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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 January 2019

Here are 9 UAE-specific New Year's resolutions for 2019

Whatever your stance on New Year’s resolutions, here are some goals we suggest residents should aim for in 2019

With a new year comes time to set new goals. Kushnum Bhandari / The National
With a new year comes time to set new goals. Kushnum Bhandari / The National

New Year’s resolutions are funny things. While they are almost always made with good ­intentions, putting off doing something you’ve been wanting to achieve until January 1 each year can often look a lot like an excuse wrapped in tradition. But, whatever your stance on them is, there’s no denying that the turn of a new year brings with it a fresh perspective. Whether you label them as resolutions or not, aligning your goals for the 12 months ahead – even just in a fleeting thought – can help to centre you and start your year on the right foot. Even if you’re not setting yourself any official resolutions, we think there are some things that all UAE residents should try to incorporate into their plans for 2019. Here are nine resolutions worth sticking to.

1) Do something you’ve never done

People enjoying the Jet ski and fly boarding during the hot and humid weather at the Jumeirah beach in Dubai. ( Pawan Singh / The National ) 
Why not try ski and fly boarding? Pawan Singh / The National

It’s almost impossible to keep up with everything that is happening in the UAE, so discovering people, places and experiences comes with the territory. But how often do we come upon exciting opportunities and actually embrace them? Whether it’s finally giving fly- boarding a go, or putting yourself out there at a MeetUp group you have been meaning to go to, there’s no better place to open yourself up to new encounters.

2) Take a staycation

Rendering of The Pointe retail, dining and entertainment complex on Palm Jumeirah. Courtesy Nakheel
The Palm Jumeirah. Courtesy Nakheel

One of the great draws of the UAE is its co-ordinates. We are within easy reach of some of the world’s most beautiful destinations, so naturally, the urge to travel is all-encompassing. But every once in a while, take some time to explore your immediate surroundings. There’s a lot to be said for foregoing the hassle of a flight, checking yourself into one of the (many) luxurious hotels the UAE has to offer, and falling back in love with the country you currently call home.

3) Be more tolerant

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed meets Pope Francis in Rome in September 2016. The two will meet again in Abu Dhabi in 2019. Ryan Carter / Crown Prince Court - Abu Dhabi 
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and Pope Francis in Rome in 2016. Ryan Carter / Crown Prince Court - Abu Dhabi

The President, Sheikh Khalifa, officially declared 2019 the Year of Tolerance for the UAE, and this is a resolution we could all do well to get behind. The country is set to position itself as the global capital of tolerance over the coming months, and that starts with its residents. Whether it’s in our communities or in the workplace, embracing new cultures and opening ourselves up to alternative ways of thinking can help not only personal growth, but also create a more positive environment for creativity, friendship and ideas to bloom.

4) Realise it’s OK to say no

There's no harm in taking time for yourself and saying no once in a while. 
There's no harm in taking time for yourself and saying no once in a while.

The UAE is not known for its slow pace of life, and while it’s great to live in a fast-moving, dynamic country that offers endless opportunities, there is no shame in saying no to some of them. The work-hard, play-hard mentality, while fun, can easily spiral and lead us to feel burnt out, so knowing your limits and scheduling in me-time is vital to keep that balance. Don’t be ruled by the fear of missing out.

5) Be kinder to the environment

Sewage and piles of plastic bottles washed away by the water on the seaside of Ouzai, south of Beirut / AFP / JOSEPH EID
Resolve to help take part in a beach clean-up. AFP

The war on plastic gathered serious momentum in 2018, and this environmental awareness is something we should all aim to continue in 2019. Whether it’s taking small steps such as vowing to stop using straws or investing in a water filter, to something bigger such as taking part in a beach clean-up or starting to car pool, you will feel immediately positive knowing you are helping to preserve nature’s beauty for future generations.

6) Get out of your own neighbourhood

View of one of the old building in the Tourist Club area in Abu Dhabi. ( Pawan Singh / The National )
One of the old building in the Tourist Club area in Abu Dhabi. Pawan Singh / The National

The UAE is filled with dozens of vibrant neighbourhoods, with each pocket offering its own charm and character. And while there is a lot to be said for living in a self-contained area where everything you need is within easy walking distance, it can create a reluctancy to explore what other parts of the city have to offer. Finding amazing cafes or discovering new picnic spots can help to reignite your passion for living in the UAE, breaking old routines to allow new favourites in.

7) Go back to the basics

Try to live in the moment and be less dependent on your smartphone. AP photo
Try to live in the moment and be less dependent on your smartphone. AP photo

While smartphones make our lives infinitely easier, there is a growing threat of allowing them to take over – especially in the UAE. People ­document every part of their lives on social media, whether it’s where they have travelled, what they have bought, or what they have had for dinner – and it’s breeding a worrying trend of doing those things solely for that purpose. In 2019, try to put your phone away and get back to enjoying those ­experiences for what they are, without worrying about getting the perfect Instagram shot or how many likes your meal is going to get.

8) Explore the Middle East

Petra, Jordan. 
Take a trip to Petra, Jordan.

We know we said taking a staycation should be on your 2019 to-do list, but there’s also plenty of scope for exploring the Middle East. With so much history, culture and untrodden territory among our neighbouring countries, taking a long weekend to discover those things can be an incredibly enriching and humbling experience. Some of the world’s most historically significant sites, such as Petra in Jordan (pictured), surround us – find the time to explore.

9) Enjoy being outside while you can

Abu Dhabi’s mangroves. Alex Atack for The National. 
Abu Dhabi’s mangroves. Alex Atack for The National.

Don’t put off that morning run or turn down a table outside, because once the summer arrives, so will that familiar longing for fresh air. There are so many ways to take advantage of the cooler months, and living in a place where you can only spend five months of the year enjoying the great outdoors means it’s not something to take for granted. So grab your trainers, your sunglasses and your sense of adventure, and enjoy that vitamin D.

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Updated: December 31, 2018 06:08 PM

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