New Year’s resolutions come and go. But the voice inside your head, telling you to make changes, is fairly constant.
Through the years I’ve learned it’s unrealistic to aim high. Lofty resolutions are seldom kept. It’s best to choose something you would like to improve, keep it simple, and focus all of your energies on it. Then, if you fail to keep the resolution for whatever reason, you can accept your humanity and simply start over. Treating each day like a new beginning is a good way to go.
Changes you can make to bring better balance and harmony into your life
- Adopt a healthier lifestyle. Take a short walk every day. Try up-and-down the stairs at home or once around the block with the dog. At work, try parking a little bit further out than usual. Five or ten minutes of walking isn’t too much to ask. Walking will increase your metabolism and give you more energy.
- Improve your eating habits. Eliminate just one vice item from your diet. For example, if you are in the habit of snacking on potato chips, quit. Completely remove the chips from your shopping list—if they aren’t in the house, you won’t be tempted.
- Increase your water intake. Start with a glass of water a day and work up to at least two quarts. Drinking water cleanses the toxins from your body, keeps you feeling full, and will hydrate you from the inside out to give your skin a youthful glow.
- Savor suppertime. Eat dinner at the table. Turn off the television, use good china, have wine with your meal, and eat slowly. Enjoy your food and, if not alone, quiet conversation with your company.
- Renew old friendships. Write or phone good friends with whom you have lost touch; or send a greeting card to let them know they are in your thoughts.
- Forgive someone. Nursing a grudge can make you sick. Like stress, negative thoughts about someone can restrict blood flow, decrease oxygen consumption and throw your immune and gastrointestinal system totally out of whack. You may never forget how your ex dumped you, but you’ll sleep better, be more energetic, and be a lot happier if you put it behind you.
- Reduce verbal negativity. You’ve heard the old adage: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything. Practice being the image of positivity. Do not criticize, gossip, nor utter a critical word; and if the urge strikes, bite your tongue.
- Improve your financial health. At the end of each week, put all of your loose change in a large jar. At the end of the year, bank it.
- Beautify your home. Paint walls and re-arrange furniture. Make a “clean sweep” as you go by getting rid of excess and clearing rooms of unnecessary items. As you declutter your home, you declutter your life.
- Get organized. Tackle an unruly closet, medicine chest, or file cabinet. Toss out old prescriptions. Sort through papers, keeping only what’s important. Donate clothes that no longer fit. There’s no point in hanging onto stuff you’ll never wear again.
- Help the Earth stay green. Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Reducing energy consumption is the single-most important thing anyone can do for the planet; and it’s easy . . . just flip the switch.
- Plan a vacation. Whether it is out-of-town for a weekend or out of the country for weeks, get the tickets and go. Prefer a quick overnight stay? There are plenty of opportunities for one-tank trips that will take you away from it all and have you coming back feeling refreshed.
- Rekindle romance. Set aside one evening a month as “Date Night” for you and your significant other. Make the night shine. Be playful. Hold hands and kiss shamelessly in public.
- Pamper yourself. Take a warm, leisurely bubble bath at least once a week. Dim the lights, burn an aromatic candle, listen to soothing music, or try total silence.
- Cultivate your spiritual self. Meditate for at least 5-10 minutes every day. With eyes closed, focus only on the moment and soft music or rain forest sounds playing in the shadows.
- Learn to breathe deeply. Take long deep breaths whenever you feel tired, stressed, or out of sorts. Count to 6 with an inhale and to 8 with an exhale. Repeat the process 10 times.
- Go back to school. Enroll in a class for poetry, painting, pottery, writing, scrapbooking, cooking, Photoshop, web design, photography . . . or whatever your creative heart desires.
- Be kind to strangers. Compliment someone you happen to meet during the day. Tell the bank teller you like her hairstyle. Thank the salesclerk for being so helpful. Say something nice—and smile. It works wonders.
- Cheer the lonely. On holidays, spend an hour or so visiting with the old folk in a nursing home. Take greeting cards. You will be surprised how many people living there do not get visitors; and it will warm your heart to see how much happiness it brings them to have someone stop by to say “hello.”
The New Year is filled with promise. With a little thought and faith in yourself, you can come up with resolutions that will work year round.