New Year’s is a traditional time to make resolutions about self improvement and change. Often these resolutions are either unrealistic or not truly representative of who we are. What if, instead of attempting to change who we are in January, we worked on different stages of self improvement over the course of the year? By taking a month to month 12 step approach we are more likely to become successful as each goal achieved is a building block to the next one.
When we attempt several improvements at once, our enthusiasm and will power wanes . Instead we can work on one aspect of self improvement a month and by month’s end the new habit becomes engrained and a new one can be added.
Family and Loved Ones
We often take the ones we love for granted. Take some time this month to show appreciation to your partner as well as family members. The holidays can be a stressful and busy time. The new year is a good time to have some one on one with each member of your family and reconnect. Find some common goals and interests to participate in. As well, work on communication and acceptance.
Take some time this month to be a better friend. Perform random acts of kindness such as cooking a meal, babysitting a child or running an errand for a friend. Share a cup of tea and listen to their worries and concerns. Listen without giving advice, often people simply want to vent. Make time for friends even when life gets busy. Time is one of the greatest gifts of friendship.
Are you satisfied with your work be it a stay at home mom, a business executive or self employed? Set goals for yourself to keep you motivated and mentally stimulated. If working with others, ensure a healthy mutually respectful work environment. Lead by example by being accountable, respectful and punctual. If you are the team lead, encourage team spirit and cooperation. Make your team feel that they are part of something great and they will respond with greatness.
We all overindulge in December with food and drink. However, if excess food, drink or smoking is part of your daily routine, it may be time to focus on healthier habits. These are very difficult cycles to break but getting help from a support group, physician or friend is the first step.
As well, it’s a good time to assure that you schedule regular medical and dental check ups as well as other age and gender appropriate tests.
As the warm weather approaches we shed layers of clothing and become more conscious of our bodies. When deciding to improve fitness, it’s important to set realistic goals. How much time do you have to exercise? What do you like to do? Is weight loss a factor? Are you self motivated? Do you need to change your eating habits? These guidelines will help you decide how to achieve a level of fitness that you are happy with. Set small goals and celebrate each step. Do not be discouraged by small setbacks. Keep focused on the long term plan.
Set some financial goals for the year end by having a realistic budget. Most of us need to spend less and save more. Figure out which areas need to be addressed (credit card debt? impulse shopping? low income?) and set realistic goals to improve your bottom line. Dealing with your finances in a responsible manner greatly reduces stress.
It is important to nurture your spirit as well as your mind and body. Spirituality can be achieved through religion, meditation or self reflection. Improved spirituality can lead to a positive attitude, acceptance, forgiveness and an open mind. Take the time to enjoy being alone and comfortable with yourself. Go for a walk, smell the flowers, look at the clouds go by and enjoy the moment.
Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community. There are countless ways to do this from an occasional service to a weekly commitment. Pick something dear to your heart. You can volunteer at Big Brother Big Sisters, a homeless shelter, senior center, a hospital or an animal shelter. You can help an elderly neighbor, pick up trash as you walk your dog or donate unwanted items to a woman’s shelter. Every little bit helps your community so pick a project this month and enjoy the gift of giving.
Learn Something New
Nothing gives me a bigger charge than learning or mastering a new skill. Physiologically, this sets neurons firing in your brain. It energizes and challenges you. It can enrich your life by giving you a new subject of conversation, it allows you to meet new people and experience new challenges. Go back to school with your kids this September…learn a new language, take a cooking class or finally master QuickBooks.
Accomplish that Task You Dread
We all have at least one task that we have been putting off; calling your phone service provider and changing your phone plan, making that doctor’s appointment about that funny mole on your back or calling an old friend that you have lost touch with.
Set some uninterrupted time to accomplish this task. Give yourself a deadline and a small reward when it is done. Think how great you will feel when you can finally cross it off your list!
Organization and Home Improvement
An organized life and home greatly decreases our stress level and leads to peace of mind. Disorganization affects every facet of life including career opportunities, family relationships, social activities, physical and mental health, and finances. Disposing of clutter is good for the mind and body. A disorganized home or work environment can lead to feeling overwhelmed, guilty, stressed and depressed. A detailed plan on how to organize your home can be found Here.
Celebrate Wonderful You
You have spent the past year improving various areas of your life. Time to sit back, reflect and celebrate the new and improved you. Do a few things just for you; take an afternoon nap just because you can, read a silly romance novel, watch a favorite old movie and eat ice cream, buy yourself something frivolous. Do something decadent. Do something fun. Do something out of the ordinary. Congratulations on all you have achieved, all you have learned and all you have contributed. You did it!
Wishing you a happy and organized 2018! Happy New Year!