With the New Year picking up pace faster than a speeding bullet, applying the myriad of life changes that we had planned to make ourselves awesome in the New Year can often be a daunting task. Applying a few simple sideways shifts is a great compromise and can actually be all you need as you head down the road to self-improvement.

1. Go Local
Being part of your community is a fabulous way to improve how you spend your hard earned cash, both ethically and consciously. Go to local farmers’ markets, check packaging and labels for “Made in the USA.” Being aware of where your money goes is the first step in improving the lives of people around you, and subsequently, yourself.

2. The Social Impact of Everything
Everything you do, consume and contribute to has some sort of social impact – make sure it’s a good one! Take one napkin not two at lunch, buy from companies who support local charities, set a goal each morning do one little thing that will positively impact your society and you will reap the rewards back in spades.

3. Set Real Expectations
Be real about the people and experiences around you. We are often impulsively quick to judge our partners, colleagues, and the people we pass in the street based on our own expectations that have sometimes been with us since childhood. People are different! Let go of the expectations that you are holding over others and you’ll be able to breathe a big sigh of relief rather than creating unnecessary stress that upsets not only yourself, but those you impose your judgements over.

4. Live Plastic Free (The Environment is Your Friend)
We don’t need plastic! Bring your own mug to work or Starbucks, pack a reusable lunchbag and stop buying products that use plastic when it really isn’t necessary. Plastic is polluting our world at alarming rates, when you chose to go plastic free, or at least reduce your plastic consumption you are elevating yourself as a human being. Really!

5. Give Back
Literally – give back. Give a dollar to a homeless person, buy an apple for the guy who stands at the lights every day. Cook a cake for your neighbor. Carry someone’s groceries to their car. Invite people over for dinner to share with. Giving makes you feel seriously great, improves your character and is guaranteed to make you smile for the rest of the day.

6. Volunteer
Everyone has an hour. Everyone. Do something awesome with it! Coach basketball at the Y, give an hour of service to a local library, deliver hot meals to the elderly, or sort through clothing at a thrift store. Giving is at the heart of being a better person – so start letting go of “your time” by giving it to others – you’ll feel awesome and be energized to do more for others too.