired taste is easier, you don’t want to set yourself up to fail from the beginning by challenging your dedication unnecessarily.

Spend Time Getting to Know Loved Ones

Family Game Time

Whether they are your kids, spouse, parents, friends or extended family, if they are in your life, it is for a reason. Taking a trip or going out to do something may seem like the way to go, but can often be impersonal and a missed opportunity to bond. To avoid the overpriced admission fees of some of the possible activities you can experience on New Year’s Eve, though they can be somewhat memorable are usually less than a bonding experience and more of a quick fix. While it is fun to explore, if this vacation time is one of the few times you have free all year, it may be better spent as a night in playing games.

Playing competitive or cooperative games can let you see clearer, who a person actually is. Games can show you how people think and address obstacles, giving you perspective into creating a stronger relationship (or ending one before it drags out too long). Certain games can show how a person truly sees you and in the case of children can show how they actually see you and if you may need to find more time to spend with them. Making up your own “family edition” of a game like Pictionary or charades can allow you to see which of your traits your kids pick up on by how they physically or artistically represent a question having to do with you. Make sure the “questions” in the game are evenly aimed at each person to open up about the others, so no one feels like they are being interrogated causing communication to shut down or become a “what you want to hear” situation.

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