For years, the most popular New Year’s Resolutions

revolved around five basic themes:

  • Exercise to get in shape (19.7%)

  • Diet to lose weight (18.3%)

  • Save Money (14.8%)

  • Eat Healthier in general (11.9%)

  • Something for Self-Care (5.5%)

 As 2020 comes to a close, most of us are already feeling defeated. We just experienced a year that has brought so much loss. What we could all use are resolutions for the new year that focus on the good and lift us all up. What kind of resolutions are those? The ones that not only bring happiness to ourselves, but also bring happiness to others.

Here are five New Year’s resolutions for 2021 that will help you better yourself —

 while helping others, too:

  1. Express gratitude.

Expressing gratitude has been scientifically proven to improve mental and physical health, help you create more relationships, increase your self-esteem and enhance empathy. Changing your brain chemistry with gratitude doesn’t come at a cost or require much time. It will keep you going throughout the whole year and let the people in your life know how much they matter to you. So, no matter what 2021 may bring, you’ll be prioritizing to focus on everything you do have.

Some of the ways you can express gratitude are:

—    Keep a gratitude journal and share your gratitude with others.

—    Don’t hold back on compliments.

—    Be someone’s support system.

—    Always say thank you.

  1. Make time to learn.

So much is happening in our world. If you feel a bit overwhelmed and want to educate yourself, the best way to stay in-the-know is to carve out time each day to spend reading the news or books, listening to podcasts or audiobooks, or taking an online course.

  1. Write letters or send cards to people who feel alone.

This has been one of the most isolating times in our lives. Elderly people who live alone, students who can’t see their friends at school and children who feel uncomfortable in their homes are some of us who really need to feel connected right now.

A hand-written letter is so much more personal than an email or text. Think about some of the people in your life who need to feel less alone and aim to write them one letter a month. There are also many volunteer organizations you can partner with to write letters to strangers in need around the world.

  1. Find a cause you care about and discover ways to take action.

The number of global catastrophes we’re facing can be hard to wrap your head around. People around the world are at risk of issues that threaten their livelihood, health and happiness.

But when you do find something you want to fight for, whether it be climate justice, trafficking prevention or food security, your action gives you a sense of purpose and helps create positive change for others. You can donate to a charity, become an activist, virtually volunteer and much more.

  1. Do a random act of kindness for strangers every day.

You’re less likely to cross paths with strangers during COVID-19. We still pass by each other in places like grocery stores and parks, but with masks and social distancing, connecting with each other is tricky.

There are still ways you can be kind to strangers during this pandemic. You can:

—    Let someone go ahead of you in store lines.

—    Pay the person behind you in the coffee shop line.

—    Drop off a warm meal to a neighbor you haven’t met.

—    Make cards for your local essential workers.

Even just waving to one another — since our smiles are masked — can help someone who might be experiencing hardship feel a bit more hopeful. Your kindness will bring you happiness, too. It’s a win-win.