19 New Year’s Resolutions To Make You A Better Person In 2019

Ditch ‘Filipino time.’
PHOTO: istockphoto

New Year, new resolutions to make—or break!

In a 2017 poll by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion in the US, “being a better person” tied with “losing weight” as the top New Year’s resolution for 2018. Anyone who’s had to cut down on carbs and clamber to the gym knows how easy it is to fall off the “losing weight” wagon, but striving to be a better person can cement good habits that will stay with you well into the years to come.

Below, we list down some resolutions you can adopt in 2019 to become a kinder person to yourself and to others. Pick one out, commit to all 19, or throw in those weight loss goals while you’re at it—as long as the 2019 you turns out to be better than the 2018 you, you’re a winner.

  1. Clock in at least seven hours of sleep each night.

    We know it sounds impossible, but if you just gave up your need to log onto Netflix before hitting the hay, you could make it happen. Why you should give up catching up on K-Dramas nightly to catch more zzz’s instead? Not only does clocking in enough sleep make you sharper, perkier, and less likely to snap at people the next day, it minimizes the risk of health conditions linked to poor sleep, such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression.
  2. Get moving.

    Anyone who’s seen Legally Blonde knows that not only is exercise good for your health, it’s also good for your overall disposition because “exercise gives you endorphins—endorphins make you happy!” You don’t have to blow a fortune on a gym membership to get some exercise in—something as casual as dancing or as playful as throwing a Frisbee around can give you that health and mood boost. Just make sure you actually enjoy the physical activity so you’re more likely to keep at it—no need to suffer through yoga’s back-breaking poses when you’d rather just walk around the block.
  3. Spend less time on social media.

    Facebook officials themselves have said that passive consumption on social media can be bad for our well-being, yet here we are, still scrolling compulsively through our feeds. Since it’s unrealistic to cut social media out of our lives completely—how else would we keep up a flirtation with our crush?!—cut down time spent on it instead by scheduling device-free hours each day, deactivating social networks you don’t need, or uninstalling apps on your phone so you limit social media use to only when you’re on your desktop. You’ll be surprised by how much free time you actually have to just live.

  4. Offer to help.

    There are lots of groups and causes you can support based on your interests, from community development initiatives to disaster relief drives. But you don’t even have to look far to lend that helping hand—you can help a tita on her errands or pitch in when a co-worker moves to a new apartment. Not only will giving your time to those in need make you feel more socially connected, it can contribute to lower blood pressure and a longer lifespan.
  5. Learn to say no for your own good.

    It’s not easy to be a woman in today’s world: Not only are you expected to lean in at work and lean in with the household chores, you have to deal with hormonal fluctuations and the pressures of maintaining relationships while at it—no wonder women are more prone to mental health issues like depression. It’s important to be kind to yourself and not take on more than you can handle, all the while knowing that being kind to yourself puts you in a better position to be kind to others. So if you can’t take on any more requests or responsibilities, say no politely. They’ll get over it.
  6. Follow rules even when other people don't.

    Whether it’s a city ordinance or a company policy or just your regular rules of conduct, follow it to serve the greater good. Stand in line, cross the street at the pedestrian lane, be mindful of how you comport yourself in public, and if you see someone breaking the rules, educate them. A joint study from Cornell University and Harvard Medical School has found that it is people with a greater sense of entitlement who are less likely to follow rules. Don’t be that asshole.
  7. Ditch “Filipino time.”

    Resolve to stop showing up late and assuming the person you’re meeting is fine with it—not only is it disrespectful, it’s also an embarrassing trait to associate with our country. Strive to make it to meetings and appointments on time—early would be much better, but hey, baby steps—and show the world how dependable and professional you are.
  8. Look people in the eye and smile more.

    The Wall Street Journal cites research by communications-analytics company Quantified Impressions which has found that adults make eye contact only 30 to 60 percent of the time in an average conversation, when the ideal amount needed to create a sense of emotional connection is 60 to 70 percent. Whether you’re facing an acquaintance or the security guard in your building, show attention and respect while keeping the good vibes going by making eye contact and sealing it with a smile.
  9. Make new friends.

    It’s amazing how much you gain when you just step out of your usual circle: new friends and professional contacts, new perspectives from which to learn, and oodles of self-confidence you’ll carry with you into later encounters with strangers. Go work the room at a convention or introduce yourself at a party—you might miss out on a great connection otherwise.
  10. Try not to butt in when someone’s talking and just…listen.

    In a conversation, a lot of us may appear to be listening, but really, we’re just waiting for our turn to talk, or worse, not paying attention at all because our minds are still on that hot date we were on last night (SO HOT). In Psychology Today, life coach Caren Osten mentions research that has revealed that only about 10 percent of people listen effectively. It’s time to get that number up.

  11. Avoid toxic gossip.

    Everyone loves a tell-all gossip sesh, but haven’t you noticed that those sessions always leave you feeling a little, well, icky? You’re not imagining it—research has found that gossiping causes a dip in the self-esteem of the gossiper. While there are social benefits to gossiping, avoid jumping in—or call out the behavior—when the gossiping turns into the kind of malicious backstabbing that serves no one. And remember: Those who gossip to you will gossip about you.
  12. Remind yourself: “It’s none of my business.”

    It’s easy to criticize, ridicule, and want to change others who look, think, feel, and act different from us, but as much as we think we know best, newsflash: how others live their lives is none of our damn business. Whenever you feel yourself getting all judgy over other people’s supposed shortcomings, choose tolerance and move along.
  13. When you sense someone is suffering, reach out.

    We’ve read more than enough articles on celebrities doing self-destructive things, or worse, taking their own lives, to realize that we should step in when we see our own peers post cries for help. It’s a tricky spot to be in; nobody wants to offend a friend or come off as pakialamera. But it’s worth it to check up on them and schedule one-on-one time; your presence might be just the thing they need to make a bleak situation a little brighter.
  14. Just do it—whatever “it” is.

    Procrastination is a sinister habit—you think you’re just putting off a task you’re mildly worried about for a few days, but before you know it, it’s been a year and you’re scared to death even just thinking of that task. When fear starts holding you back from a task, jump right in before you can talk yourself out of it. It’s usually never as bad as you imagined.
  15. Quit dwelling.

    If you’re an overthinker, you’ve likely ruminated—spent weeks dwelling on a problem, lamenting your misfortune, and wondering why the universe seems to hate you. A Huffington Post article cites research by Yale university professor Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, who found that people who ruminate are more likely to get depressed and stay depressed. But here’s the truth: Everyone suffers—you’re not the only one. The sooner you accept that, as a living, breathing human being, you will likely be stepping in some deep shit during your time here on earth, the sooner you’ll brush yourself off and move on.
  16. Apologize easily.

    “’I’m sorry’ are the two most healing words in the English language,” psychologist and author Harriet Lerner tells the New York Times. While it’s terrifying to come out and admit your fault to someone you’ve wronged, do it anyway and don’t prattle on with rationalizations of why you did what you did. Not only does apologizing pave the way to healing for the other party, you heal yourself of your own guilt and shame, too.
  17. Forgive easily.

    In the case of the wronged party, once you let grudges go, you’ll feel much lighter, so choose to forgive not just to save a relationship, but for the sake of your own emotional health. Even if the person who wronged you doesn’t apologize—those people exist; looking at you, Jason—forgive them still. They may not know you’ve forgiven them, but you do, and that will make all the difference.
  18. Believe that everyone is doing the best they can—including you.

    When you keep this belief in mind, you’ll be more likely to feel compassion for others and for yourself, nipping tensions and suspicions in the bud. Says author Mike Robbins, “When we take a step back and remember that most of the time people aren't ‘out to get us,’ purposefully doing things to upset or annoy us, or consciously trying to make mistakes, disappoint us or create difficulty (they're most likely just doing the best they can and doing what they think makes the most sense)—we can save ourselves from unnecessary overreactions and stress.”
  19. Name things you are thankful for each night.

    Despite all the crap that comes at us on the daily, there are more positive things to celebrate; it’s just that we don’t stop to count them because we’re way too focused on counting the crap. According to psychotherapist and author Amy Morin, gratitude boosts relationships; enhances empathy and reduces aggression; and improves physical health, psychological health, self-esteem, and mental strength. Listing down what you’re grateful for each night also helps you sleep better and longer—do that and you just might hit that minimum seven hours of sleep!

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