Is it bad that we’re already excited for the first long weekend of the new year? The holidays were great, but the first couple weeks of the new year have been busy. As 2011 truly gets underway, we’ve found that our gym fervor is starting to dwindle and we’re starting to fall back into old patterns. So, we caught ourselves and plan to use this weekend to regroup.
Whether your goal is to quit smoking or to master your finances, we’ve compiled a weekend plan for sticking to six of the most common new year’s resolutions:
If Your Resolution Is: To Be An Awesome Person.
Treat someone this weekend. We’re not saying you should pick up the whole tab for something expensive, but, if you feel comfortable, pull an “I’ve got this” when you and your best friend are out for amazing Tahitian vanilla bean and cinnamon hot chocolate. Treating someone every now and then helps us remember that money is only as good as what it’s used for, and it keeps us mindful of how much we have and how much we can spare.
Think about ways you can give a little of your own wealth (in time, expertise, or money) to those who could use it. Whether you give time by helping out at a soup kitchen, expertise by microvolunteering with Sparked, or money by donating to charity, there are plenty of ways to help out the community (and many of them are totally free). Decide, perhaps, that this year you’ll only buy gifts that kick back some profits to social causes—or tell likeminded friends to gift you a donation to your favorite charity on your next birthday instead of yet another knitted scarf.
If Your Resolution Is: To Completely Master Your Finances.
First, start by remembering that you have time and that you will get there—we’re only two weeks into the new year. Then, take a step back and ask yourself exactly what you mean by “mastering your finances.” Are you hoping to get out of debt? Conquer your budget by saving more money? Get all of your accounts in order and understand the basics? Become confident about managing your investments on your own? Once you know what your exact goals are, conquer them by signing up for the LearnVest Bootcamp that fits. Each one runs for a few weeks and leaves you with your financial life in order by the end. Personal Finance Basics Bootcamp, Cut Your Costs Bootcamp and Get Out Of Debt Bootcamp are all completely free.
If Your Resolution Is: To Be More Fit.
Use the long weekend as an excuse to try one exercise technique that would normally freak you out. Sign up for a pole dancing class. Try a hula hoop exercise class. Give hot yoga a go. Gather a group of friends and try to follow along with this totally insane exercise video that involves poodles. Even if you don’t get a workout from the video itself, laughing will at least work out your abs.
If Your Resolution Is: To Quit Smoking.
So, the best online resource we’ve found for quitting is actually free, sponsored by the government. This weekend, up your motivation by calculating exactly how much you can save by quitting smoking. If you live in New York City, where cigarettes cost around $11 per pack, and you quit smoking a pack per day, you’d save over $4,000 per year. For more inspiration, remember that even the strongest cigarette cravings last less than three minutes. Look through this list of common excuses to smoke again, and how to combat them.
If Your Resolution Is: To Be A Pleasure To Be Around.
We know how it feels to pass on stress to friends, family, and the guy behind the drugstore counter. To get a handle on how you come off to others, pay more attention to what you say and do by playing micro-games during your conversations this weekend. Count how many times you complain each day. Count how many times you interrupt. Count how many times you talk about yourself instead of asking about others. Then, count how many times you smile, hold the door, compliment people, and say hello to strangers. Counting everything might sound OCD, but the exact number is less important than the exercise. Not that we’ve ever annoyed anyone before.
If Your Resolution Is: To Stop Stressing Out About Resolutions.
Go make some popcorn, slouch on the couch, and watch the Golden Globes. (It’s on Sunday at 8 PM EST, on NBC.)