Happy January! What’s your New Year’s Resolution? Do you want to lose 10 pounds or eat healthier? Sleep, write, or travel more? Increase your 401k? Start your 401k? Is your resolution the same as last year or something you have failed at in the past? So often we tell ourselves our lives need one of these big, vague makeovers, but rarely do we actually follow through. January seems to be the time of year we tell ourselves we need to change, do better, be better, but at BE. we think it is better to work towards our goals year-round, and always strive to be the best version of yourself. And so, we propose the mini, measurable resolution.
Studies have shown that it takes three weeks to form a habit. True or not, taking things on a monthly, or even daily basis, has to be easier than setting a goal for an entire year. So this year, I am not going into the new year set up to fail. I am going in with small, concrete goals. I am assigning each month a “resolution” and spending that month focusing on that one specific goal. These aren’t earth-shattering, life-changing goals. They are small, easily completed in no more than a few minutes a day. If I can successfully carve out time for the resolution each day, hopefully by the end of the month it will be a habit and moving on to the next month’s goal will not mean abandoning the old ones. At the end of 2015 I plan on having improved my mental and physical health in twelve small ways that add up to a more concrete, newly improved me. These are my mini resolutions for the year. Feel free to follow along, adapt them as you need to, but remember it is easier to move mountains one stone at a time.
January: Floss every day. Flossing is awesome for your health and hygiene. And it takes 60 seconds, so really there is no excuse why it shouldn’t be a part of our daily routines. Except, at the end of a long day, another sixty seconds can seem inconceivable. But flossing shouldn’t have to be part of your bedtime routine. And you shouldn’t have to set your alarm any earlier either. Floss in your car at a red light. Or at your desk during that annoying conference call. Be creative! Just floss. Your gums will thank you.
February: Take 5 minutes a day to pray, meditate or reflect. A better you does not just involve your physical self (although we will have more goals there later). A new, improved you needs a new improved power house. And your power house is your mind. It may seem counterintuitive to take time away from actual tasks to do…well, nothing, but meditation has been shown to have many health benefits and even make you happier. Whether your personal form of meditation is to pray to a higher dietiey or just reflect on your day, take five minutes to unplug and recharge.
March: Pack lunch. Eating out is pricey and more than likely leads to higher calorie consumption. So pack your lunch. Save eating out for dinners or special occasions only and watch the “grab and go” on weekends. Have a lunch plan and stick to it. Pack them the night before. Pack them the morning of or pack them for a week at a time. Just pack them. And take them and eat them.
April: Do 20 crunches a day. This is an easy one. Everyone looks and feels more fabulous with a tighter core. Pick an ab exercise (they don’t have to be crunches nowadays!) and do 20 reps everyday. Build to 25 or 30 or 50!
May: Eat a meal with someone everyday. Sharing a meal can be a bonding experience. And I’m not talking about sitting side by side on the couch while eating in front of the latest episode of your newest television obsession. Whether it is seeking out a coworker instead of eating at your desk or turning off the electronics at the family dinner table and being present, take the time to really share the experience with another. If you live alone, work alone, or dine alone, use the electronics to your advantage. Skype or Facetime or just call and catch up with a friend while “sharing” a meal.
June: Vacuum a room or clean an appliance every day. If you are like me you feel like a domestic failure if your house isn’t in perfect condition twenty-four seven. If you are like me your house is rarely in perfect condition. I will think to clean the kitchen sink, but then hey! it doesn’t look that bad, so I’ll put it off until all of a sudden, seemingly overnight, it has’s gone from acceptable to horrendous and I somehow missed the transformation. So everyday I’ll do a domestic chore. Clean a toilet, vacuum a carpet, scrub out the refrigerator and hopefully (fingers crossed!) I will rotate through the chores often enough that nothing will get to that “oh my gosh, how gross is that!” stage.
So by now we are halfway through the year and we’ve added some time commitments. Hopefully, it has been a gradual process and we aren’t missing that fifteen minutes a day we’ve repurposed. But for the summer months let’s try to make some changes without extra time commitments.
July: Declutter your bathroom storage. If you are anything like me you have accumulated way more hair products, lotions, cosmetics and other bathroom clutter than you could ever possibly need. But that new shampoo that you simply had to try is still three quarters full and taking up valuable storage space. You’d throw it away, but that’s such a waste of money! Do yourself a favor. Pick a product and use it until it’s gone. If you are lucky you can finish up a few this month and reclaim the space under your bathroom sink!
August: Take a different route to or from work. You probably don’t have enough options to do this every day (or, maybe you do!) but we could all probably alter our route in some way. It may seem silly to not take the most efficient route from point A to point B, but will that extra sixty seconds really hurt you? Change is good. So break up the monotony. Find that neighbor with the pink flamingos, or the business with the misspelled sign, who knows what is out there to find!
September: Eat a piece of fruit a day. If you’re like me your diet could use a healthy boost. While a huge overhaul can be intimidating, especially going into the holiday season, we could all probably benefit from some more fresh produce in our lives.
October: Get some fresh air! The weather may already be turning, but before it gets too frigid, let’s take advantage. Spend some extra minutes outside each day. Take a walk on your lunch break, take the kids to the playground or even just park at the back of the lot and walk a bit further while running your errands.
November: Pamper yourself. We are heading back into the holiday season, which means giving. We give ourselves, our time, our money. But let’s not forget in order to fully give we must first take care of ourselves. Money may be tight and we may feel bad using time in this busy season for ourselves, but ultimately, we should think of it as contributing to the common good. Once a week this month, let’s give a gift to ourselves and not feel guilty about it! Whether it is a manicure or massage, an extra slice of dessert, that cute top we love, but don’t really need. Four gifts, in moderation, can go a long way to boosting our holiday morale!
December: Finish a book or project. December is a busy month and we often spend it catching up with friends and family, rushing through crowds for gifts, and often getting so caught up in the hustle and bustle that the month is over before we know it. Let’s spend some time to ourselves, unplugged from the craziness, and enjoy a book or finish a project that brings us pleasure.
If we follow along, 2015 will be a new kind of year, a year of actual change. One in which we make big strides towards becoming our best selves. Happy Resolutioning!