10 tips to be a better person in 2014

By Shelby Harrell | Jan 08, 2014

I know all  kinds of writers and bloggers are out there currently sharing their personal new year's resolutions and retelling the details of 2013. But instead, I'd like to share some tips with you that I think will help you become a stronger, happier and overall, a more well-rounded person.

1. Read more books — As a writer, I read often because it's good for my work and helps me recognize different writing styles. But even if you're not a writer, it's still a good idea for you to read. It's an escape from reality, and it can be both very entertaining and relaxing, and we all can appreciate that.

2. Embrace your inner child — I still wear sparkly shoes and bows in my hair because they suit me. I still like to wear birthday party hats and also watch cartoons and color. It may seem childlike, but it's just my way of being carefree and letting go of all the intense responsibilities of life. We could all benefit from letting our inner child out for a bit of a romp once in a while.

3. Write — Writing isn't just for those who want it as a career. It feels wonderful to let out thoughts, feelings and just to vent when you're upset. And documenting these experiences is very valuable... think about a year from now when you can go back and re-live your day and see how much you've grown and matured. And it doesn't have to be a public blog. You can always just keep a hand-written journal for your eyes only.

4. Exercise for you — At one point I tried to lose weight so an ex boyfriend would take me back. I began taking diet pills and working out and lost about 20 pounds, but he didn't take a second glance at me. So I quit the pills and I gained all the weight back. I learned the hard way, you have to do things for yourself. Exercise is good for you, but it is a personal choice and commitment. So make sure you do it for yourself.

5. Be kind — When life is already a challenging thing, why in the world should we be mean or rude to others? Hold doors open for people, even when it takes an extra four seconds out of your day. Let someone cut in front of you while driving, or just smile and say hello as you pass someone on the street. There's nothing wrong with reaching out to another human being and making them feel good.

6. Learn to be alone — I lived in Georgia for nearly two years by myself and I didn't have a life other than my work at the newspaper. During that time, I learned how to be happy with myself. In my small, cold cabin I learned to cook for myself, clean for myself, be independent and not need to depend on others for a good time. And now that I have moved to a more social setting, I know exactly who I am and I can appreciate being on my own rather than be afraid of it. I highly reccomend it.

7. Learn to cook — OK, I get it. You hate to cook, or you've never even been able to make a pack of Ramen successfully. Well, now is the time to start branching out. Everyone needs to know at least the basics. You can't just open a can of soup for the rest of your life. Besides, if you learn to make at least one amazing meal, you can have dinner parties, or cook for friends and family and look like a total rock star.

8. Let it be — This is my motto for life. Don't hold on to past mistakes, or feel regret for anything you've done. You can't travel back in time to change it, so all you can do is accept it. So when you are faced with challenges in 2014, if they aren't fixable, just let it be.

9. Spend time with friends and family — I moved two different times this year, so my family and friends have been especially good to me in 2013. Spending time with your family may not have been cool in high school, but it sure feels cool when you're a grown up and start to realize how important they are to you. It's also important not to let your career or romantic relationships consume your life. You've got to have friends sometimes for that extra support. So be sure you have some nearby friends in your life, because they're one staple in your life you wouldn't want to be without.

10. Be grateful — We all like to complain about drama, stress and all the inconveniences of our lives, but seldom do we ever step back and realize what all we have. Yes, paying bills may be hard, but at least you have a job. Groceries are expensive, but at least you have food. Your boyfriend may be messy, but at least you have someone who loves you. There are so many blessings in disguise that we all have. I believe we all need to take a look at our lives as 2014 begins, and truly take the time to be thankful for what all we have. We are truly blessed.