Nothing as far as I can tell.
Each January 1st we hear the “authorities” talk about what’s the point in setting resolutions, X number of them created at the start of the new year are dropped before February arrives, so why bother?
Why pin all that responsibility on January 1st? Isn’t any day you become resolute about changing and improving something in your life, a good day to announce that change? Sure, you can be a traditionalist and make a bold statement on the first of the year, but don’t hesitate to blurt it out on the first of the month or whatever random day of the week you decide to make a move to something new.
Maybe you’re pondering something big like a move from the USA home you’ve lived in for twenty years to a loft apartment in Paris, or maybe your goal is less upheaval and more an internal re-boot. Pick your day and declare it out loud: Today I am…
To get you going, here are a few of my ongoing resolutions.
The classic: Fitness as a goal.
If your goal is the oft-used one of losing weight, but you find that idea daunting, tell yourself this year you will become more fit than you presently are or you’ll develop a healthier life style than what you’ve had. Being a specific weight has nothing to do with how fit you are. I’ve had size two friends who were in terrible shape and who could be out-hiked by my previously smoking a-pack-a-day husband. It’s not about size, it’s about how much you move. So state your goal as one of moving a certain number of minutes every day instead of losing two pounds a week.
Another way to be fit is to be aware of what you eat. My CrossFit-crazed niece is fond of saying, “You can’t exercise away a bad diet!” Start this change by vetoing processed foods. The less of these you ingest, the automatically better you will feel. Read labels. Strive not to buy foods higher than 5% sodium. Are you sensitive to gluten? This is different from having celiac, which is a disease not to be taken lightly. You can have an allergy that flares up after eating gluten-containing foods. Thankfully, there are many options for avoiding gluten these days—tasty ones included!
Eating real food is the number one game changer in becoming fit. The better you eat, the less hungry you are, the less calories you ingest, the more energy you have. It’s a big, round circle and I suggest you try it.
WALK! If you do nothing else every day of your life, WALK! I’ve gone from carrying a pocket pedometer and being happy with 5K steps a day to a FitBit and 10K steps, which is about five miles. I start my days with the elliptical, so my goal is launched before eight o’clock. Being a writer, my job is entirely sedentary, so walking for me is an absolute health necessity. I get up from my desk every 45 minutes and do a couple of loops through (winter time) or around (nice weather) the house. I’ve also been standing to work for the last four years—between five and six hours. Just being vertical keeps the strain off knees and keeps a person standing straight, which is better for your back and abs.
Lift weights! You don’t have to become a maniac about this—male or female, you don’t have to develop bulging muscles. But you do have to keep your bones strong. Lifting weights is a key way to do this. If you go just a little past your limit every time you lift, you’ll see change soon enough.
Eating right and exercising can also impact how well you sleep. That and giving up drinks with caffeine in them. I love coffee, but I love the smell and taste—I’ve been learning to live without the buzz. Okay, sleep is still an elusive beast for me, but I do what I can to give my body a fighting chance to get it.
Another reduction goal—eliminating stuff
This is a favorite seasonal goal of mine—it comes along every spring, autumn and winter: Purging. Ah, how I love to purge! Make room between the clothes in the closet by pulling out the items you don’t love, don’t look good in, or that you’re simply bored with.
Here are easy ways to do this beyond the closet:
If you’ve always loved it but no longer have a use for it, take a picture and pass it on. I recently came into some new coffee mugs, so that meant old ones had to go. I chose to get rid of two from the Dollar Tree that I used during my sabbatical at my sister’s house one balmy Montana winter (Read: Going off the Deep End … On Purpose). I hadn’t used them for years, so why were they taking up valuable cupboard space?
My parents weren’t hoarders, but they owned a ranch house with a full basement and garage and attic. It was full of the stuff of life from fifty-seven years of marriage. Because they had space, they didn’t always eliminate things when they should. If a vacuum broke and they got a new one, the old one went away. But other stuff …. like coffee cups …. kept on coming.
Speaking of vacuums, I don’t know about your neighborhood, but where we live if you set items out the night before trash pick up, some enterprising soul comes along to collect it. We eliminated two vacuums and a headboard that way. Someone is making use of or selling these things no longer useful to us—either way is okay.
Back to clothing … This is such a good area to sort through at the changing of the season. Haven’t worn it? Pass it on. Before you pack it away, check to make sure of the shape it’s in: is a “good” thing now ready for around the house? Is the around the house thing ready for the trash? Be brutal. The air between the clothes in your closet will love you for it!
And how about that annual to-do list?
Have you made a bucket list? Twenty years ago a friend suggested I make a 100-list. That was 100 things I wanted to see, experience, read—whatever—in my life (adding the year I wanted to do it). I found that list recently and was amazed what I did without realizing it was on the list. I’ve revived my 100 List and am determined to see what else I can accomplish—intentionally or by random occurrence.
Whether you’re using January to launch something different or not, what are your tips for being healthy this year? For organizing yourself and your stuff? For having more fun and having grand adventures?
What do you want to do for the simple reason that you’ve always wanted to?