By - January 21st 2015.

The dawn of a brand new year seems like the perfect time to make a list of resolutions. However, the typical list may no longer be relevant. Some things still apply, but others do not.

Why not consider a different kind of list?

In 2015, I will …

Connect with Family More Often

For one reason or another, you may not have many opportunities to spend time with family. Thankfully, in this day and age, there are many options to getting together in person. Set a regular phone date—and stick to it. If you have access to a computer, schedule regular Skype chats. The wonderful thing about Skype is that you can see those grandbabies and great grandbabies grow up even if they live thousands of miles away. And since the majority of what ends up in our mailboxes these days goes straight into the recycle bin, it’s almost guaranteed that an old-fashioned letter will bring a smile to the recipient. (Just a hint: Be honest about how much staying in touch means to you.)

Preserve My Memories

There are a number of ways to do so. Keep a journal of your thoughts and memories. Don’t worry if your entries aren’t chronological. Almost anything can trigger a memory. It’s best to capture it as soon as possible. Looking through old photos is a wonderful way to reminisce. You may want to put together a photo album of favourite moments. You may even want to incorporate the two and put together a scrapbook of captioned photos.

Learn Something New

Visit the local library and check out books on the Recently Added shelves. Grab one (or more) that catches your eye. Sign up for an online course. (There are several available at no or minimal charge.) Order a series of CDs or DVDs that explore a topic you’re interested in. (You may want to check out Great Canadian Courses.)

Take Up a New Hobby

In the same vein, perhaps it’s time to take up a new hobby. Remember it’s about having fun and expanding your mind—not about doing it perfectly right from the start. Do you love that painting right outside your room? Why not try painting one of your own? Admire that infinity scarf your daughter was wearing? Maybe it’s time to pick up a ball of yarn and some knitting needles. (These days, they have extremely large crochet hooks and knitting needles with patterns for quick projects. This may be right for you if you struggle with dexterity and/or like to see something come together quickly.) Are you a music lover? There are music teachers who are willing to come to you and there are courses online as well. Always been good with words? Maybe it’s time to take up writing: poems, short stories, a full-length novel, your memoir.

Laugh More

There is a proverb that reads, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” Illness, loneliness, depression … they can all make it seem like you have no reason to be merry. There is no denying that it’s difficult sometimes, but the payoff for laughing more might surprise you. Read humorous books. Watch sitcoms and funny movies. Hang around people who make you laugh. Go ahead; be silly. You may just bring a smile to someone’s face—maybe even a full-fledged laugh. And making others happy often splashes back and does the same for us.

Stretch the Parameters of My Comfort Zone

If you’re an introvert and spent most of your life surrounded by familiar people and places, making new friends and trying new things may seem just too difficult. There is no denying that breaking out of your comfort zone—or simply expanding the parameters—will be challenging. But it is so worth it!

Get Active

Exercise has so many benefits. Improved lung capacity. The ability to sleep more restfully. The ability to think more clearly. Because of the release of endorphins, exercise even improves your outlook. Though you may not be able to do what you once did, try to do a little more each week. (Be sure to get guidance from a professional who knows your limitations.)

Develop an Attitude of Gratitude

Sometimes the challenges of getting older are like a heavy weight. Nothing lifts that weight like deliberately looking for things to be thankful for. It’s a great idea to keep a Thankfulness Journal. When you’re down, you can open it and remind yourself just how much you have to be grateful for.

Pay It Forward

And there’s nothing quite like doing something nice for someone else. Resolve to look for the opportunity to do so each and every day.