For all of us, January is the beginning of the new calendar year, but for many of us, it means much more than that. It seems to be the perfect time to turn over a new leaf, a time of optimism, fresh starts, slates wiped clean, etc. It’s time to start projects, usually self-help stuff, like dieting, cutting back on the drink, or quitting smoking. It’s the chance to change our ways, buckle down, and make ourselves promises we fully intend to keep.

It’s a time of New Year’s resolutions. We all have our own personal ones that we made just two nights ago — or perhaps yesterday morning when the night-before fog rolled away — but I thought I’d pass on a list of some ideas we could all benefit from:

w Be nicer — to strangers, the person making you coffee, your postal worker, the bank teller, anyone and everyone. If everyone takes heed, we’ll live in a much friendlier world.


Wear something fresh — it doesn’t have to be new, just something you haven’t worn in awhile. Notice the change in your spirit as a result.

Listen to good music — whatever you like, just stuff that makes you feel good.

Read something enjoyable — beyond your newspaper reading to stay current and informed, add a book or magazine that enriches your mind.

Recycle — more than just your basic waste, you can recycle old cellphones, eyeglasses, and computers. Google recycle programs in your area.

Reduce greenhouse gas emissions — walk, cycle, or take public transportation more often.

Promote local agriculture by purchasing local produce.

Use your own shopping bag when you go grocery shopping and cut back on the amount of plastic and paper waste.

Take a first-aid course and be prepared in case of emergency. Contact your local Red Cross, hospital, or your gym, where they often offer classes.

Laugh a lot — it releases endorphins and makes you feel good.

Buy a lottery ticket — even if you only win a free ticket, the rush of adrenaline is good for your spirits.

Protect our vulnerable forests, lakes and rivers, and volunteer or simply donate to your local conservation project.

If you’re not allergic, eat more peanut butter — it’s a healthy source of monosaturated fats that can lower your risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.

Eat dark chocolate guilt-free — it contains a small amount of phenylethylamine, the chemical produced in us when we feel joy and love.

w My favourite — spend more quality time with the people you love — your family and friends.

Take time making your resolutions, and be realistic when doing so. Don’t give yourself impossible goals, setting yourself up for failure. Know that you have a lifetime ahead of you, and every little step towards personal betterment is a successful one. Live your life to the fullest and enjoy it completely.

As the saying goes, "This ain’t no dress rehearsal."

Happy New Year, everyone!

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