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21 good New Year's resolution ideas for 2018 that are more exciting than joining a gym

From giving to charity, to smiling more, spending less on junk and growing your own food there are plenty of suggestions of how to resolve to improve your lot

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It's that time of year when, after weeks of excess booze and food consumption, we turn our attentions to self-improvement with New Year resolutions .

Putting aside the knowledge they are rarely kept beyond the first week of the year, now is the time to start with the best intentions.

It may be quitting booze for a month and raising some money and liver function, switching to vegetarian food after packing our digestive system with turkey, or maybe cutting consumer consumption to improve our personal finanace.

To jumpstart the self improvement kick for your impending 2018, we've come up with a few suggestions about what kind of resolutions might be good, and none of them involve joining a gym.

1. Turn your phone off

Smartphone
Put it down: Get off your phone for a bit (Image: Getty)

Try and switch your smartphone off a bit more. We're pretty sure your family would rather you looked them in the eye and told them about your day than rattled through another level of Candy Crush at teatime. Ignore this if you are reading this article on your phone.

2. Remember your manners

A simple please and thank you addressed to someone's eyes when they serve you in a shop or cafe will brighten both your days. You might even get a thank you back.

3. Clean your shoes

Polishing shoes
Brush: Polishing shoes leads to happiness

Five minutes of your week and you'll be the smartest person you know. And the bonus is you end up saving money by looking after your possessions.

4. Learn a party trick

People playing the card game Bridge
Pick a card: Learn a trick for 2016 (Image: Rex)

It might be a simple card trick or learn how to recite the alphabet backwards in less than 10 seconds.

5. Go to the theatre

Performer standing on stage in theatre
Visit: Why not go and see a performer standing on stage in theatre (Image: Rex)

With lots of regional theatres offering a wide range of productions and tickets in the West End costing as little a s £10 there is no excuse not to sample some live drama or musicals.

6. Cook a different recipe every week

This is free and can broaden your diet and skill set - simply grab a couple of the dusty cookbooks we all have on our shelves and start cooking.

7. Stop buying material goods

Boxing Day Sales, Oxford Street, London, Britain
Crush: Skip the sales and don't buy a thing (Image: Rex Features)

Food is fine but cheap disposal fashion is not. Ditch the sweatshop addiction and try and do six months surviving on what you own already, it might be liberating.

8. Find love

Dating websites have their place but just start off by talking to people more, ask them how their Christmas was and... what their New Year's resolutions might be and keep chatting - you might end up with a new friend, or something even more special.

9. Walk to work

It's an oldie but a goldie. Get off a stop early on your way to work or at the end of the day and add some footsteps to your journey. It helps to clear your head and may shift the mince-pie top from your midriff too.

10. Read a book

Whether it be through supporting your local library or via that Kindle you were given by Santa, why not hit the classics? Try Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island or one by J.R.R. Tolkien, for some rewarding escapism.

11. Plant some bulbs

Tulips at the Chelsea flower show
Pretty: Tulips at the Chelsea flower show, you could have them at home (Image: Getty Images)

Dig them in, and forget about them and in a few months a burst of colour from tulips or daffodils will brighten your day.

12. Dryathlon

It's the month where you are likely to most need a drink but you could join thousands of Dryathletes dropping the drink this January and raising money to help beat cancer. Sign up now for all the support you need.

13. Trying something new every day

A very loose idea but we are thinking more having a roasted cauliflower for dinner than calling a locksmith out to let you back into your house.

14. Grow something to eat

A packet of seeds costs a few pence and in a couple of months and a warm windowsill you can have your own salad leaves or the start of something far more impressive like tomatoes, squashes or beans come mid spring.

15. Hug

Young couple
Hug: A squeeze can make the world seem good (Image: Getty)

A much under-used greeting, hug your mum and dad, your brothers and sisters, your kids, your neighbours and mates. You might get a hug back.

16. Save

Barista
Cash: Ditch coffee for a savings uplift (Image: Getty)

Even a couple of pounds a week by cutting out your expensive frothy coffee can make all the difference this time next year. It helps if you have a target - perhaps a holiday or a nice meal out. Get more tips to help you stick to your New Year's resolutions here .

17. Make www.mirror.co.uk your Internet home-page

We're biased but it's brilliant. Everything you need from Corbyn to the Kardashians to Harry Kane and intelligent comment.

18. Make a Christmas cake

Smug: Bake now for next Christmas

It takes most of a morning, we admit, but think how smug you'll feel next December safe in the knowledge you have a tub of Brandy soaked fruit goodness in a cake box at the back of the cupboard. Here is Mary Berry's ultimate Christmas cake recipe - it can be stored for up to three months.

19. Visit an elderly relative

It's well known we are an ageing population and loneliness is on the rise so grab a packet of chocolate biscuits and scoot around to your auntie or Gran and make their day with an hour of your time.

20. Smile more

Victoria Beckham
Happy: Victoria Beckham has not always been renowned for her smile (Image: PA)

This one is free and simple and it will improve everyone's day. I think you just smiled didn't you, felt good didn't it?

21. Go your own way

Try to avoid being drawn to prescriptive Internet lists telling you what to do, how to live your life and the perfect life hacks for 2016. Do what you want, when you want, as long it doesn't hurt anyone. You'll have a great time. Happy New Year.

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Summary | 5 Annotations
Try and switch your smartphone off a bit more. We're pretty sure your family would rather you looked them in the eye and told them about your day than rattled through another level of Candy Crush at teatime.
2018/01/30 02:37
Food is fine but cheap disposal fashion is not. Ditch the sweatshop addiction and try and do six months surviving on what you own already, it might be liberating.
2018/01/30 02:38
Get off a stop early on your way to work or at the end of the day and add some footsteps to your journey. It helps to clear your head and may shift the mince-pie top from your midriff too.
2018/01/30 02:38
A very loose idea but we are thinking more having a roasted cauliflower for dinner than calling a locksmith out to let you back into your house.
2018/01/30 02:39
It's well known we are an ageing population and loneliness is on the rise so grab a packet of chocolate biscuits and scoot around to your auntie or Gran and make their day with an hour of your time.
2018/01/30 02:39