1. Putting your phone away when you’re at dinner.
Chances are you won’t look back on a night and smile about all the Instagrams you saw. It’s the people and conversations that will stick with you, so be present for them.
2. Making time for your physical fitness.
Yeah, it’s no secret that working out can sometimes suck. But you only have one body, and when you start to treat that body well it gives back to you in spades.
3. Calling your family more often.
Few things will make your family happier than the fact that they hear from you regularly. Even if it’s 10 minutes every Sunday, or calling up a family member on your way to work each morning, you’ll be making their life and yours a lot brighter.
4. Making a point to send your best friends actual birthday cards.
Facebook posts are exciting and necessary, but there’s just something about getting an actual card in the mail. It means someone took the time to send something, and that makes a much bigger impact in the long-run.
5. Doing one small act of kindness every week.
Remember, you don’t have to donate all your money to charity to give back. It could be holding the door for someone who would have a hard time opening it, donating your time, or buying someone else’s coffee. Do whatever you can to give back, and you’ll feel much better about the world.
6. Making a to-do list, especially when you’re stressed.
To-do lists exist for a reason and that’s to help you get shit done. They organize your thoughts and help you set priorities for the rest of the day, so you can accomplish what you need to get you moving forward.
9. And saying yes when you really should.
Maybe your friend impulsively suggests a concert, or someone’s had a bad day and needs to go for a drink — whatever the reason, if you feel it would make your or their night, you should do it. In the best case scenario, you’ll get a memory to keep forever; at worst, at least you tried something new!
10. Planning a trip and making use of all your vacation time.
Vacation time exists for a reason, and you should never feel guilty about taking all of it. Even if it’s a staycation, use it up and live a life outside of work.
11. Saving up for something you really, truly want.
Buying something is always fun, but it’s even more fun when you know it’s with money you worked really hard to get. So save for something — even if it’s small — and know that you earned it.
12. And actually taking pride in the things you own.
If you are reading this on a phone or computer (and I’m fairly certain you are), then you are incredibly lucky. You have nice things. Take care of them, get them serviced when they need it, and don’t treat the things you own like they’re anything less than awesome.
13. Giving out a random compliment each day.
Getting a compliment feels great, right? So pay it forward and give a compliment a day. It’s free and makes the world a much nicer place.
14. Adopting a furry friend, if you can.
If you’re already a pet parent, then good for you! But if you haven’t adopted yet, this could be your year. Give a pet a good home, and give yourself a new pal for life.
15. Trying at least one new thing a month.
Trying new things can help you not only discover different sides of yourself, but it will help you know what you don’t like. So if you’ve always wanted to try, say, a cooking class and you end up hating it, you can cross that off and move onto the next thing.
16. Actually writing out your goals for the year ahead.
You may have some vague idea of where you want to be at the end of 2016, but writing them out will remind you of the steps you need to take to accomplish those goals. Then, just in time for 2017, you’ll have to make a new list of goals so you can get cracking on those too.
17. Remembering how important small romantic gestures are.
If you’re not coupled up, that’s totally OK — someday you might be and this will come in handy. Small daily gestures that show the most important person in the world how much you love them are valuable. Maybe it’s making their coffee, giving them a big kiss before work, or coming home with their favorite takeout. Whatever it is, make time for it.