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57 Small Things to Do for Yourself This Coming Year

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Day 28 of 30 Days of Thoughtful Giving: start something small.

Raise your hand if you're already worried about drifting from your new year's resolution.

Photo by James Ransom

The thing with resolutions is that they can be so huge (Run a marathon! Learn to cook! Travel more!) that they can be hard to keep them, let alone benefit from their everyday effects. This year, we're condensing some of our biggest resolutions into smaller, achievable goals that are as rewarding as they are enjoyable. Here are 57 small things to do for yourself in 2016:

1. Cook with red wine—then drink the rest of the bottle with dinner.

Photo by James Ransom

2. Make a beautiful meal, even if you have no one to feed but yourself.

3. Make homemade chicken or vegetable broth whenever you have the chance. (Don't let your food—or money—go to waste!)

4. Buy yourself at least one piece of cookware you love and will use often.

5. Order take-out when necessary—then try to make your order from scratch, at home, the next week.

Homemade Takeout: Panda Express-Style Orange Chicken
Homemade Takeout: Panda Express-Style Orange Chicken

6. Keep portioned servings of pasta sauce in the refrigerator for nights when you just can't even.

7. Cook something you never thought you could cook before.

8. Invite a completely new person over for dinner—a new coworker, your neighbor—and share your favorite dish with them.

9. When making salad dressing, splurge and use high-quality olive oil.

10. Exchange more recipes with friends and family.

11. Take the time to perfect and tweak a recipe until it's exactly how you want it.

12. Treat yourself to a cookbook—then make a feast of the five most delicious-sounding recipes.

Pesto Can Heal Your Wounds and Dress Your Salads
Pesto Can Heal Your Wounds and Dress Your Salads

13. Make a roast chicken for a Sunday lunch and wash it down with a glass of rosé.

14. Host a dinner where you spend twice as long talking at the table as you did preparing it.

15. Create a dish that you become known for.

16. Do things backwards once in a while: Eat burgers in the winter and braise in the summer.

17. Eat seasonally whenever possible.

18. Cook yourself a lunch so good you look forward to it all morning.

19. Celebrate a holiday you've never celebrated before, even if it's not from your own culture.

Chinese Peanut Cookies for the Lunar New Year (& All Year Long)
Chinese Peanut Cookies for the Lunar New Year (& All Year Long)

20. Once in a while, splurge and cook with only the best ingredients—homemade broth, farmers market vegetables, and locally raised animals.

21. Go to a restaurant you've been looking forward to trying, then maximize the experience by drawing inspiration from the best things they serve you.

22. Cook what you want—even if the occasion calls for something else.

23. Learn to master your favorite cocktail.

24. The next time you have a snack, make your hummus from scratch and season it exactly how you like it. (Double-garlic, here we come.)

The Chinese Sauce That Goes Well With Everything
The Chinese Sauce That Goes Well With Everything

25. Spend the time hunting down unfamiliar ingredients for a recipe you're excited about.

26. Whenever possible, eat dessert that's made in your own kitchen—it will often taste better and be better.

27. Get to know the farmers at your farmers market, and let them dictate your menu once in a while.

28. Have an indulgent night at home.

29. Make a go-to playlist to listen to while you cook dinner.

30. Invite a friend over to teach you how to make their favorite recipe.

31. Try new recipes to keep yourself out of cooking ruts.

33. Make yourself more cheese plates.

Why You Shouldn't Pair Cheese with Wine (Plus 10 Tips for Building a Better Cheese Plate)
Why You Shouldn't Pair Cheese with Wine (Plus 10 Tips for Building a Better Cheese Plate)

34. Give away the things you don't love and repurpose the things you do.

35. Don't underestimate the power of nostalgia—eat like a kid sometimes.

36. Leave some meals up to chance—dive into your crisper drawer or let someone else pick your ingredients and see what comes of it.

37. Cook dinner at home at least two nights during the work week.

38. Save your oldest, softest shirts for sleeping—not oil splatters. Invest in an apron.

39. Ask your parents and grandparents about their favorite recipes, record them, then actually make them.

40. When you see a vegetable at the farmers market or grocery store that you've never cooked with, bring it home with you for dinner.

5 Tips for Finding Your Signature Beer
5 Tips for Finding Your Signature Beer

41. Play around with beer and wine pairings more often—you may find that you like your favorite food even more.

42. Reward yourself with mid-week fresh flowers.

43. Don't let your dishes stack up in the sink so that your kitchen is never not a place you want to be.

44. Spend at least 10 minutes in the morning eating breakfast—and not doing anything else.

45. Serve an appetizer that outshines the main event.

46. Eat more meals with your hands. And take care of those hands, too!

47. Make your favorite condiments at home.

Turn an Overload of Tomatoes into Homemade Ketchup
Turn an Overload of Tomatoes into Homemade Ketchup

48. Never throw away edible food.

49. Turn your favorite ice pop into a cocktail.

50. Preserve your favorite parts of the season so you can enjoy them months down the line.

51. Throw a dinner party where there are more people than chairs (that's what blankets are for).

52. Make lists of things you like.

53. When you have the time, grind your favorite spices so they're as fresh as possible.

54. Bake yourself a seriously delicious chocolate cake.

The Not-Too-Boring, Not-Too-Rich Chocolate Cake
The Not-Too-Boring, Not-Too-Rich Chocolate Cake

55. Eat outside whenever you can.

56. Take walks after dinner.

57. Keep fresh fruit in a bowl in your kitchen.

We originally ran this article last January, and brought it back to get a head-start on resolutions this coming year.

What are some of the little things you'll be doing for yourself in 2017? Tell us in the comments below!

Tags: Lists, Advice