1. Don’t join a gym.
Bear with us on this one: Yes, it’s admirable that you want to get in shape in 2015, and maybe even shed a few pounds. Research has shown, though, that more than half of those who belong to gyms don’t actually go. Instead of committing to a pricey gym membership (most of which require signing a contract, and putting down an initiation fee) simply because it’s the new year, get in a routine of taking a la carte workout classes until you’re sure you’re ready to fully commit.
2. Use all your vacation time—even if you don’t go anywhere.
In the past you’ve made the resolution to take more vacations, but for whatever reason, you haven’t. You certainly aren’t alone on this: A whopping 40 percent of Americans don’t use all of their paid vacation days. Say it with us: “I don’t have to save vacation days for actual vacations.”
This year, make a vow to use all the vacation time you have, even if you’re simply staying home, sitting on the couch, and binge watching “House of Cards.” It’s still deserved time off, no matter what you’re doing with it.
3. Watch an hour less TV a day.
People are spending a crazy amount of time watching TV these days—an average of five hours a day, not including time spent online. That amounts to around 1,825 hours a year. It’s been shown that less time in front of the tube motivates people to exercise and even helps them sleep better. Besides, one hour of TV less a day isn’t a crazy commitment—you’ll still have plenty of time to watch “Scandal,” it’ll probably just mean not watching those back-to-back “Friends” reruns you’ve seen 25 times.
4. Know as much about current events as you do about the Kardashians.
You can rattle off every single outfit North West wore this year, along with a timeline of Kylie Jenner‘s lip transformation, but you can’t speak with authority about current events? Hey, we love spending time with First Family of Fame as much as anyone, but we suggest balancing it out with some knowledge of the 2016 Presidential hopefuls and the Ruble’s recent tumble. No need to invest in reading The New York Times cover to cover every day—news alerts sent to your phone will do the trick just fine, as will subscribing to services like The Skimm, a newsletter delivered to your inbox that explains the day’s biggest headlines.
5. Go see a doctor about that thing you’re ignoring.
We don’t need to go into crazy detail on why you should most definitely do this in 2015. Just go to the doctor already. Seriously. Pick up the phone, make an appointment, and do this for yourself.
6. Stop hitting the snooze button.
We know, hitting the snooze button just feels so good in the morning, but surprise, it’s actually pretty bad for your health. This habit is likely one of the many reasons why your body feels like it’s not getting enough sleep. Hitting the snooze in the short-term will confuse your body about when you are going to get up, creating a temporary condition called “sleep inertia” leaving you feeling groggy, and fuzzy-headed when you do wake up for at least a few hours.
In the long-term, not having a set wake-up time can completely mess up your internal clock, making it next to impossible for your body to know when you should get up without feeling tired. And you thought you were giving your body an extra 15 minutes of sleep!
7. Call you Grandma every once in a while.
Or your mom and dad, or your aunt, or that college friend who lives across the country. Sometimes setting goals that are so lofty and realistically unattainable means you’ll forget the little things in life, that will make a big difference to people, and which are totally doable on your end. We promise, calling your grandma more will make her day.
8. Stop sleeping with your iPhone.
Almost half of Americans who own smartphones sleep with their phones next to their beds. Just a few reasons why this is really bad for you: Looking at your cellphone right before you go to sleep will mess with your melatonin, which means it will harder for you to go sleep.
Having your phone that close to your bed can also have some serious consequences if you’re in a relationship. A recent study published by the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture found that 62 percent of women felt their relationship was suffering because cellphones were getting in the way of couple time. Yikes. Really, how hard is it to leave your phone somewhere else.
9. Vow to know where your money’s going.
We aren’t suggesting you make some crazy pact with yourself to put away 40 percent of your take-home salary, or that you suddenly become a stock market whiz and make a gajillion dollars this year, simply decide to be aware of how and where you are spending your money. That’s it. Mint.com is a great online tool to help you do just that. It’s super easy, and pain free, we promise.
10. Change your sheets once a week.
Clean sheets are one of life’s simple pleasures, but according to research only 35 percent of adults change their sheets once a week. Yeah, gross is right. That means there are a heck of a lot of people out there sleeping in dirty sheets.
You don’t have to spend a fortune on a pricy home renovation this year to feel better about your home, all you really need to do is change your sheets more often. Now, is that so hard?
11. Ask for a raise.
Haven’t gotten a raise in a while? Chances are, particularly if you are a woman, it’s because you aren’t asking for one. That’s right, the one thing that is standing between you and more money is asking your boss a simple question.
So what are you waiting for? Best case scenario? You get turned down. Worst case? You’re turned down, but can feel good about having leaned in.
12. Meditate for just one minute a day.
Don’t make some crazy New Year’s resolution that you are going to carve out an hour a day for “me” time. It will never happen. Studies have shown that micro-meditation (basically “me” time on the cheap) can have an impact on your stress level and overall emotional state. It’s just a minute, so give it a try.