10 New Year’s Resolutions that Aren’t About Losing Weight

Weight ain’t nothin’ but a number. Commit to improving your whole self in 2018.

Resolution lists everywhere include goals like “lose weight,” “go on a diet” or “exercise regularly.” But self-improvement is about much more than a number on a scale or the state of our physical bodies. Here are 10 ways to make your new year a better one.


1. Step Away from the Phone

Cell phone
Photo: Courtesy of LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Did you know that Americans spend up to five hours per day on mobile apps? That’s 1,825 hours per year—more than 76 days—of staring at a screen. And that doesn’t even include computer and TV time. Sure, many of us use our phones for work and other important tasks, but spending more than two months out of the year with your face in front of your phone seems outrageous when you really think about it. It’s bad for your eyes, it’s bad for your neck, it’s been linked to depression and the list doesn’t stop there. If the mere thought of being away from your mobile device freaks you out, start small. Make it a point to put away all electronic devices an hour before bed—you’ll literally rest easier.


2. Reach Out to Friends and Family, IRL

While we’re on that note, why not make 2018 the year you spend more face-to-face time (NOT FaceTime) with your loved ones? Facebook birthday reminders are great and all, but wouldn’t a verbal, in-person “Happy Birthday” mean so much more than yet another post on a friend’s timeline? Plus, you want to get quality time in when you can; you never know if the next missile threat is going to be a real one. (Too soon?) Make it a point to reach out to family and friends any time you’re thinking about them, not just on special occasions. If seeing them in person isn’t possible, pick up the phone—hearing your voice will always be better than reading words on a screen.


SEE ALSO: Here’s How Hawai‘i Responded on Social Media to the False Ballistic Missile Alert


3. Get Outside

Ehukai Pillbox Hike

This seems like a no brainer, seeing as you live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. And psychologists and health researchers continue to find science-backed evidence that spending time outside is extremely beneficial. But in a world of meetings and deadlines, fitness classes and happy hours, do we all squeeze in enough time to connect with Mother Nature? Probably not. As little as 90 minutes of outside time has been shown to decrease negative thoughts. Take an hour and a half each weekend to get to the beach or go on a hike. Your body and mind will thank you for it.


4. Read a Real Book

Photo: David Croxford

Picking up an actual book—one with a spine, cover, pages, the whole shebang—is about more than minimizing the time your eyes are on a screen. Scientific studies have shown that reading increases intelligence, helps you relax and might even help fight Alzheimer’s. Flipping through a real book provides your brain with context, helping you better understand the words on the page. Don’t know where to start? Here are some local books to check out.


5. Keep Yourself Hydrated

You’re surrounded by water, yet you don’t drink enough of it. Oh, the irony. You’re not alone. Doctors have said that 75 percent of people in the U.S. don’t consume the recommended amount of fluids: about 15.5 cups per day for men and 11.5 cups per day for women. To be clear, this is the total amount of recommended fluids, which includes food, water and other beverages. But only about 20 percent of our fluid comes from food, so getting the rest from good ol’ H20 is a good idea. Fill up that Hydroflask and sip throughout the day; you’ll get your fill before dinnertime!


6. Give a Little

Volunteer in Hawaii
Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino

Volunteering your time is a win-win. The cause you choose to support gets the aid it needs, and you get to go home with all the feels. In fact, research shows that volunteering makes you feel like you have more time. In addition to building new skills and gaining experience, your empathy increases and social bonds strengthen. Various organizations across the state offer one-time, monthly or annual opportunities. And many of Hawaiʻi’s options are unique to the Islands—so sign up and give back to the ʻāina!  


7. Lose the Notion of Hawaiian Time (Kind Of)

Keep the laid-back Island attitude and don’t rush around like it’s the Mainland, but have some consideration for others and be punctual. Getting to meetings, gatherings and other functions on time shows you’re a professional, a great friend and a caring partner. It all boils down to respect for other people and their time. No one wants to be kept waiting. With calendars on our phones, watches and laptops, you can easily set reminders for yourself to ensure you get there on time.


8. Eat Your Fruits and Veggies

Keiki and Plow
Photo: Nicole Oka

Rather than focusing on losing weight and/or eating less, why not concentrate on eating healthier? Federal guidelines recommend that adults consume 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables daily, but only 1 in 10 adults meets this requirement. Farmers markets all over the island offer fresh, locally grown produce—as well as locally sourced meat, poultry and other goodies—so there are no excuses. Simply add a trip to the closest market to your weekly routine.


9. Clear the Clutter

Forget about spring cleaning—we don’t really have seasons, anyway. Use the start of the new year to get organized. Tidying that desk and cleaning your home will improve productivity and elevate your mood. Scientists have even found that people with clean abodes are healthier than those with messy ones. Need help? The National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals can find a pro near you.


10. Have Fun

We pack our planners with important dates, deadlines, events and endless to-do’s. But before you get caught up in all the “need to do’s” of the year, don’t forget to carve time out for the “want to do’s.” Whether it’s taking a trip to a new city or simply making the time to finish that creative project you’ve been working on, write down when you want to accomplish them by and stick to your deadlines the same way you pay your bills on time. Remember to do something you’ll enjoy, because a fun year is a happy one.