By Mina Todosijevic

Welcome back to The New!

A new year is seen as a blank slate, a new chance at being a better, more productive and happier person. Alas, it is difficult to change yourself overnight, and while the sudden burst of “good behaviour” from everyone around you might motivate you to follow your resolutions, chances are going to the gym sounds just as unappetizing in January as it did in December.

People usually focus on changing their characteristics, habits and flaws (“new year, new me!”). However, new experiences make fantastic New Year’s resolutions because they do not hinge on a sudden burst of motivation to be a “better person”; rather, they’re a simple way to challenge yourself and expand your horizons. They’re attainable, fun and realistic ways to start the year.

To play this game, you might have to alter the suggestions a bit to make sure it’s something you haven’t done yet!

  • Visit a cultural centre you’ve been meaning to see for a while: Ripley’s Aquarium, Casa Loma, the ROM (free on Tuesdays), or the AGO (free Wednesday evenings). You could also take advantage of the Toronto Public Library’s free Museum and Arts Pass to visit some local attractions for free.
  • Make a new friend by talking to someone in your class. Ignore the nervousness and invite them to hang out.
  • Listen to an album from start to finish. To make it more challenging, choose a genre you don’t normally listen to.
  • Try to think positively for an entire day. Don’t let yourself get angry or upset; speak only kind words and think only gentle thoughts.
  • Travel someplace you’ve never been before. Go visit Alberta or New York, or a place that is close by that you’ve never gotten around to visiting.
  • Leave a $5 bill in a library book or taped to a vending machine. Make someone’s day.
  • Go to a bar in an area of town you don’t usually hang out in. If you’re more of a clubber, head to College St. for a more laid-back bar scene. Instead of your usual dive bar, go down to King St. West for a more put-together night. If you’re into frat parties, go check out the live music scene for a night.
  • Try out arts and crafts. Buy a ball of yarn from the dollar store and try to make a scarf, or buy a bunch of clay and see what you can make with your hands in a couple of hours.
  • Do something for someone else. Accompany your friend while they’re running errands, let your sister practice her debate with you, or drive your younger siblings around for a day so your parents don’t have to.

These are just some suggestions; to undertake a more serious expansion of experiences, begin something approaching a New Year’s resolution in the form of a year-long dare game with a friend. Let them decide which one of your limits needs to be pushed. The game should be played in a kind-spirited way, intended to convince people to do things they would normally be too shy or lazy to do. I like to play the game with a certain number of “chickens”, meaning chances to reject dares.

Best of luck in the game and I wish you all the best in the New Year!