While I believe that each new day is an opportunity to start fresh, I think each New Year is a particularly poignant time reassess and reinvent. The first of the year is often filled with lofty goals and elaborate ideas for the months to come. I’ve set many intentions for myself in January that never came to fruition by December, but I don’t think this occasion is just a time to make plans you’re never going to keep. I still believe that the New Year is more than that.
In the last few months of 2015, the concept of focusing on the process as opposed to the end goal came up in my life repeatedly. By the third instance, I knew I really needed to pause and take in this notion. What would it be like to devote my attention to the process instead of the end result? As someone who has a very hard time being present and who is constantly thinking ten steps ahead, this sounded like a real challenge.
I began to journal some thoughts for the New Year from this process-based perspective. I immediately found myself concentrating on how I wanted to do things as opposed to what I wanted to do. For example, I want to exude more confidence in myself and my business, and I want to work on more projects that truly interest and inspire me. After establishing how I want to do things differently, the steps toward what I need to do to make them happen began to follow. At first it felt uncomfortable and a little scary to have more subjective ideas for 2016, but a tiny spark in me felt excited about the possibilities this approach could unleash.
As you write down or at least contemplate the inevitable New Year’s resolutions, I challenge you to shift your focus to the process instead of the outcome. Consider how you want to work rather than what you want to work on. Take time to discover the potential you might have in 2016 with this process-based mindset. Happy New Year!
New Year’s resolutions come with such a lofty weight. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about dreaming big and setting high expectations for yourself whether it be in your personal or professional life. However, starting the New Year with resolutions that are not attainable will only set you up for frustration and disappointment. Even worse, the wrong approach to resolutions may actually hinder you from accomplishing the real objectives you have for yourself and the next year of your life.
We’re now about halfway through January (wow!), how are your 2015 resolutions going so far?
Have you already strayed from the resolutions you set for yourself at the beginning of the year?
It’s not too late to accomplish your ambitions! While a new year is a benchmark time to set new goals for yourself and your life, you can do this anytime. Each day is an opportunity to start fresh and new.
My 3 tips to attainable New Year’s resolutions are not rocket science or some be-all-end-all solution. In fact, they’re fairly simple. Perhaps they will make you think about your aspirations for 2015 a little differently, and maybe 2015 will be the year you re-think your resolutions and actually achieve them!
1. START WITH SMALL STRIDES
You’re not going to attain your resolutions immediately, all at once, or even with one attempt. Actually accomplishing your aspirations takes time, planning, and starting with small strides. State your goals – bring them out of your mind and into existence. Sometimes simply declaring or asking for what we want for ourselves or our lives can be the hardest step. If you’re a list-maker like me, write them down, or just say them out loud and discuss them with a friend, family member, or partner. Once you’ve established what you aim to achieve in 2015, identify the first step to attaining each resolution. Not all five, ten, twenty steps it may or may not take. Begin with just the first step. When you start with small strides, it makes your resolutions manageable and more realistic to attain. After you’ve completed that initial step, repeat this process for step two and three and so on.
2. DO EVERYTHING IN MODERATION
“Do everything in moderation” is a method my mom aims to employ in every facet of her life. It’s a method she has instilled in me. When you actually approach all aspects of your life with this motto, it can truly make you a more well-rounded, fulfilled, and healthy person. There is too much of a good thing (and a bad thing at that). This year, instead of attempting to make drastic or extreme modifications to your life, try to do everything in moderation. Instead of proclaiming you’re going to – go to the gym seven days a week… cut all carbs from your diet… write a blog post every day… stop watching TV – make your resolutions more attainable with moderation: I’m going to go to the gym one more day each week… cut carbs from my diet on Wednesdays… write a blog post every other day… stop watching TV on Sundays. Yes, this may require you to reassess the goals you established in step one. Who said you couldn’t modify your resolutions? They’re not set in stone and can evolve as you do. The idea of doing everything in moderation really goes hand in hand with taking small strides. Remember this is a marathon, not a sprint. You’re the tortoise not the hare. You have 365 days to slowly, steadily, methodically attain your resolutions.
3. REFLECT ON YOUR PROGRESS
I already talked a bit about reflection in my last post of 2014. I believe when used in a positive and productive manner, reflection is a key part of success. As we move forward and as we begin to attain our resolutions, we often lose sight of where we started and how far we’ve really come. We start focusing on what’s next and wanting more. This is why it’s important to stop and acknowledge the small successes, the steps that got you there, the progress made before the ultimate goal is achieved. It goes back to step one – small strides. While it would be ideal to accomplish every resolution you set forth for 2015, you might not. Even if you don’t attain a resolution in its entirety, it’s worth celebrating the progress you made toward that goal.
MY 2015 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
I wanted to share a few of my aspirations for 2015 and how I aim to apply these 3 tips to make attainable resolutions to my own goals for the New Year.
1. Write at least one poem each month.
Most of you know me as a writer and blogger, but I’m also a poet. Poetry has been a more abstract way for me to express myself since my teens. Up until 2014, I used to write roughly 20-40 poems each year. When I began my career as a freelance writer and blogger, my poetry fell further and further behind my other writing obligations. In September, I completely lost this integral part of my life. So, in 2015 I want to return to my poetry by starting with one poem this month and each month after.
UPDATE: I’ve got the bare bones of two poems with the working title “The Girl With No Face” inspired by two girls who sat next to me on the subway.
2. Spend time with a girlfriend at least once each month.
Graduating college was a huge turning point for me and my girlfriends. I moved to Wisconsin and my best girls moved to Texas, Louisiana, Florida, New York, and Georgia. While I connected with some amazing fellow bloggers in Wisconsin, I can honestly say I did not make a close girlfriend in the three years I lived there. Most of the time this didn’t bother me. I never really considered myself a girl’s girl. I’ve always had a very small circle of girlfriends and a great number of guy friends. However, three years without girl’s nights, friendly closet raids, and good old fashion chats over coffee gave me an amazing appreciation for my girlfriends. In the New Year, I not only hope to make a new girlfriend in my new city, New York, but also enhance the time I spend with my girlfriends around the country.
UPDATE: I’ve got plans with not one, not two, but FIVE girlfriends in the next couple weeks! Maybe I need to reassess this goal and up the ante!
3. Read at least four books in their entirety.
It’s sad to say that I maybe read two books cover to cover in 2014. I’m also ashamed to admit I’m one of those who has a bad habit of starting a book and not finishing it. Reading is an integral part of being a writer, and if I’m being completely honest with myself (and you), I don’t read nearly enough. This month I’ll be picking up my first book of 2015 and aim to be finishing it and starting my second by March.
UPDATE: I’m two-thirds of the way through an amazing book that has been on my shelf for years – The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp. I intend to write reviews for the books I read in 2015, but for this particular publication I’m developing a series for the blog!
4. Take at least one dance class each month.
Dance was a major part of my life and identity from age three to twenty-three. When I graduated from college, I replaced dance with Pilates and yoga. While I love these practices, they are not and will never be dance. Yes, it is difficult to find adult dance classes, but now that I live in New York City, I no longer have an excuse. Booking a class in January will be step one!
UPDATE: I’m fortunate to have received a gift certificate to a local dance studio from two of my friends as a birthday present – step one is done!
5. Buy and learn to operate a serious camera.
Photography – both photographing and being photographed – are two of my biggest struggles as a blogger. I’ve avoided photography whenever possible in my first year of blogging and relied on my talented photographer friends when photography was unavoidable. In 2015 I want to face my fear of photography head-on by vowing to purchase my first camera and learn how to use it. Buying a camera is a big investment in time and money, so I know that attaining this resolution will require some discipline on my part (namely curbing my shopping habit). However, I know the long term benefits it will have for me and my blog and believe I’m up for this challenge in the New Year!
UPDATE: So far, January has been a very successful month for my freelance writing and styling business. After spending a lot on the move to NYC and the holidays, it feels amazing to be back in a place of prosperity! I’m developing an attainable system to set aside a certain percentage of my income to put toward a camera.
We are well into the third month of 2014 – have you touched base with the goals you set for this year? When the New Year comes around, we typically set out with a lot of ambition and expectations. In January, I urged you to set a goal to FEEL GOOD and LOOK GOOD in 2014 by making small changes in your everyday life to produce big results.
When the year starts to pick up, we often lose sight of the goals we set in January. Don’t get discouraged when life gets in the way! You can always check back in with yourself and your goals. What better time to do so than the coming of spring? A new season is right around the corner, and spring is a great time for renewal and reviving your 2014 goals.
Need a little nudge? I’ve got 4 ways to FEEL GOOD and LOOK GOOD in March!
Instagram Inspiration from Bethenny Frankel, DVF, Splendid, Elizabeth and James, and Home on the Runway
Hello, readers! I could never have imagined how busy 2014 would be, and I can’t believe we’re nearing the end of January! Thank you for bearing with my absence! Without further ado, let’s dive right back in by kicking off my new series for 2014: FEEL GOOD, LOOK GOOD.
Looking good starts with feeling good, and the New Year is the perfect time to reassess, restart, and rejuvenate. Feeling good involves two key components: physical health and mental health. From achieving goals to fitness and food, there are a lot of ways to modify your daily routine to FEEL GOOD, LOOK GOOD, and have a better year! A lot of people are overwhelmed by the pressure of the concept “New Year, new you.” They believe they have to make major, life altering changes to achieve a better year. Don’t set yourself up for failure, disappointment, and unrealistic expectations. Big goals require a big commitment, intense dedication, and a lot of work. If you’re up for the challenge, set a big goal to feel good and look good in 2014! However, if you’re just looking to have a better year in 2014 than you did in 2013, set a goal of making small changes in your everyday life. These small changes will add up and produce results!
I’ve also been promising reviews on AOC, so today I’m giving you a double dose of NEW ARTicles with a look inside Shape magazine’s Jan/Feb 2014 issue. Let’s take a peek at five highlights from the issue!
GOALS: How to Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions
What’s your New Year’s resolution? Lose weight? Exercise more? Spend less, save more? Quit smoking? Stress less? Eat more healthfully? No matter what you’re trying to accomplish in 2014, the Shape Jan/Feb issue has got you covered with simple solutions to stick to your resolutions. In this article, Rock Your Resolutions, it’s as easy as “never clean your plate” or “follow the 2-day rule” to curb impulse buying to achieve your 2014 goals. Always remember it’s small changes that make a big impact!
NEW: It’s never too late to start or revisit your resolutions to FEEL GOOD and LOOK GOOD in 2014! Read more about Rock Your Resolutions!
HOME: Let Your Living Space be a Solace, Starting with the Bedroom
According to Shape’s Assistant Editor Mallory Creveling, getting enough sleep is essential to feeling good! Sufficient sleep can protect against obesity, chronic disease, and even wrinkles! In this article, Give Your Bedroom a Checkup, set your sights on big or small changes to revamp your sleep sanctuary. Whether it’s setting a bold, long-term goal of investing in a new mattress to a simple, short-term goal of purchasing a relaxing sound machine for white noise, you can make your bedroom better and you can feel good and look good this year!
NEW: Read more tips about How to Give Your Bedroom a Better-Sleep Makeover!
PLAY: Whether You’re Single or in a Relationship, Start off the New Year with Good Vibrations
Hoping to spice up your sex life in 2014? According to Shape more than half of women admit to enhancing their sex life with “good vibrations,” either alone or with a partner. From beginners to girls on the go to couples looking to supercharge time in the bedroom, this article, Good Vibrations, is your guide to the right toy for you. And, don’t worry, amping up your sex life doesn’t have to break the bank. With prices ranging from $28 to $160, there’s a device for any budget!
NEW: Check out the slideshow to find the right toy to supercharge your sex life!
FITNESS: De-stress with this Winter Workout
Shape is packed with a number of workout routines to suit any skill level and lifestyle. This issue’s Get Fit Workout of the Month caught my eye for it’s promise to effectively “erase tension and cultivate calm.” Stress Rx is part of the Rx Series by fitness trainer Jill Miller and is comprised of just 6 moves using rubber balls to “stimulate your muscles and their surrounding tissues.” Other workout benefits of this 10-minute routine include an increased range of motion and a speedy recovery for those recuperating from a muscle injury.
NEW: For more on the Rx Series, check out Jill Miller’s book!
FASHION: Look Hot Even When it’s Cold with these Athletic Ensembles
From staying chic on the slopes to daring to bear your mid drift at the studio, the fit fashion in this issue of Shape is seriously swoon-worthy. Most looks are geared toward those of you looking to be fashionable while partaking in winter sports. However, if you simply love to rock a sporty look while jetting around town, these ensembles feature stylish pieces for a casual, everyday outfit! The Cold Play spread also features beauty tips on keeping your skin, lips, teeth, and more looking their best this winter!
BONUS: Must See Extra!
If you pick up this issue, you must turn to the Get Fit News on page 92 and check out the spotlight on my favorite at home personal training site, MyBod Wellness. You’ve seen me feature MyBod before, and I’m so excited to direct you to their feature in Shape!
For more from this issue of Shape, get it on the newsstands now for just $4.99!