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Tag Archives: new year’s resolutions
5 New Year’s Resolutions You Can Still Make (and Keep!)
I’m the first person to admit that I have never had much success at making new year’s resolutions, but even so I firmly believe that there is no right time to kick an old habit, start something new or think about the things you can do to improve your life. Self-improvement (much like your professional development) is your own project and there are certain simple things that you can start doing today (yes, today!) that in the long-run can lead to a happier and healthier existence.
Here are a few of my suggestions on some of the things you can do right now (yes, right now!) to feel happier, more relaxed and confident in your abilities.
- Practice gratitude, or if that sounds corny, commit to practicing happiness. Every night while you’re lying awake in bed trying to fall asleep, think of three things that gave you joy during the day instead of fretting over the things you can’t control. Better still, write them in your journal.
- Drink more water. You drink less water in the wintertime which can contribute to feelings of sluggishness, inattentiveness and fatigue. Pour yourself a glass every time you have a coffee or tea and then marvel at how you can stay awake through a whole movie on Netflix.
- Smile more. If you start smiling every time you say hello, you’ll realize how much you don’t actually smile, which is sad because many people believe it’s actually good for you.
- Be okay with having a good cry once in awhile. We’re so focused on avoiding negative emotions that we forget that releasing them can actually feel good and dare I say it? Cathartic. Pretending you aren’t in a bad mood doesn’t make things easier so if you’re feeling it, let it out. Your reasons for feeling a certain way aren’t always reasonable but your emotions are there regardless and therefore still have validity. Embrace your melancholy, have a good cry, and then move on with your life.
- Stop being a flake. For some of you it may be hard to imagine a time when you couldn’t text someone last minute to bail on plans. During ye olden times if you ditched someone you’d be leaving them alone at a table in a restaurant or stranded at a bus stop. Friends don’t do that to friends right? Make a commitment to do something fun and do it. You may surprise yourself and actually have a good time.
What are some of the simple resolutions you’re trying to put in place this year? Tell us below, or email your strategies to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this day and age we place so many demands ourselves that sometimes even going about our day-to-day lives is exhausting. As a person who likes to keep busy, I find myself struggling to stay balanced. You can follow my journey here, or click here or here to find more ways to streamline your life to keep it simple.
Stop Talking About What You Need to Do
I normally love the holidays but personal circumstances left me feeling a little low this past season. I found myself getting irritated a lot more easily with the people around me and the tasks I had at hand. Like many people, I was feeling overwhelmed and stressed out until I realized, there was nothing left to do. I was all set for Christmas. The stress that I was feeling was coming from other people and I was taking it on as if it were my own.
In fact, when I think back to the month of December, every time I felt frustrated or panicky was when I was talking to my friends and family about all of the things that were on our to-do lists.
I love my friends and family, obviously, and I love helping them out but I realized that talking about all of the stuff that needed to get done wasn’t actually helping anyone out at all. Not only was I subconsciously taking on other people’s tasks as my own, but we weren’t even doing any of the things that we said we were going to do. We were just talking about it.
And sure, it feels good to talk things out and get a clear picture in your head of what needs to be done. Or maybe you find it helpful to get another opinion about your plan of attack. But the more we talked about what needed to be done, the more we talked about it, and the more we put it off. Strategies were formed, dissolved and discussed over and over again. It felt like we were being productive and we weren’t. We were wasting precious time and it was making us even more stressed out.
Even though I don’t make New Year’s resolutions (at least, ones that stick), this year I’m enforcing a new rule on my life: do the s#&! you say you’re going to do. Don’t talk about it; just do it. (Nike has been saying it for years, so it must be true, right?)
I mean, we can still talk. It’s good to check in with friends and family, or to ask for help, even if it’s just organizing your thoughts. But let’s multi-task, shall we? The more we get done, the less we’ll have to discuss, and then just maybe we can talk about something fun- or we could just brag about how 2019 is going to be the best year ever!
What are some of the things that you’ve been talking about forever that just never seem to get done? This is the year we’re going to do it! Tell us all about your plans below or email me at email@example.com and let me know how it’s going.
I’m always looking for the best ways to manage my time and workflow more effectively and efficiently. If you’re looking for more ways to increase your productivity as well, click here for more strategies that I’ve developed and researched and here for more ways to stay organized. For more ways to deal with your busy lifestyle, click here.
The New Year, The New You
The arrival of a new year often signifies new beginnings for people- a chance to start over again, to refresh, to feel renewed. I feel the same way, although I’ve never really been into New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I tend to focus on certain areas of my life where I feel unsatisfied and make it my goal to work on that throughout the year. The following list contains areas of focus in my life where I have previously found room for improvement as well as some solutions as how to make those changes happen in your own life.
Make Over Your Closet
First, do yourself a favour by getting rid of all of the clothes that don’t do you any favors, and anything else that’s taking up precious wardrobe space. Next. reevaluate the clothes you still have by thinking about them in terms of outfits rather than pieces.
Make Over Your Schedule
Not a morning person? Start here. A great morning routine is key to setting you up for a productive day (even on Mondays) and can save your life when you’re running late. (While you’re at it, taking control of your errands can help cut down on your running-around time.)
It takes a long time to change a bad habit, so it makes sense to try and embrace your behavior to try and make it work for you. If that doesn’t work, however, you may want to look at what might be the root cause of why you procrastinate and then figure out how you can avoid it in the future.
Start a New Project
What is a project anyway and what is the best way to tackle it? There’s only two simple steps: break down all of the things that you need to do, and then organize them into to-do lists to keep track of project goals and outcomes.
If you’ve gotten to the point where your batteries need a recharge, then it’s time to consider how you juggle all of the different facets of your life. (And if you’re in a crisis this post, this post or this post may help you.) This year, make a vow to build a better relationship with your doctor, practice self-care, get more sleep and learn how to have some fun.
Impress Your Boss
Any boss is impressed with an employee who takes the initiative to improve themselves professionally. If you do decide to take time off this year, make sure you do these things first and you’ll win even more brownie points.
Do Better in Class
If you’re thinking about going back to school in the next year, you may want to read this. But if you’re just looking to go back to school with a new attitude, check out this post for how to take your studying routine more seriously.
What are some of your New Year’s resolutions? Which areas of your life do you hope to improve? Comment below or let’s keep the conversation between ourselves at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best Books of 2016
I’ve had the same New Year’s resolution for a few years running now (if you haven’t been following along, check out this post here). To recap: I was sad about giving one of my favorite hobbies such a low priority in my life, and I wanted to challenge myself to include more reading in my routine.
I use my Goodreads account to track and rate all of the books I read, and to encourage myself to keep up the pace on my reading challenge. (This year’s goal: read 60 books.) I’m not affiliated with Goodreads in anyway but I find having a visual way to monitor my progress very beneficial.
However, I’ve since discovered something that’s helped me even more.
It’s this blog, and more importantly, you guys (the readers). There has been nothing more special to me as a bookworm than to find a community of kindred spirits like yourselves to share all my deepest, bookish thoughts with, and to commiserate on all of the books we’ve read, both good and bad.
I’m amazing too, to connect with people across the globe, regardless of race, religion or age. We all have something that brings us together in spite of our differences and I think that makes us pretty special.
So thank you, my dear readers, for making this year a great one, both in blogging and reading adventures.
Here are some of my favorite titles that I’ve read this year:
For someone who relies so much on their sight to read, it seems a little ironic that two of my favorite books of this year were about blindness. For instance, the appropriately-titled Blindness by José Saramago resonated so much with me that I included it on my list of reads that have shocked my poor sensitive system. Just imagine if everyone in your city started going blind- you’d be shocked too.
A little less scary, but no less interesting or beautiful, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is about a blind girl struggling to survive through World War II, and a treasure hunt that will leave you wild with excitement.
If modern-day horrors scare you even more than post-apocalyptic worlds and war, be sure to pick up a copy of Lionel Shriver’s So Much for That. It’s one of the many books this year that really made me stop and think, and its darkly humorous take on a family devastated by cancer made it another contender on my list of books that you should read at your own risk.
The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas is another controversial, albeit more gossipy book, about the aftermath of a suburban barbecue where a parent slaps a child that is not their own. No matter where you stand on the discipline issue, the secrets and lies that unravel as a result made this book hard to put down.
Among the serious titles I’ve read this year, I’ve come across a couple of favorites that are a little more light-hearted. The Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg turns the Scandinavian crime genre on its head with the role of the scheming villain played by an aging pensioner just looking for better treatment. (Ok so maybe it’s a little bit of a tongue-in-cheek look at the way we treat our elders, but it still had me in stitches all the same.)
Finally, one of my favorite fiction books of the whole year has to have been Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. It’s everything a good book should be- funny, bittersweet, thoughtful and surprisingly compelling considering it’s actually about a super-long walk across the English countryside.
Once in a while a book of poetry finds its way to my shelves, and my list of favorite books this year wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention how much I loved this slim volume of poetry and creative prose by Canadian author (and now friend!) Joel Thomas Hynes. Straight Razor Days is a collection of thoughts about nearly everything in Hynes’ life- his hometown, his childhood, his relationship with his son- and even though it seems like he uses just about anything that crosses his mind as material, the works here still maintain a sense of cohesion. It’s beautifully written, so even if poetry isn’t always your thing, I still suggest that you check it out. (And he doesn’t even know I’m telling you that!)
Update: This title isn’t currently available on Amazon, so I encourage you to hunt it down in your local bookstore, or check out some of his other titles. They’re all good!
The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman was a great education for millennials like me in how global events in the 80s and 90s have shaped the interconnected world we live in today. Keep in mind I was just a young’un when a lot of these changes were taking place, and this book helped shed some light on some of the things I didn’t fully understand.
I can’t say enough good things about Elizabeth Gilbert’s creative manifesto, Big Magic. I won’t go on too much about it because of the gushing review I wrote here, but if you’re anyone who has ever felt inclined to do any artistic thing ever, you will find this book valuable.
Do Over by Jon Acuff will forever go down in history as the only career-related book that got me in the feels. If you’re looking to make a change in your career, or just tired of accepting the status quo at your current job, this one is for you. (Don’t believe me? Read the review I wrote about it here.)
What were some of your favorite books that you’ve read this year? Send me your list at email@example.com or better yet, let’s be friends on Goodreads so we can snoop each other’s virtual bookshelves. Want to see even more of what I like to read? I love talking about books here, here, here and here. Or comment below and let me know what you think of my list. How many books have you read this year? I need to know it all!
How to Do a Yearly Review
A little while ago I published a blog post on the wisdom of the weekly review. It’s one of my favorite ways to get perspective on all the roles I juggle within my life, but what happens when we’ve lost sight of why we’re doing and what we’re doing? Where exactly are our paths taking us? What does it all mean?! (Hey, I never said this blog wasn’t deep.)
I got the idea for a Yearly Review from Chris Guillebeau (he’s not my friend or anything, I’ve just read a bunch of his stuff) as a way of taking one giant step back and looking at the lessons you’ve learned over the year- what you’ve accomplished, what didn’t work for you. As a workaholic, I love the idea of getting stuff done but it all becomes meaningless when you find yourself working for the sake of working instead of actually working towards something.
At the beginning of last year, I told my story about how bad I am at goal-setting and keeping New Year’s resolutions (for the full confession, click here). It was a brief but interesting experiment in pulling back and examining what I really wanted out of my life. Inspired by Guillebeau, I’ve decided to take it to the next level and force myself to look at all aspects of my life in the same way, not just reading.
Depending on the commitments and goals that you have in your personal and/or professional life, you may want to tailor this process to fit your own particular needs. There are no right or wrong answers, and there aren’t really any rules. What I do suggest is booking some quality time with yourself- grab a latté, listen to some great music and take a little trip down memory line. (It may be handy to have your agenda and a notebook for this process.)
What did you accomplish this year? What deadlines or goals did you meet? Which new habits did you adopt that worked for you? What did you say yes to? What surprised you? Which project makes you feel the most proud? The happiest? What did you enjoy? What got you the most excited?
The ebb and flow of life means we experience positives and negatives, ups and downs. I’m sure you’ve had your fair share of both this year. You’re not alone in this- we all have! But instead of looking at the past year with regret, we can use these less-than-perfect moments to remind ourselves of what we’ve learned and how we’ve grown. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Just be honest.
What was a challenge for you this year? Which habits or behaviors didn’t work for you? Which projects or goals did you walk away from? Which things did you say no to? What would you like to see less of? What more do you wish you were doing?
If you’re a daydreamer like me and keep a someday/maybe list (here’s how to make your own here) you may want to use this time to review and gauge what you’ve accomplished, what you’d like to work on, and which of your priorities have changed.
What would you like to work on? Where would you like to be? What do you wish you had tried? What do you dream about the most?
This is not necessarily about goal-setting (although it can be) or forming a plan of attack for the year ahead (although in some aspects it is). Instead, I’m looking at my Yearly Review as a way to check in with myself- not as a daughter, or a sister, or a blogger- but my own human being self, the one that has wishes and goals are dreams that exist in both my external and internal realities that are all my own. It’s my cue to stop working and start thinking about what I want (and continue to want) from my life. It can be difficult because you’re asking big questions that don’t always have easy answers. Am I happy? Am I satisfied? Am I fulfilled? How do I continue to give to myself and to others?
More than a workflow exercise, the Yearly Review is a great way to figure out who you are right now as a human being, of where you’ve been and where you’re going. Don’t think this is a static exercise either! We’re constantly changing, learning and growing as human beings. You may want to make this a bi-annual practice, or something you do at the end of each month to feel a little more grounded. In any case, I hope that you all have an opportunity to take the time to yourself to figure out what you really want out of life. I give you permission. You deserve it!
Do you have a similar ritual at the end of the year? What are the things that you’re the most proud of? What do you hope to work on for next year? I want to get to know you better so leave your comments below or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can have a chat.
Stay tuned because tomorrow on the blog I’m going to be celebrating the year’s end by highlighting some of my own favorite moments from my 2016 Yearly Review. Hope to see you then!