It’s the end of the year. Christmas and Hanukkah are over, and New Year’s approaches. We’re putting away the tree, cleaning up the presents, and determinedly trying to finish all those cookies before our diet starts on January 1st.

Even if I don’t directly say it, part of my New Year’s resolution is always—always­—to lose some weight. Even if it never happens. Even if I tell everyone my resolution is to finish my novel or travel to Italy or successfully learn to stand on my head while singing the National Anthem, at some point in the process, I tell myself this is the year I’m going to do it. I’m going to lose 10 pounds.

Why?

For me, it’s vacation with my family, exceptionally good food, and being so busy exercise gets the boot. I consume a massive number of calories between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, which also happens to be my father’s birthday (birthday cake on top of Christmas cookies!) By January 1st, I’m ready to cut back and get healthy. New year, new start, new me.

And that’s what all the corporations want you to do. They want you to try and make a better version of yourself in the new year—particularly if that means buying into their diet plans and exercise equipment.

I’m not saying that being healthy isn’t a bad resolution. But what if becoming a better version of yourself isn’t just adhering to the latest fad diet? I think there’s more to it than that. And there’s definitely more to it than buying into the corporate version of the New and Improved You.

Instead, as the end of the year comes closer, perhaps we should embrace spirit of the season. The giving and hope that get our burnt-out, whining butts through the holidays. This time of year, we’re encouraged to give back to our community. We donate a dollar to the Salvation Army, ringing a bell outside Target. We collect cans to donate to food drives. We take pity on those poor starving animals on the commercials.

Why does it all stop at New Year’s?

While turning over a new leaf in the new year, perhaps we should embrace the spirit of the season. Perhaps we should all make a resolution to become kinder people. People who give back to the community, people who go out of their way to help others, who take a person’s feelings into consideration when making decisions. This, to me, is the definition of improving as a person.

The world doesn’t need more people dissatisfied with their bodies. It needs kindness.

Whatever the holidays mean to you, whether tradition is key or whether you break from it, I’d like to bring thoughts back to the spirit of giving that surround our holiday season. Regardless of what holidays you celebrate (or don’t celebrate), the spirit of giving is something most people can appreciate in some way. It’s important to stop and remember those that are less fortunate than yourself.

This year, make a resolution you can keep. Do something nice. Even if it’s once a week, or once a month. Go out of your way to help someone, donate to a charity, or even just give someone a compliment. Being kind pays back tenfold.

And then you don’t have to make an excuse to eat cookies.

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