Ten Things To Do This Year:
1. Learn something new! Commit to conquering a new language, hobby, software program, class, or skill that requires time, practice, and studying. Especially if you've been out of school for a bit, areas of our minds that are stimulated by new challenges and foreign concepts can start to become rusty. Find discipline and determination in productivity, join a class or club, or enlist a friend if you need moral support.
2. Accomplish something you're proud of! Imagine you had a portfolio of all the greatest accomplishments in your life- what is something you would love to add to it this year? Throwing a fabulous dinner party for friends? Getting recognized for your role at work? Climbing to the top of a mountain? Add something to your life's portfolio that you can say "I did that!".
3. Pursue a hobby you had as a child. Kids seem to literally lack the gene that tells them they can't do something. If a little girl loves singing, she believes with her whole heart she will be the next Celine. If a boy loves building with Legos, he dreams of being an architect. It's only when we allow life to throw us into a tailspin of fear and doubt that those dreams fall off our radar and those hobbies get packed away in boxes. Remember something you loved when you were little and give it another go.
4. Spend an hour away from the TV or computer. Use the precious seconds you save to read a great book, pick up your guitar, cook a real meal, or do a puzzle. You'll probably come to find that the time you spend "unplugged", actually relaxes and refreshes you more than veggin' on the couch ever does.
5. Exercise, even a little, every day! Whether it's an hour of yoga or a 20 minute walk (or jog!) outside, find a way to work physical activity into your daily routine. Don't let an impractical goal like going to the gym daily or running 3 miles every morning be your stumbling block, there's no right or wrong if you're simply getting your heart pumping a little harder a few minutes a day.
6. Create a space that comforts and inspires you. If you share your living or work space with other people (which you probably do), it's hard to find an area that is all your own. By surrounding ourselves with colors, objects, textures, and natural things, our bodies and minds are able to feel relaxed and refreshed. You could keep fresh flowers or a bowl of fruit at your desk, or move your computer to enjoy a different view, or finally hang that artwork you've been wanting to frame. Find simple ways to de-clutter and bring beauty into the places around you and create your own oasis at home or work.
7. Invest your time and energy into relationships that grow you. The last thing any of us needs is a friend who plants seeds of insecurity, doubt, or chaos in our lives- or even waters those that we planted ourselves. We are already so hard on ourselves, we need to pursue and nurture friendships with those that challenge us to be our best selves, that believe in our dreams, and love us for who we are. In return, we also need to step up to the role of being that friend for others. Stop trying to talk her out of dating him, stop trying to force him to get a different job... decide if you love them anyway, and then make an effort to support them in their decisions.
8. Take time to make yourself feel beautiful! Yes, it's OK! Giving ourselves enough time to get ready in the morning- getting dressed, doing your hair, putting on makeup- may seem superficial, but it affects our overall confidence, mood, and perception of ourselves throughout the entire day. If you feel good about how you look, you may surprise yourself with the courage to schedule a meeting with your boss, go on a lunch date with the cute guy on the bus, or not feel guilty about buying those shoes you love but didn't think you could pull off.
9. Release negativity and harmful emotions that hinder you. Who cares what that idiot ex-boyfriend told you when you broke up or the rumor someone spread behind your back. Stop carrying around emotional baggage that only slows you down and keeps you from taking that leap towards the future. No more lies about not being good/smart/pretty/thin enough, the only thing you can ever truly be enough of is yourself so embrace it with a fierce confidence and get ready to rock the socks off the competition.
10. Find joy and peace on a budget! Less money wasted on crap you don't need, more money saved towards special date nights, nice dinners, fun memories, or an actual vacation! This may mean missing out on a party, opting for tap over Perrier, and avoiding the mall all together, but the end result is a bank account that has your back and freedom from financial guilt.