As the new year rolls around many people turn their thoughts to a new year’s resolution for self and life improvement. We think this is the perfect time to draw inspiration from MacGyver to find some simple and achievable changes you can make to start your new year off on the right foot. Let us know your New Year’s resolution in the comments below.
1. Declutter and simplify
In a world continually pushing us to buy, replace and upgrade, it’s very easy to accumulate large amounts of “waste products” which sit in draws, boxes, wardrobes, on shelves, and just generally clutters our lives. Although he was a self-proclaimed “pack rat”, one of MacGyver’s biggest traits was simplicity. He didn’t keep buying clothes every week or constantly upgrading to the latest this or that. He had things he needed and used regularly and only replaced if it was more practical than repairing. This trait can be applied to our lives to create a much happier living environment for ourselves. Depending on the amount of stuff you have this task in itself can be quite daunting, but that’s because we make the mistake of trying to sort it out and deciding if we want to keep it or not. Be brutal, be ruthless. Make it a clean fresh start. Put all your family keepsakes and important items to one side and for anything else, if you haven’t used it in the last 6-12 months throw it out (or donate it to community/good-will stores if it’s in good condition).
2. Health and Wellness
MacGyver had a healthy lifestyle. He liked to exercise, spend copious amounts of time out in nature, and was careful about what he ate. These are 3 things most of us are badly lacking in our hectic, over-connected, over-processed lifestyles. So making this a priority seems like a very good idea and it’s not that hard to do. Things like taking a walk at lunchtime, preparing packed lunches of fresh food or even just healthy sandwiches, and making sure to get some Disconnected Down Time and outside time in nature are all simple changes that can make a big difference and help you to achieve this New Years goal.
3. Think Critically
Critical thinking is analyzing and evaluating things based on factual information. MacGyver was always doing this and always looking to use critical thinking to learn and understand the world around him. He used his knowledge of science to analyze and find conclusions based on facts rather than blindly follow or believe what someone else told him, and if it was something he didn’t know about he researched and learned about it. We have access to the entire world’s knowledge from the palm of our hands via smartphones/devices and live in the most information-rich time in human history, so there’s really no better time to follow MacGyver’s lead and research and learn about things, to examine all possible sides of an idea before making our own decision based on the actual available facts. This doesn’t mean looking at what people on social media tell you or even what news sites say. It means looking for the source of the information and citation in articles and then following the knowledge trail. The quest for knowledge is a great habit to get into as well because the more we learn and understand about our world, the more interesting it is.
4. Environmental Awareness
The environment and nature were never far away from MacGyver with regular episodes revolving around various aspects of environmentalism and with climate change now in our face, protecting our planet is more important than ever. It may even seem overwhelming with all the bad news we keep hearing and seeing, but there are simple steps we can all take without having to become environmental activists. Just making simple changes such as recycling as much of your waste as possible, composting food scraps if you have somewhere to do it, choosing environmentally friendly products and materials, putting yours and other’s trash in the bin when you’re out and about all make a difference and help to put us into the mindset of thinking about the impact our actions are having on our world.
5. Conservation Awareness
Like environmental awareness, conservation was never far away from MacGyver but you don’t need to be out saving bears, tracking wolves or chasing rhino poaches to achieve this new year’s resolution. If you want to be a bit more hands-on you could try making your back yard or common area an animal-friendly zone with things like hanging birdseed bowls or nesting boxes, or if you want to be even more hands-on you can get involved with a local organization or municipal project.
MacGyver was a great believer in giving his time to help people, and volunteering was one of the ways he did it. We regularly saw him involved in the challengers club in later seasons, but even in the pilot episode, he was involved in a “Big Brother’ program helping kids. There’s no shortage of community projects you can help with; food banks, soup kitchens, goodwill stores, community centers, churches are all good places to offer assistance, and giving time to something you think is worthwhile is good for your “inner well-being” and soul. It builds a sense of worth and pride in yourself.
7. Manners and Courtesy
It sounds pretty simple but in this world where manners and courtesy are in rapid decline and we’re bombarded with rudeness and disdain everywhere we look, it’s a sad fact that we need to refocus ourselves on being civil to each other. Things like stopping to let someone go through a door ahead of you, standing aside to let less-able people, prams, trolleys, etc get past you, saying please and thank you – all very simple things which can have a huge impact on the other person. Manners and courtesy cost nothing at all but they tell people that you think of them either equally or ahead of yourself – it shows you have empathy and care for your fellow humans and will gain respect from those around you and internal gratification and pride in knowing you’ve been nice to someone and setting an example. The old saying of treat others the way you would like to be treated is a good motto to work by and certainly something MacGyver strived for.
Mindfulness refers to noticing your internal and external experiences in the present moment, being aware of your surroundings, knowing who and what is around you, how your feeling, and why, and being aware of how your actions and reactions affect the people and environment around you – something MacGyver was very good at. He very seldom lost his cool, he instead focused on the situation he was in. Finding a solution if one was needed, enjoying himself if the situation permitted. Being focused on the here and now rather than what will happen or has happened is a great way of removing future-based anxieties and past based tensions, and will put you into a much healthier mind space to be able to get the most from, and enjoy your life.
These are just a few ideas for you to play with and use as a possible catalyst for your own New Years Resolutions. You will probably be able to find other examples of things from MacGyver which spark ideas for you as well. A good idea is to choose resolutions according to your core values instead of specific goals. This will maintain your motivation for longer because you are engaging in activities that are meaningful and important to you.
MacGyvering Your Life is a regular series looking at ways we can incorporate aspects of MacGyer’s values, ethics, and mindset into our own lives. we encourage feedback and discussion via the comments section below and if you would like to contribute with your own article you can contact us here.