What’s your New Year’s Resolution? It’s a brand new year, which means every status update in your newsfeed is about to be a declaration of self-improvement. But as you watch everyone and their mom vow to clean up their diets, maximize their gym memberships, and/or finally delete their dating apps, you may be seeking something slightly less internally focused. Sure, more juice cleanses and spin classes are perfectly fine New Year’s resolution, but if you’ve been there, done that, and would rather find ways to better the world around you, you’re in luck. Here are 10 totally selfless resolutions that you’ll be proud of all year long:
1) Donate to a resource you rely on. Ever looked up a random fact on Wikipedia? Why not pitch in a few dollars to support the totally free trivia so many of us take for granted? Appreciate the work a local nonprofit is doing? Drop a few bucks so they can continue helping out the community. Still a fan of print journalism? Great! Subscribe to your favorite publications.
2) Tell someone you love them every day. Maybe refrain from fawning over the stranger in the toothpaste aisle just to meet your daily quota, but if you have a mom, dad, grandparent, sibling, friend, or pet that you feel affection for, express it.
3) Purge your closet once a quarter. This one borders on being a tad self-improvement-oriented since you’ll gain back tons of previously occupied square footage in your home, but donating clothes and household items you no longer need can make a major difference in someone’s life.
4)Find your passion and fork over some time. Not all donations need to be monetary; find a cause you care about and investigate ways to help. Organizations like VolunteerMatch make it easy to filter nonprofits by location and topic, and you can even find ways to volunteer virtually if trekking to a physical location isn’t in the cards.
5)Show gratitude on a regular basis. Saying “thank you” is simple, but the effect can be monumental. Make it your mission to make people feel acknowledged and appreciated, whether they’re refilling your water at a restaurant or sending you home with homemade leftovers (thanks, mom).
6)Integrate ethical shopping into your routine. Not all manufacturers are created equal, and by putting your dollars behind the ones who care most for animals, the environment, employees, and more, you’re helping to shift the paradigm. The Good Shopping Guide is one way to start seeking out products that align with your values.
7)Craft more. Rather than wasting your crochet skills on yet another scarf your significant other won’t wear, consider lending your talents to a good cause. Organizations like Project Linus, Ryan’s Case for Smiles, and Dress a Girl Around the World count on crafty volunteers to create wares kids in need.
8)Foster a furry friend. Okay, this one could be a bit self-serving as well, but temporarily bringing home a rescue pet is an important way to ease their transition into forever homes.
9)Code for good. Channel your tech-savvy skills into positive action. Code for America has opportunities throughout the country for volunteers to address community issues through innovative solutions.
10)Throw a party. Brightening Birthdays is a program through Volunteers of America that holds special celebrations for kids and families who have experienced homelessness. Help make someone else’s milestone memorable.
Finding ways to better the world around you isn’t as daunting as it seems, but if sticking to your new selfless resolutions poses a bit of a challenge, the key is to start small, and stay specific. Once you open your eyes to all the worthy causes around you, the urge to help can be overwhelming and maybe even paralyzing. Rather than getting caught up in the abundance of need, pick just one or two resolutions that resonate most with you and commit to regular, consistent action. And don’t forget to document your progress — celebrating your selflessness is totally allowed, after all.
What’s your New Year’s resolution? Say it loud and proud in the comments below. And if one of your goals is to stop spending so much money on car insurance, then it’s time to check out Metromile. You’ll pay a low base rate and pennies per mile, and have access to our smart driving app’s awesome features. Get a free quote now and prepare to start saving.
Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist/writer/editor and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech for outlets like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, and a whole lot more. She’s also a contributing editor at Fitbit and the social media director at California Home + Design Magazine. She is an avid admirer of shiny objects, manatees, and preteen entertainment.