Just Say Yes!

Tackling a new challenge makes life more fun. Make this the year you green-light the new stuff. Go on—shake things up!

1. Dare yourself more. Bust out of your comfort zone by doing something bold: Do one of those crazy obstacle-course mud runs that are all the rage. Or take part in an underwear run, a polar bear swim, an urban Iditarod where teams drive shopping carts instead of dogsleds—you get the idea. By doing so, you’ll discover you’re braver and perhaps tougher than you thought. At the very least, you’ll get a thrill.

2. Freshen up ordinary tasks. Drive a different route home from the grocery store and see what you discover. Brush your teeth using your nondominant hand, for kicks. Use fragrance to excite your senses around the house with scented candles, potpourri, and in your cleaning and laundry supplies.  

3. Reinvent date night. Whether it’s with your sweetie or with friends, who says an evening out has to equal dinner and a movie? Think outside the box. Go disco bowling this Saturday night, or sign up for a pottery class or whatever sparks your combined interests.  

4. Inject new life into your day-to-day habits. Once a week, make a point to try a fruit or vegetable you’ve never had, maybe something exotic like a mangosteen or pepino or an item you’ve been afraid of (persimmons or rutabagas, anyone?). Take a new class at your gym like burlesque dancing or one of those fusion yoga/body conditioning/tai chi classes. Or use a body lotion with an unusual-for-you scent. You’ll infuse your life with a dose of freshness.  

5. Accept unusual invitations. If you get an offer to play paintball or to go bird-watching or orienteering (if you don’t know what it is, look it up), quash your knee-jerk instinct to say “No, thank you” and give it a try. Who knows? You might enjoy yourself, and even if you don’t, you’ll have great stories to share with your BFFs.  

Resolutions Made Easy

If the thought of making New Year’s resolutions elicits a been-there-done-that attitude, take heart: This could be the year you stick with your plan—if you make all the right moves. These ideas will boost your chances of success.

Embrace the power of one. Life’s too hectic to make several changes at once. Pick one specific goal then figure out how to tackle it. Rather than resolving to simply lose weight or exercise more often, quantify the results you desire (the number of pounds you want to drop, how far you want to be able to run, or how many push-ups you want to be able to do). Then set a timeline for meeting it.

Help you help you. Be realistic. If you hate the gym, set up a circuit workout at home. Determined to write that novel? Make your workspace inviting and inspiring. Can’t get your chores under control? Stock household goods that make life more streamlined (like an all-in-one laundry detergent, stain-booster, and fabric softener).

Go public. Research suggests you’re more likely to stay accountable and succeed if you broadcast your goals to others. Post your progress on your favorite social network or create an online pinboard and invite your friends to motivate you.

Monitor yourself. There are tons of apps that will track your progress, whether your resolution is about fitness, spending less money, walking the dog more, or just about anything else. No question, viewing your progress is super satisfying.

Have a reward! No, this isn’t about giving you license to cheat. It’s about motivating yourself to stay the course. Smart: Pick a perk that’s in sync with your goal, like a massage for all those new muscles, or new workout clothes in fun bright colors. Yes, you deserve it!