With the start of the New Year also brings that special time of year when people make obligatory resolutions to become better. But most resolutions don’t last, and they aren’t that useful as self-improvement tools if you’re just going to break them.
So let’s not make resolutions, let’s just do it. Apologies to Nike, because it seems like they had the right idea all along.
Here are a few way to change your life for the better this year:
Focus on You
Your family is important, but never forget that you come first. Once you agree to take care of yourself, you will find it much easier to take care of others. For example, if you’re always worrying about your husband’s ugly, worn-out underwear, you may begin to resent him. But if you worry about your own instead, you’ll feel better (and probably turn him on). If you constantly worry about your kid’s lunches and their popularity at school, you might forget to work on your own. And then you won’t have as many friends; friends who have kids who can be friends with your own. It seems like a paradox, but sometimes being selfish is the most selfless thing you can do.
Get a New Hobby
Hobbies have an amazing power to make you feel better about yourself. So go learn to ice skate, learn a foreign language, take up knitting. They are all pretty affordable and good for you too! And everyone will be impressed by your new skills.
While hobbies are great, nothing will make you feel better than good old-fashioned exercise. Experts recommend 150 minutes of light workouts or 75 minutes of the real stuff per week. If you are not in the best shape, I’d go with a 20 minute walk every day or so and build up from there. If you’re feeling confident, a power half-hour on the elliptical will burn 1500 calories a week, or about 2 pounds a month. That’s pretty much magic right there.
Learn to Love
Whether Hindu, Christian, Atheist or Jewish, spirituality can improve your life. Take this simple idea, “Hatred is not conquered by hatred, but by love, this is an eternal truth.” That’s from the Dhammapada, a collection of sayings by the Buddha. Sound familiar? Well, that might be because it reminds you of the more western concept, “Love your enemies, do good to them who hate you.” That one’s from the Sermon on the Mount.
But you don’t have to be religious to understand this at the most basic level. If you go around being angry all the time, getting mad in the school rush, watching news and raging about whatever dumb things politicians are doing these days, you’re just going to stress yourself out. And no one wants that.
Now if you don’t think that you’re up to these “anti-resolutions,” that’s ok. Since there’s no Mayan myth about how love conquers all, maybe it’s best to stick with the gym and ice skates.
Best of luck in the new year!