My friend Julie came up with one of the better resolutions I’ve ever heard. Here’s what she is planning on doing:

She’s going to pick twelve friends/relatives. From this group she’ll decide on one specific trait that she admires in each person. Then each month she will try to incorporate that characteristic into her life–just for one month, unless she opts to continue. For example, for January is following in the footsteps of a friend of hers who truly lives by her convictions. So Julie, who supports the vegetarian lifestyle, but hasn’t lived as a vegetarian is going to go meatless for the month of January. She’ll be living by one of her own convictions. At the end of January she can stick with it or return to her carnivorous ways.

Why this is such a great idea:

1) It really makes you think about what it is you admire about the people who surround you (and you can let them know that too).

2) Each month you sort of get a new resolution, so you don’t have to stick with one resolution the entire year–one of the reasons it’s so hard to keep New Year’s Resolutions.

3) You get a chance to sort of step into the shoes of someone else. What is life like for the person that NEVER forgets to send a thank you card? Does that lifestyle make you so happy you want to continue doing it or does it add too much stress in your life? You might wind up appreciating you friends even more.

4) Without any pressure (we’re not talking about doing anything for a full year here), you might wind up altering your actions permanently and for the better.

5) But the most important reason, it really sounds fun.