12 simple non-resolutions to guide us gently through the New Year
The word resolution is charged and often intimidating. It almost sets us up for failure as we make grand plans and set overwhelming goals for the upcoming year. I know it does for me. There have been years where I've made grand resolutions and years I've made none. This year I plan to do something in-between.
In just six months I turn 50 - the big Five Oh, and most of the past six months have been plagued with fear and loathing. I can't promise myself that the rest won't be. There's a lot I cannot control but there's also a lot that I can, most of which stems from my own attitude and mindset. Let's face it, I need to start thinking much more positively. I've been so heavily focused on all that I haven't, don't have and am not, that I need to switch it around to see all that I have and am. Of course, this is more easily said than done, but I vow to record one positive thing that happens every day. Even on the worst of all day, there's got to be at least one good thing that happened. I will try to turn the negatives into positives, somehow. It could be as simple as turning it into a lesson learned.
The time is now, not yesterday, not tomorrow. As this last year has shown us, we have no idea how many tomorrows we will have and we have to stop procrastinating. In order to be our best, we also need to take better care of ourselves so that we don't become overwhelmed and exhausted. Following are 12 really simple things that we can all do to make our days, weeks, months and year more meaningful. I promise to lead by example.
1. Slow Down
It's that simple. Haste makes waste. It makes us careless and often causes us to overlook the obvious and answers that tend to be right in front of us. However you can slow down, do.
2. Read More
I have a mountain of books by my bedside table. I love books but admittedly I don't read as much as I'd like to or should. I read plenty for work, but I don't take enough time to read for leisure. Even if it's just 20 minutes a day, I will carve out time. One of my favorite places to read is in the bathtub. It's the only time and place where I can have 20 minutes of complete undistracted alone time. I fill the tub with my favorite bubbles and open up my dog-eared book. Who needs a spa?
Take an hour and walk away from all those devices. If you can take more, do so. Because I use social media heavily for work I am guilty of not unplugging enough. When I bring my book into the tub (see above) I always keep my phone in another room.
4. Take 20
Every day take 20 minutes solely for you. My 20 minutes are usually spent in the tub but knowing that this is not always possible I have gotten into the habit of enjoying the peaceful early morning hours. I am admittedly a morning person so this is fairly easy for me. My kids are all up long after I've expired for the day and so finding the quiet time at the end of the day just doesn't seem to happen anymore. My favorite time of the day is in the early morning - I make my cappuccino and settle on the couch where the TV hums quietly in the background and out my large bay window I can watch the sunrise. I generally allow myself 30-60 minutes of quiet time in the morning, then I have to wake the kids (6:30) and all hell breaks loose!
If exercise isn't really your thing, ease into it gracefully. To dream of suddenly becoming a marathon runner or triathlete after years of being sedentary might not be the best idea. Start out by taking slow meaningful walks and gradually adjust your distance or pace. It's cold where I live and gyms are offering great deals including lots of trial offers this time of year. Now is the time to think about changing up or adding to your repertoire - curious about yoga, pilates, barre, Zumba or spinning? There are loads of gyms offering all or some of these many of which will invite you to try out a new activity for free or a greatly reduced rate.
6. Learn Something New
We can all stand to learn something new. Learn a new language, how to use a sewing machine, arrange flowers, play tennis, dance the Samba... whatever it is that interests you, give it a shot.
7. Write it down
Instead of creating a To Do list which in itself can be hugely rewarding, why not create a list of all that you have done. You'll see your accomplishments on the page. Any accomplishment, no matter how small, is an accomplishment in my book. This is the perfect time to start a journal. Not a huge writer? Try a Bullet Journal. This is just as it sounds - a journal comprised solely on bullet points.
You don't need to go anywhere exotic or even terribly far. Traveling can simply mean hopping in your car and driving a couple of hours away. Go someplace new and take a look around and see the new landscape, meet new people, sample new food. Or be a tourist in your own hometown or local city. Pick up a guide book and revisit some favorite spots or some of those places you've been meaning to get to but haven't. Many libraries have passes, free and discounted, to local museums and areas of attraction.
9. Create a vision board/book
Vision boards are all the rage among designers and creative types. Many many years ago I had read someplace that if you can visualize your future you have a better chance of bringing those dreams to fruition. I created a vision book the year my divorce became final. It was interesting to see how much of what was in those pages manifested into real life. If you have the space you can create a board, but I like the idea of creating a book and filling the blank pages with images, sort of like an illustrated journal as opposed to a written one. Bookstores often have great sales on blank notebooks this time of year.
There are very few of us who couldn't stand to benefit from this. I will elaborate on this topic shortly, but in the meantime, throw away 10 things a day. Just 10 items, it's that simple. (Of course, if you have more by all means....)
11. Lose the negativity
No matter how positive and upbeat we all try to be, the blues or angry reds seem to find ways to infiltrate. To make sure this doesn't happen often learn to give your negative situation a positive spin. If you can't just tell yourself that tomorrow is another day.
12. Stop giving a F@ck!
I think this gets easier with age.... and as I'm getting older I am giving many fewer F@cks... and it feels so good!
*All Images not mine were found on Pinterest, source Tumblr