Try new things. Take a risk. Overcome a fear. Accomplish a task. Reading about other's big news in the daily paper, you think to yourself: If only I had the time. If you make the effort to make the time, to turn off the television and get out there, this year could be the year you do all the things you've always wanted to.
Forget huge easy-to-break New Year's resolutions and think about small steps toward a more well-rounded you. Some will take some planning, others will only take a few hours out of your day, but at the end of the year, when you look back at all you've accomplished, it will be worth it. Make a list of the things you would really like to do and promise yourself to get started on one task each week.
Here is a year's worth of suggestions to get you started:
1. Have your portrait painted.
2. Learn to ski. If you already know how, teach someone who doesn't.
3. Go on a drive in an area near you that you don't know well. Explore. Throw the map out the window.
4. Learn to say "I love you" in a foreign language. Practice on everyone.
5. Volunteer for an afternoon at a soup kitchen.
6. Take a guided tour of the town or city where you live.
7. Sleep under the stars. (Bonus points if the stars don't have to compete with street lights.)
8. Ask a senior citizen, either one you know, or someone you haven't met yet, to tell you about what it was like when they were young.
9. Jump into the ocean.
10. Go tobogganing.
11. Learn how to make a dinner you would be proud to serve, and then invite your friends or family over to enjoy it.
12. Make an emergency kit for your car. Include all the essentials: flares, bandages, chocolate.
13. Send Valentine's cards to all your friends.
14. Make a scrapbook of a memorable occasion -- a friend's wedding, your mother's surprise birthday party or just an evening out.
15. Tell a stranger to have a nice day.
Page 1 of 3 -- Take time to re-read your favourite childhood book, or write a personal thank you note to your loved ones. Find 20 more great ideas for the new year on page 2
16. Take a sick day from work, lock yourself in the house and watch daytime television while giving yourself spa treatments.
17. Go fishing.
18. Make candles -- so easy -- and give them as gifts.
19. Re-read your favorite childhood book. (Bonus points for reading it aloud to a child.)
20. Write a thank-you letter to your mother.
21. Grow a garden -- flower, vegetable, whatever. If you live in an apartment, grow some herbs or even grass on the windowsill.
22. Adopt an endangered animal.
23. Learn how to create an online photo album so you can share your digital pictures with friends and family around the world.
24. Spend a whole day at the beach building an elaborate sand castle; moats and turrets are essential.
25. Grab a last-minute seat sale to a place you've always wanted to go.
26. Learn sign language.
27. Clean out your closet, donate everything you haven't worn in the past year to charity.
28. Take a teenager out for ice cream. Listen to his or her problems and take them as seriously as you would your own.
29. Keep a diary of all your thoughts and feelings. Write every time you feel like it.
30. Learn how to change a tire.
31. Throw a party and invite everyone you really want to be there. Don't worry about how they'll all mingle.
32. Donate blood.
33. Take a vacation from the world for a day. Turn your cellphone off.
34. Forgive someone.
35. Get over your fear of heights -- skydive or hang out on a balcony or roof-top, whatever you need to overcome your fear.
Page 2 of 3 -- With the help of family and friends, get involved in a local charity or fundraiser. Find more great ideas to make this year your best ever on page 3
36. Buy a piece from a struggling artist. It could be worth a lot someday.
37. Have your friends over to play board games.
38. Become a mentor to someone younger than you.
39. Go bowling.
40. Fundraise for a local charity.
41. Become more informed about your local political parties.
43. Look up a childhood friend and find out what she's doing now.
44. Shovel the walkway of an elderly neighbour.
45. Take a scuba-diving course.
46. Get over your fear of public speaking. If you have something to say, say it.
47. Put down the book you are supposed to be reading and pick up the one you want to be reading.
48. Apologize if you behave badly.
49. Get reacquainted with a family member you haven't seen in a while.
50. Get an online service to remind you of birthdays and always send a card.
51. Take an art class.
52. Make a list of everything that you've done and take yourself out to dinner to celebrate your accomplishments.
These are just a few ideas to get you thinking about what you'd like to do in the new year. You may have to let go, give in, try harder -- but don't give up. It's your life, and it's your list, so make it as big and as daring as you want it to be. And have fun.
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