New things for a new year

Making a decision or setting a goal at the beginning of a new year might as well be making a New Year’s resolution – and a successful one! Every year, as regular as clockwork, most people think of what they want to change in the new year, or of the type of people they want to be. Even those who deliberately do not make New Year’s resolutions think about the possible course the year might take and how they can tackle potential challenges. The problem is that New Year’s resolutions rarely last and succeed. By March, when the bright new year has faded, they are forgotten. This trend is so widespread that psychological studies are being done about it.

Although the success rate of New Year’s resolutions does not seem too good, it is necessary to set some goals for yourself to grow in the new year. Perhaps the key to success is a different approach to your goals. Think small but out of the box.

Here are a few tips to make your New Year’s resolutions succeed:

Eins, zwei, drei – a new year, a new language

As Chanté Kelder-Jansen van Rensburg wrote, learning a new language is an adventure and it can open up a new world for you. If you recently moved to another country, it may make your new world more accessible. If you long to travel to an exotic country but do not have enough leave, learning a new language can even make your everyday world more exciting.

Learning a new language doesn’t have to be demanding – combine it with everyday activities you enjoy. If you enjoy drinking a beer after the clock-out time and having a few snacks before dinner, learn which Spanish “cervezas” and “tapas” you will enjoy most on your visit to Madrid. Replace your favourite soapie with a programme in the language you want to learn. Netflix has a collection of programmes in languages from all over the world – test your knowledge and turn off the captions!

Use what you are good at to help you improve something else.

Online purchases – an evil or a blessing?

If you want to manage your money better in the new year, online purchases can either help or hinder you. Most online stores offer great promotions when you shop for the first time and follow up with even more offers. If these offers are so tempting that you only buy because it’s on promotion and not because you need it, it might be time to remove that favourite app. On the other hand, online promotions can also help you save money by staying out of stores. Online purchases immediately indicate the total, unlike the cashier who shocks you with the damage to your pocket afterwards. Determine which shopping experience works for you and budget accordingly.

Build low-stakes friendships

Tim Herrera writes in his article 8 Ways to Be Kinder to Yourself in 2020 that “low-stakes” friendships or “weak ties” make you happier and bring you closer to people in different social groups and communities. Low-stakes friendships refer to people you run into almost daily – the person from whom you buy your coffee and newspaper in the morning, or the courier who regularly delivers packages at your office. By cultivating these friendships, you build networks that may be beneficial in the long run.

Charl, who recently moved to the US and married there, used to socialise only with fellow South Africans and his fiancé’s family. “My conversations were limited to what I already know about South Africa and people who long home. I heard the same stories day after day even though I was in a foreign country,” he says.

After he started chatting to a Honduran salesman who regularly delivers products at his office, his network broadened and his passion for adventure blazed.

“In March I travel with him to San Pedro Sula and from there I will tour the country. I never thought of Honduras as a holiday destination, but now I am very eager to see and experience the country,” says Charl.

Clean and tidy away

Although few people are convinced that washing the dishes will make them truly happy, lots of studies prove that cleaning is good for you. However, cleaning does not have to be a headache, but a way of discovering old music, hobbies or photos.

Work through your Apple Music or Spotify and remove the songs you always skip. You might find a hit that you forgot and make room for new, better songs to sing along to in the shower. Do the same with your bookshelf. Throw away the Austens and Brontës and be honest with yourself: Is Victorian literature really what you want to read at the pool? Remove the 300 photos of your cat and favourite cappuccino and make room for the photos you will be taking in the new year.

It may be a cliché but remember: Rome wasn’t built in a day. Take time to discover what you like. And if something doesn’t work for you, remember, you still have 365 days left to try again.

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