One of my favorite holidays of the year is almost upon us. New Year.

It isn’t my favorite just because of the amazing food that I scarf down for my traditional, southern New Year’s Day meal. I also love the start of a new year because I like new beginnings. Not to say that I need January 1st to begin anew or make positive changes, but sometimes it helps when everyone is starting afresh together with resolutions and a new look at the twelve months ahead (even if those resolutions only last for a week).

The only thing about New Year’s Day that irks me is that I can never think of a good enough resolution. I racked my brain this year to think of something interesting that I could potentially stick to for at least a month, and I decided to share my ideas with TOL readers.  So here are a few ways to start off 2014 right.

1. Make a small statement every time you shop.

Whatever your cause is, find a way to support it in small ways that matter. Just make sure you do your research so that your support makes the impact that you want it to rather than just padding a company’s pocketbook by tacking on a little pink ribbon to their product. For instance, when I can make a choice of where to shop or what company to patronize, I consider the HRC’s buying guide because LGBT equality is one of the causes most important to me.

2. Free yourself from something that hinders your personal happiness and liberty.

Whether it is negative comments from family members about your weight or nagging friends who take out their diet anxieties on your mid-day cookie, free yourself from the undue stress on you making your own damn choice. This isn’t to say ignore all well-intentioned or concerned loved ones, but the new year is a good time to reevaluate intentions and effects of some of the smaller occurrences of daily life.

3. Learn about the intricacies and importance of liberty-based ideals on a continuing basis.

Whether it is brushing up on your first amendment knowledge or enrolling in a modern political philosophy class ( I’m taking my first one this semester 🙂 ), add a little bit of principle knowledge to your thoughts. It is a great way to challenge your traditional ways of thinking, grow your debating skills, and avoid repeating rhetoric without fully understanding it.

4. Do something for yourself every day.

Take that 30-minute nap that you really want (or need). Go to the gym for your evening run and unwind. Read a really great book (or blog 😉 ). Spend 10 minutes on the phone with an old friend. You only have 365 days this year. You should enjoy them.