The 21st-century 20-something

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

You say you want a resolution

Happy New Year!

I thoroughly enjoy this time of year when people seem to be much more positive and optimistic about
life because of the 'fresh start' the New Year brings.

For the past few weeks, I have found myself saying "I'm going to quit that for New Year's" or "That's going to be my New Year's resolution" and now the day is here - and I've already epically failed at everything.

Then I started to realize that it's not as much about giving something up or changing one specific thing as it is about making a concerted effort to work toward goals you have in life and not expect it do be done in 2014.

I've also come to the conclusion that it's better to have lots of small 'resolutions' that are maintainable, than one or two that are unrealistic and will be distant memories by Friday. For example, if you say "I'm going to quit smoking for New Year's" - all that pressure makes you want to do is have a cigarette, right? So while that's something you're working on in life in general, a more realistic 'resolution' would be - "I'm going to stop chewing with my mouth open." Because that's disgusting.

Here's some simple things you can do:

Put the damn cell phone away. Any time you are in the presence of other human beings, interact with them. It should come pretty naturally. Beside the fact it is so rude to be on your phone when someone is trying to have a conversation with you.

Read a book. Ya know, they're small, hand-held bundles of pages with words typed on them. They are far more interesting than whatever video game you were just playing, I promise. In fact, read a few books. I don't care if it's the Harry Potter series or Dr. Suess. Stimulate your brain. I am definitely going to do this, and am open to book suggestions!

Stop drinking soda. I really can not think of a more useless and mediocre tasting beverage than soda.  When you drink soda, you are doing nothing more than rotting your teeth and consuming empty calories. And it doesn't even quench your thirst. I say ditch it and replace it with homemade iced tea, fresh juices or good old-fashioned water.

Clean out your car/bedroom/personal space. This is one of my favorites types of 'resolutions' because it it's a one and done. You can do it, get it over with and feel totally accomplished and satisfied with yourself. And always without fail you will find something that you've been looking for for a very long time but no longer have any use for. But you will also probably find something you forgot you have that you can find a new use for. Don't you love when that happens?

Listen to new music. This is easy and painless. Usually. I very strongly encourage people to branch out and listen to some new styles of music or even new bands in genres you already like. Everybody likes music, so it can't hurt to explore something you already like, right? There are tons of sites where you can find lists of musicians similar to ones or already like, or you could do what I do and get on YouTube. Let me know if you find anything good I love new music suggestions!

Volunteer. I know, it's so terribly difficult to take time out of your busy life and DVR schedule to help others in need, but you can do it, I know you've got it in you. I haven't volunteered in years and I really would like to start again. For those of you who say you're too busy or aren't interested, there are several volunteer opportunities that are also one and done. I promise even if the thought of volunteering makes you want to stab your eyeballs with freshly sharpened pencils, you will feel a sense of fulfillment and appreciation after you do something selfless. Places like soup kitchens, Habitat for Humanity, local veterans outreach centers and health organizations are always in need of volunteers, and I bet you will meet some interesting people. And if you dislike most people like I do, there's always the Humane Society!

Eat salad. Everyone always says they want to lose weight for New Year's, but most people fail because they go about it the wrong way; including myself. You try to cut out entire food groups, vow to go the gym every single day and spend all kinds of money on fresh produce and workout clothes. Then two weeks later you're sobbing in line at the McDonald's drive through. So my suggestion is, instead of taking all of that on at once, just make a little change. Have one salad a week. I personally like salad, but like most people, when I'm really hungry that's not on the top of my list of things to eat, so I couldn't do it every single day. But no matter what, if you replace a meal with a salad each week, it can only help you.

Walk around. This can go hand-in-hand with the weight loss resolution but without making it so demanding. When I was a teenager I used to walk around my city all of the time, and now at 25 I get winded just thinking about those endless summer walks. But I think it would be interesting if you, and maybe a friend, found a local park, neighborhood or downtown area to just walk around and look at what's there. Stop in some stores you've never been in to or walk down a street you've never been on (as long as it's not a dark alley, and it's not 2 a.m.). This way you're actually exploring your own city and getting exercise. Can I get a 'woot-woot' for the twofer?

Random acts of kindness. This is my favorite because it's such an easy thing to do and usually has an impact that you will never even realize. When you give someone a compliment or help them without prompting - they often remember that and think about that after the fact. Something that didn't seem like a big deal to you, may have really made someones day or changed the way they look at people. Whether you want to pay for the person behind you at Dunkin' or tell a co-worker she looks nice in that dress - randoms acts of kindness are beautiful and should happen all day, every day.

Please feel free to leave comments with some more 'mini-resolution' ideas. They would be much appreciated as I'm making a list - and I want it to be a long one.


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