Are you ready? It’s New Year’s Resolution time! An open season for experts of all stripes to point out all of the things that are wrong with us. Then, of course, they offer ways that we can fix it. It is an endless line of people poking into our personal business, and they haven’t even met us!
Some of the perennial “need to improve” list includes: exercise more, eat better, clean up our finances, organize our stuff, and meet a significant other or we’ll never be a whole, happy person. It’s like they are handing out this advice to touch on our deepest insecurities instead of really seeing who we are and what we need. (yup, that’s sarcasm! Have we picked a sarcasm font yet? We should resolve to do that for 2017!)
Listen to me: their approach is wrong – you don’t NEED improving to be worthy. You’re fabulous. I say that with no agenda. Whether your straps are too long, too short or just right, you’re still lovely. If you’re having trouble seeing this in yourself, maybe your resolution should be to understand all that is wonderful about you. It’s there, you just need to look.
You may wonder why I say this when I don’t know you either. (I’m assuming someone besides my friends read this blog) Think of the people who you know. Will they really be more lovable if they lose a few pounds? Will a perfectly organized medicine cabinet make them a better person? Absolutely not. Most of your friends aren’t in need of a “new them”, either. Since you are THEIR friend, the same probably holds true for you. I rest my case.
Please don’t confuse my resistance to the gimmick of New Year’s Resolutions with a lack of desire to improve myself. I don’t like to see so many of us trying to live up to someone else’s definition of good, or good enough. I know I’m a work in progress – but I define what needs work by what’s important to me. After all, everyday I learn something more (and the more I learn, the less I know about before!). As I do, I find things about myself that I could improve to make myself happier.
Despite the cliché of the significance of New Years, January and February are great times to work on new habits and routines. The parties are over and new projects take time to ramp up at work. The weather is still cold in the northern hemisphere, so our social lives tend to be a bit slower than usual. It’s a great time to reset, return to old habits after a busy season, or pick up some new ones. IF this is what you choose, for yourself, there are some things that you can do to set yourself up for success:
- Do some research – find out if there’s any science to what you’re trying to do and see what has worked for others.
- Pick small, concrete, attainable goals with clear deadlines. “I will lose 2 lbs a week” is hard to guarantee. Consider something more attainable could be “I will eat salads with dinner every night and walk a mile 5 days a week.”
- Reward yourself when you reach your goals but not with something that is counter to your objective (like buying yourself a little something-something if your goal is to remake your finances!)
- Pay attention to your new habits and make them a part of your everyday life so that once you reach your goal, you can continue to sustain them.
- Plan for setbacks. It happens for everyone. We all fall down, it’s the getting up again that matters.
- Keep your expectations realistic. Experts say it can take up to 3 months to develop a new habit.
Improvements are good, but make sure that you are doing them for YOU. Don’t buy into the hype that this can be a “new you” because that’s just simply not necessary. However, if you think that getting organized will make you happier and healthier, go for it. Set yourself up for success and before you know it, maintaining your home will be as effortless as a 50s sitcom! (seriously, we need that sarcasm font… but hey, it might become easier!)
Beth and I wish you a happy, healthy, safe and prosperous new year. We hope that 2017 is everything that you want it to be!