Have you made a resolution or change in your life that you would recommend others do the same too?
With 2015 in full gear, I’ve been reading all sorts of things online (Facebook, blogs, Instagram captions) about this whole to New Year’s Resolution or Not to New Year’s Resolution. From my very unscientific research, it seems like it’s an even 50/50 split. I really don’t know how I feel about them in general and do agree, if you want to make a change, you don’t need to wait until the new year.
But here’s the thing. Regardless of whether or not it’s January, you could decide to implement some change into your life. With this, I thought I’d share some changes I’ve made in my personal life over the years that legitimately changed my life.
1. Read every day
I. Love. To. Read. I didn’t always used to be this way, but I’m a firm firm believer in it now. Reading has to be one of the best hobbies you can pick up. Even if you’re “not a reader” I think you can teach yourself to become one. While I love to purchase books, I was frequent flier at the library throughout college. The key to reading, in my opinion, is to read what’s interesting to you. Don’t worry about picking up classics if you don’t like classics. Reading is reading and even brain candy like teen lit can open the door to other genres. Just start somewhere. If you want a great book to get you going, here are my BEST recommendations. (Also, Harry Potter. The first book is very elementary and a breeze to read and then it’s like, whoa. I didn’t read the series until I was a senior in college and it’s SO good.)
Besides books, I think keeping up with the news is also one more “reading” element that should be a part of your daily routine. I personally love the NY Times. This is something that I tried to do every year, but it wasn’t until the past few years that it really stuck firmly. Signing up for their daily emails and following them on Twitter helped get me in the habit of reading a couple of articles a day and now I have to limit the amount of time I spend reading articles every day!
2. Walk every day
Putting “working out” on a resolutions list for me would be setting myself up to failure. Maybe one day, but right now I just can’t get myself to do it. However… I do find that walking is a major source of relaxation for me. Living in NYC you basically have to walk more than usual, but ever since I got Teddy, I’ve been walking quite a bit. It’s not like I’m preparing for a marathon or anything, however I feel so much better when I walk in the morning. And breaks? WALKING. Because it’s so cold now, I’ve swapped a longer morning walk for a post-lunch walk and think it might stick throughout the year. It’s the best way to keep my mind active while still giving myself time away from the computer. Teddy is a trooper and (of course) loves the extra 30-40 minutes outside every day. Sometimes I call my mom if I need to vent or talk something through and other times I just pound the pavement. (Literally, I focus on every single step and feel my energy through my heels and toes.)
If you’re like me and can’t get yourself to work out, I highly suggest adding walking into your daily routine.
3. Travel more
I have to put my airport and packing anxiety aside to fulfill this one. Traveling more has been such a blessing. I never thought of myself as a traveler and I don’t think I’ll be backpacking across a continent anytime soon, but traveling has been a huge source of personal growth for me. I always learn something new about myself while traveling in addition to learning about new places. Traveling is definitely expensive, but I want to commit to doing more of it with every passing year. (I’ve been talking myself out of a number of purchases with the “that’s half a plane ticket to Paris” thoughts.)
One thing I need to work on for traveling is getting better about planning. Both in the sense that I need to commit to dates and trips ahead of time instead of thinking or assuming it will happen on its own (news flash: it won’t) and in the sense that I’m not the best itinerary maker on the planet. Any resources/recommendations are more than welcome in this department!!!
4. Try new things
I mentioned this in my 2014 recap. Trying new things has to be one of the BEST things I’ve ever done for myself. It’s made me work on my perfectionism, stretched my comfort zone out a ways, and taught me some new things that I actually like! (Not everything I try I end up liking, but it’s worth trying to find that one thing I really do enjoy!)
5. Have a weekend
Why have I never had weekends before?! Yes, Saturday and Sunday were always a part of my week. But I also had regattas and study sessions and group project meetings and legitimate work to do. Taking the two days “off” (I still work a few hours, but it’s nowhere near the hours I used to log…) has given me a whole new outlook on life.
Sleeping in is great and so is waking up early for an extra long walk in a still-sleepy city. Having no plans is freeing and so is packing in a quick 48 adventure. Spending time alone with your own thoughts is rejuvenating and so is catching up with in-town friends. Weekends are simply the best! There’s a quote I saw somewhere (probably Pinterest) that goes, “A Sunday well spent brings a week of content.” I couldn’t agree more. I wish I could rewind time and figure out a way to enjoy all the weekends that I have missed in the past.
6. Be happier
Look, this is a hard one. I definitely used to not be a happy person. It wasn’t even that I was not a happy person, I was an unhappy one. Partly due to this book and partly due to just DECIDING (really) to be happier, it happened. Every day, I would come across things that would frustrate me, sadden me, or even anger me… and I would have to find it within myself to change my thoughts. (This is where walking and reading play a big role for me personally.) Sometimes it would feel like I was awkwardly convincing myself that I was happy even if I didn’t completely feel it in my core, but after a bit, it came more and more naturally. In fact, it felt like I was exercising my happy muscle and I feel much stronger in that department now. My personality is certainly not one of Little Miss Sunshine, but I am, without a doubt, a happier person today than I think I ever have been.
Right now, I’m working on getting rid of judgmental thoughts and this is more of a work in progress. (One that I’ve been working on since around October… I don’t remember exactly when I started.)