Enjoy The Year Ahead!
We can refuse to submit to the trappings of New Year’s resolutions that only result in feeling defeated by May – okay, February! Instead of the same old vague commitments to losing weight, exercising, and being good to yourself and everyone, all the time, why not try making more specific life alterations? I’ll go one even better. These alterations could actually be exciting, inviting, making life more positive and good for you. That’s a game changer for New Year’s resolutions!
Try these improvements on for size. Keep in mind that even if you try a few of these ideas you are highly likely to feel a real difference in your life and an increase of smiles from rich experiences.
- Meditate and Practice Mindfulness. Hearing the word “meditation” used to bore me to tears until I realized there is a magic to it. Meditation is actually a necessity for living a high-quality life. I suggest starting out with the mindset of meditating for 5 minutes and then increasing gradually as you see fit. Though there aren’t any rules to meditating, I think Mindful.org is an awesome online source for giving an overall guide to practicing meditation. Meditation can assist you with anxiety, health, and spiritual guidance. I believe it’s the most affordable service you can provide to yourself that will actually transform your life.
- Each quarter of the year, choose a book to escape into. Hopefully, you’ll discover books that are hard to put down and really transport you to another place, time, or way of thinking. This experience can be a real treat at the end of a rough day or to top off a great one! A few good ones that I found irresistible are the following:
Recipes For Love And Murder, Sally Andrew
The Doll House, Fiona Davis
State Of Wonder, Ann Patchett
Small Island, Andrea Levy
Snowflower And The Secret Fan, Lisa See
Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Witch Of Portobello, Paulo Coelho (Also The Alchemist, Warrior Of Light, & Eleven Minutes)
- Play. I mean literally…play! No matter what anyone says – no one is ever too old to play. Remember the euphoric feelings associated with playtime? It’s yours for the taking. Just let go, be silly, and have fun with your kids, or friends that may be willing to let their hair down. If you’re not up for running around, imagining you’re on a pirate ship, or playing hide and seek – well there’s still hope for you. You can do other whimsical, less physical things such as ride a merry-go-round, get on a swing, or play a board game. Anything that makes you throw your head back with laughter does the job.
- Utilize a good planner to ensure that you’ll stay on track to fulfill your 2018 dreams. Include all of your chosen ideas to make the year a better, brighter one. Choose an inspirational themed planner to keep you motivated throughout the year. One Love Paper Company offers multiple planners that exude positivity and promote the promise of embracing life.
- “Move however you choose” for exercise. Do what feels good to you. You don’t have to be tied to a gym or force yourself to do anything, any longer. Your choice of exercise should be something that you look forward to doing because it is pleasurable to you. For instance, you can employ whatever music seems to make you want to dance and incorporate it into your walking routine or dance sessions in your living room. Just turn it up and see how your body responds in kind. What are you currently passionate about? A new love interest? Healing the world? Girl power? Focus on tracks that focus on your passions and allow the music to fuel your soul during workouts. Before long, you won’t even realize how far you’ve walked/run. Also, maybe there’s a boxer inside that you didn’t know was there. Set up a punching bag and wear yourself out! Swimming is also good at toning the body without you feeling like you’re actually working to stay in shape. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s not a bore or a chore. Also, look for ways that accessories will make your sessions more likely to fit into your lifestyle. If you find ways to simplify the process or routine, such as arming yourself with nifty gear, you will be more likely to resume the workout the following week.
- Choose a healthy, delicious fruit or vegetable that’s loaded with vitamins and antioxidants to add to your shopping cart. Take a chance on something even if you don’t know how to prepare it and then just search for recipes online when you get home. You’ll be doing something good
for your body and adding excitement to your kitchen. My son was drawn to dragon fruit after seeing it in the market a few times. After bringing it home and learning how it’s eaten and prepared, we decided to make a smoothie out of it. Well, it tasted horrible to us. However, that didn’t stop him from looking for the next fruit and vegetable to introduce us to. Whether, it’s bok choy, water chestnuts, asparagus, or eggplant. It’s a good idea to diversify your kitchen with power packed ingredients. Colorful fruits and veggies contain powerful polyphenols that have been shown to reduce cancer risk and enhance heart health. Furthermore, the colorful, power-packed produce also features antioxidants which are anti-inflammatory.
- Look for a potential new friend. Life takes a new direction with unexpected turns which can spice up things and add excitement to your days. Consider what you enjoy doing and any hobbies that you pursue within your community. Local libraries have book clubs, chess clubs, variations of dance classes, and other opportunities to meet people that are probably on your wavelength. There are also social meetup websites that are free to join and link people according to locality. Take a chance on people and improve your life at the same time!
- Help others. Contribute time, money, and/or energy. There are senior citizen homes that are full of people that would love a visitor. Even those with doting children and family that check on them often still have many lonely hours. People are busy with work and responsibilities and just aren’t able to fill all the empty hours. Don’t have time (which is most cherished)? By all means, feel free to drop off a dessert tray, or board games, or craft supplies. Trust me, it won’t go to waste and it will brighten someone’s day. What could you possibly do during a visit with someone older in years that you have no connection with? Talk. Older people have much to share and seem to love conversation with anyone willing to share their time. They also like TV and watching their favorite shows with others. Show up during a person’s favorite soap and see how much their eyes light up! And your heart will light up too.
- Occasionally, schedule a date with yourself. Get to know yourself, while you are alone. Enjoy the opera, a concert, museum, or a play without anyone else’s opinions, voices, or considerations to dilute the experience. Head to the spa without anyone else in tow. Some of my most spiritual experiences happened while on vacation alone. Prior to becoming a parent, I enjoyed solitude to think and feel my own “stuff”, without anyone expecting me to do or say anything. Often, I left some days open during a week in another country just to be and let life unfold naturally. On other days, I went on planned excursions and tours and met the most wonderful people like the waitress who ended up dining with me spontaneously after her workday ended or dancing with a “stranger” after exchanging stories that we realized we never told anyone else before.
- Open your heart and mind to other cultures. Explore them via travel to foreign lands, or locally through annual celebrations or gatherings (powwow), ethnic restaurants, or concerts. Immerse yourself in the people, art, energy, and love of people that look and speak differently than you do. You will be a richer person and much more evolved once your worldview has expanded. After all, isn’t that what self-improvement is all about?
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