15 New Year's Resolutions That Are Much Better Than Working Out

These are way better than "going to the gym."

1. Picking up the phone and calling a friend or family member instead of texting.

Calling on the phone seems to be a lost art, which is a shame, when you think about how often we communicate through texts, gchats and sometimes even Snapchats. Taking the time to hear a person's voice and catch up will not only give you a break from the digital world, but allow you to build your relationships without having to figure out their tone of voice or wait until the next family holiday to have a conversation. 

2. Do something different with the way you spend your money.

Now, it's common for people to want to save more in the new year, but there's lots of ways to go about that. For instance, instead of putting money away every month, consider low-risk investing. It's a great way to build up funds without heavy lifting. You could also pay down loans you might have, even if it's just a few dollars more. But if you're super tight on cash...

3. Cut out or limit one thing that sucks your money.

You should feel comfortable spending on things that you want, but in the new year, it's not a bad idea to put a limit on how much you're spending. If you're into Starbucks drinks for instance, limit yourself to one a week, or every two weeks. Vow to use the coffee machine at work more often to make up the difference. 

4. Focus on eating healthier foods, not depriving yourself of the bad ones.

The same goes for unhealthy foods. You don't have to go cold turkey, but set goals for yourself. And don't say "My resolution is to give up sugar," because that phrasing alone makes you feel deprived. Instead, think of healthier foods to add to your diet, so it feels like you're actually gaining something — and it won't be weight.

5. Volunteer, but be specific.

Volunteering more is a great resolution, because you're not only helping others, but your own self-confidence can grow, too. But don't limit yourself to volunteer work, in general. Pick an organization or sector that could use your help, like animal shelters or Habitat for Humanity. Getting specific will help you feel like you actually have to (and want) to follow through. 

6. Ask for help when you need it.

Whether that means in school, work or at home, make an effort to let others help you, and to reach out to them when you need help. Feeling stressed is overwhelming and can cause exhaustion and anxiety. If you don't get something in class, let your resolution be to see someone in the tutoring center. If you're going through a hard time, find a counselor to help you work through your feelings.

7. Make time to get back to your passions.

Get back to your roots, or what makes you happy, and find a way to foster that in your life. Take an acting or improv class if you love to perform. If you're unsure, check Groupon for deals and chose something that you find interesting. If you don't like it, try something else. 

8. Speak up at least once during meetings or in class.

"Being a better worker" or "trying harder" are valid resolutions in theory, but how exactly can you make that happen without becoming overwhelmed? Instead, get more specific and chose to do one thing that will make you a better worker or student. 

9. If you're trying out or applying for something, pick one thing to improve on.

Making your resolution "get into the school play" is awesome, but again, too broad. Pick one thing that will make you a better candidate and try to improve your skills. Whether that means taking the time to update your resume, create a website for yourself or practicing your interviewing skills with a friend, taking the time to do so will make for an easier time getting to where you want to go.

10. Say "yes" more.

Saying yes isn't just about always being available, but it's about putting yourself out there in moments when you're unsure of yourself, or afraid. Remembering to say "yes" to a friend who wants to have dinner with you (when you'd rather be watching Netflix) is tough. But pushing yourself to see people, or take on projects, etc., could make you happier in the long run.

11. Have designated "happy thoughts" to pick you up when you go to that "sad place."

We've all had those moments: we're sitting in bed, or alone, and boom, you think your life sucks. You get sad, a bit anxious, and you might even cry. And that's okay, but in the new year, don't let "that place" be the place you frequent. Instead, go Oprah on yourself and have a least one or two positive thoughts and things in your life to think about when you're down. Okay, your boss may be sucking the life from your soul, but remember, you have an amazing pet and at least one person to crack open a bottle of wine with. 

12. Break bad habits by picking an alternative.

Smoke? Trying vaping, instead. Drink too much? Try replacing whiskey on the rocks with vodka soda. Use Q-tips to clean your ears way too often? Limit yourself to once and a week. Slowly but surely, you'll wean yourself off of these habits, but the first step is getting away from them in some capacity to begin with.

13. Make a three-for-three promise.

So, we made that phrase up, but you'll only get so far if your resolution is to be more hygienic. Pick three things you want to add to your routine and stick with them. For instance, if you're cavity prone, vow to brush twice a day, floss and use mouthwash every night. 

14. Don't press snooze (at least not every day).

Getting better sleep is hard work. But not hitting snooze can be a good start. It's a simple, yet effective way to feel more well-rested. If you want to go a step further, try to set a bedtime, use a sleep app to know when to go to bed and wake up for optimal sleep and keep electronics away from your pillow.

15. Smile more.

Smiling can lift your mood, even if it's for no reason. This is a good resolution to make if you're goal is to become a happier person in general. As Psychology Today puts it, "each time you smile you throw a little feel good party in your brain." 

Cheers to that — and the new year!