A new year beckons, as does the pressure to improve your life. Rather than embarking on a new year's resolution list that you're destined to fail come February, choose one (or all) of these sustainable, tangible resolutions that will be easy to see through.
Get better at managing stress
When asked "how was your year?" at New Year's Eve parties tonight, anyone between the ages of 18 and 60 will likely answer "so busy". It's the curse of the modern world, being busy: with it we are continually maxed-out and tired, but without it we feel unproductive. For 2015, resolve to better manage your stress and kill your internal culture of busy. This doesn't mean you should take on less commitments. Rather, you should step back and look at your commitments objectively, without getting so caught up in the middle of them. Think of it like being in the middle of a busy road: when you feel busy, it's like you're caught between cars whizzing by and you'll never get to the calm of the footpath. This fuels your "busy syndrome" because you can't see a way out. Your new year's resolution should be to change your mindset and find a gap in your head traffic, so you can acknowledge what's there, but not get so swept away by all of it.
Get smart about your health
Diets, Detoxes, Dry Januarys. These are the three most popular resolutions that never last. They're hard to track, and even harder to fit in with your own lifestyle. So for 2015, it's time to get smart about your health and how you want to achieve your goals by tracking them with technology. The free Health app on your iPhone is a great starter, as it allows you to track everything from the total minutes you're active each day to your sugar intake. It also links up with all of your other health-related apps - so if part of your resolution is to use a meditate app once a day, you can track your progress in graph format. Other options for getting smart about your health in 2015 include wearing a fitness tracker (like a Fitbit), which hooks up to most smartphones to give you detailed data about how well your resolution is going.
Be part of a community
Very few of us are part of a tight-knit community these days. Rather than spread yourself so thinly for 2015, make a resolution to be part of a village-like assemblage. It might be a physical community, where you grab coffee at the same time and place each day, and say "hi" to the same faces when you run in to the supermarket at night. Other options are getting involved in the activities hosted by your local church (secular community-builders like yoga and art classes are always on offer), or creating a gung-ho community around your Crossfit or gym class. Even an online community - a Twitter group of people obsessed with The Hunger Games, or a Pinterest group board for those all planning a country-rustic wedding - has its village-like benefits. Whatever community you involve yourself in, it's a resolution that will make you feel warmer, more included, and more valued in your daily life.
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Community-builders like yoga and art classes are always on offer. Photo / Thinkstock
Use social media differently to enjoy "the now"
Modern life has us so obsessed with documenting our experiences, we actually forget to have them. Rather than starting a vague new year's resolution such as "I want to cut down on my social media use", resolve to change the way you use social media so it lets you experience what you're doing. For starters, stop uploading photos and videos while food is still on the restaurant table, or the sunset is still in the sky. Take a photo, enjoy your food, watch the sun go down, and then upload that snap an hour later while you're waiting for the bus. Or, rather than live-tweet a concert, wait until you're in a long line for the loo to tell the world you just saw The Black Keys play live. When you stop boring others with your overzealous smartphone activity, you'll start to remember the best memories are caught outside of your Instagram filter.
Get a pay raise
Quarter-on-quarter, services in New Zealand are currently seeing their strongest growth since December 2006. That means there are more people willing to pay for you to sit at your desk and churn out your work, whatever it may be. If you've been told "finances are tight" by your employer since the GFC began, 2015 is the year to push your way up to a higher salary. Getting a pay rise should be on everybody's resolution list this year, because New Zealanders are getting out-priced in everything from the housing market to the grocery store. We won't propel much further as a nation if our wages don't rise to suit, so make it a top priority to add a few extra G's to your annual package so you - and the country at large - can keep up. If your boss won't budge, the job market is looking noughties-era healthy again, so 2015 is prime time to move on and up.