Let’s be honest. How many of us diligently pen down our resolutions in the last few days of the year and successfully spend the next 365 days sticking to them?
In fact, Bing tracked a 48 percent increase in users searching for “calendars and planners” in January* – clearly indicating how planning for the rest of the year is on most people’s minds.
But perhaps 2017 is the year for you to finally make a resolution and keep it. We asked Bing what searches saw a surge at the start of the year in Asia and rounded up actionable tips on how to NOT break your resolutions.
#10: Go on an adventure (by exploring new countries)
We all want to travel and discover the world as much as possible but sometimes, life gets in the way.
Plan your trips in advance using the Skyscanner and Hipmunk chatbots on Skype to get flight and travel suggestions based on preferences like location and date. Add the bot into your group chat with friends so all your travel buddies can be in the loop.
After that is done, look for travel advice using apps such as TripAdvisor to create your itinerary. To preserve those precious travel memories, create an online scrapbook using Sway and share your adventures. Get inspired by a Sway on ‘Once upon a time in Italy’!
#9: It’s time to break up…with your bad habits
We know, bad habits are hard to break (if only resolutions are, too!) but it is not impossible. We often stick to our bad habits subconsciously and having constant reminders can help us.
And since we spend a great deal of our time in front of our laptops and tablets these days, why not use Cortana, the personal assistant for Windows 10, to set reminders to follow a new routine. There, a simple and effective way to quit your bad habit, without any human intervention.
#8: Say I ❤️ You More
You can never be too busy to make time for people who matter – even if it is just a simple phone call or text message. For those with friends and families living abroad, don’t let overseas call charges hold you back. Skype video calls or instant messaging are always free, and with Skype Translator, language is no longer a barrier and you can now converse in your preferred tongue with your friends!
If you are better at text messaging, try using Swiftmoji for perfect emoji predictions based on what you’ve typed to send a quick ✏️➡❣
#7: Having more me time (because you deserve it)
Between work, family and friends, it can be difficult to find time to focus on yourself and do the things you enjoy. Take baby steps in 2017 by creating a daily ritual to do something you can look forward to and commit a minimum of 15 minutes of personal time every day.
Whether it is getting quality sleep, reading a new book or getting a massage, setting aside time to pamper yourself is a good way to reflect, recharge and destress from our modern hectic lifestyles. In fact, searches for unique hobbies like gardening increased by close to 15 percent in January according to Bing.
#6: Volunteer in the new year
Stepping out of your comfort zone to volunteer is a great opportunity to give back to the community. Start off by looking at organizations and choosing one (or more) whose goals and missions resonate with you and get in touch with them to find out how you can get involved. To make this resolution stick, gather a bunch of friends and volunteer together!
#5: Get in shape (and lose weight)
This tends to be on a lot of people’s minds every single year. There are plenty of fitness classes and diet programs available to help you reach your fitness goals, but if you are not into workouts, there are other ways you can exercise while having fun. Playing video games that get you to be active, such as Just Dance or Dance Central on Xbox One, is a great way to burn those calories too.
And while most people get easily inspired to start an exercise or diet program, the challenge is always about how to stay motivated and track your progress. Apps such as Microsoft Health that provide insights into how our physical activity benefits our overall health are great tools to help keep us on track and improve our fitness levels.
#4: Go green
We can all play a part in taking care of our environment by making simple lifestyle changes. For instance, make it a habit to bring along reusable bags when grocery shopping or bring your own water bottle when you are exercising.
At work, use tools such as OneNote to sketch out your big idea and work in sync with your colleagues on Office 365 with OneDrive. There are tools on Office that allow multiple people ‘co-author’ on documents in real-time, which reduces the need to print out stacks and stacks of documents.
#3: Learn from Tom Ford (by being organized and sticking to it)
Renowned fashion designer Tom Ford is known in the industry to be organized down to the minute, and having his schedule planned a year in advance. This helps him devote time to his extra-curricular endeavour in film. One habit that highly organized people have is reading and addressing emails daily – and you can, too! There are many readily available tools, such as Microsoft MyAnalytics (that helps you with learning how effectively you are spending your time) and Focused Inbox in Outlook (that aggregates important emails in a separate tab).
Even better, reduce the trail of email by moving your work to Microsoft Teams, where you can consolidate your projects and work better with your immediate team without having to catch up on a gazillion emails every day.
In addition, a cluttered desk or messy room can have a negative impact on our mood. Make it a habit to put everything where it belongs and clear paper piles off your desks. Don’t forget your virtual workstation – always back up your data and declutter your inbox.
#2: Be a millionaire (by starting small)
Benjamin Franklin once said: “Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.” The first step to saving money is to record your expenses. By tracking your spending, you will be able to stick to a budget and therefore SAVE. Apps such as Spending Tracker help you keep track of expenses easily.
Once you have an idea of your monthly expenditure, create a budget sheet to see how your expenses measure against your income. There are many easy-to-use tools that can help, such as Microsoft Excel’s special templates for personal finance and tools such as Financial Vision and Budget Wheel.
#1: Pick up a new skill (and be recession-proof)
New year, new you, new skill? Whether it’s learning a new language or trying out a new sport, spending your free time constructively is always better than sitting around doing nothing.
LinkedIn recently unveiled the top skills of 2016 and the good news is, you can learn these skills easily through various LinkedIn learning platforms. If you prefer to do so in the comfort of your own home, tools such as Paint 3D preview and Microsoft’s online coding classes are great for those looking to hone their creative or technology skills. Who knows, picking up a new skill might just open new doors for your career.
Of course, there is no elevator to success. Be forgiving when you miss a workout or make an impulse purchase. Slip-ups along the way are perfectly fine – just don’t give up! Remember, you are not alone and we are always here to help.
*Based on Bing’s search traffic from December 2015 to January 2016 across Asia-Pacific markets (Australia, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam).