13 Changes To a Better 2013
Let It Go- Although we all hope that our holidays resemble a Norman Rockwell painting, for many of us, they simply do not. Did you work all year only to be disappointed with no holiday bonus? Did you slave away in the kitchen cooking a holiday feast only to have your mother and mother-in-law make sarcastic comments at each other all night? Or maybe you were hoping for an engagement ring and got a blender instead. Whatever disappointment you found in 2012, let it go. Don't carry old hurts and resentments into the new year. Start out in a positive mindset and the universe will send back positive developments.
It Won't Change Itself- Is there something about your appearance that nags you each time you see your reflection? If so, make an adjustment now. It won't change by itself and it isn't going to get any better. If you thought a tattoo on your lower back was a good idea in 1998, but shudder with embarrassment every time you bend over to pick up your toddler, investigate laser tattoo removal. If your receding hairline makes you hate taking pictures, shave your head. An update in your appearance will make you feel refreshed and give you a new sense of confidence.
Pay It Forward- Was 2012 a lucky year? Did you get the promotion you've been working for? Were you fortunate enough to give birth to a healthy, happy child? Give back with your time. Consider volunteering for a cause that means something to you. If you're religious, give your energy to your local place of worship. If sports has always been your passion, give a few hours to the local children's group by organizing a game. Or maybe consider staying closer to the people in your own life. Take your elderly aunt out to breakfast. Cook a few meals for a friend who is working full-time while caring for a sick parent. You will feel better about yourself by doing for others.
Don't Tweet Me-If your relationships with your friends consist of "liking" their status on Facebook or communicating mostly through text, it is time to stop and have a meaningful conversation. Plan to share a meal or if your schedules simply cannot match-up, plan a time when you can have a lengthy phone conversation. If that isn't feasible, write a detailed email (the way people used to write letters) about at least one area of your life.
Guilty as Charged-Parents are always plagued by guilt (I never understood this concept until I had a child of my own). Either you are not spending enough time with your child or you find the only time you spend together is reviewing homework or chauffeuring them from one location to the next. This type of interaction can make parenthood feel like another chore instead of a gift. Block out at least a half hour every few days to spend time with your child so you can remember why you wanted to become a parent in the first place. Engage in something both you and child can enjoy whether it is a game of air hockey, a bed time story or making dinner together. Use this time to laugh and not address any serious topics going on in your home.
A Light at the End of the Tunnel- The upcoming winter months can be long and boring. With the cold weather and lack of holidays, parties, and football, winter can feel like an eternity. Start planning your summer vacation now. It is always a great motivator to continue going to the gym. It will give you plenty of time to research dining options, day tours, etc. Advance planning will avoid stress during the weeks prior to the trip and will prolong the excitement. It is always important to have something in life to look forward to.
It's Not What You Know, It's Who You Know-Many times in the work place we focus on networking "up." We try to position ourselves with decision makers and influential people to better ourselves in terms of knowledge and help our career track. In 2013, expand your networking to include junior executives and support staff. They deserve the same time, respect and attention based simply on the fact you are all supposed to be working toward a common goal and they essentially help you do your job. You also never know what junior executive may eventually be running your department. Or consider the administrative assistant who maintains your boss' calendar may be able to schedule the meeting you've been asking for.
Remember the Time-Let the "elders" in your family tell you their stories and ask follow-up questions. Even if you've heard these same stories hundreds of times before, it can take on a whole new meaning depending on what is happening in your life. Record either by video or in writing their stories in their words. Many years from now, you'll be happy you did. If you are the most senior member in your family, let the junior members in your family tell you their stories. Too often adults talk "at" children, instead of "to" them. The kids will feel very important to know you want to hear everything they have to say.
So Let Me Ask You This-Are you in a conversation rut with your partner? Do you find bills, in-laws, work and your children are the only topics you discuss? This is a habit many couples fall into because it is safe, comfortable and it eventually just becomes a routine. It makes the time you do spend with each stale and tired. Force yourself to put all your regular topics on hold for at least one night this week. Try talking about current events, books you are reading, anything you normally would not address. If you are stumped for something to say, pretend it is your first date and ask some broad based questions about religion, politics, etc. If you think you already know the answers because you've been together so long, you'd be surprised how your partner's views may have changed and you never realized it.
It's About Me Now-Have you been on family overload during the holiday season? Have you been spending 16 hour days at work closing out the year? The first opportunity you have, do something for yourself and don't feel guilty about it. Take in a matinee and have a delicious lunch while reading a magazine. Go for a five mile run and then take a steam. Spend an afternoon doing whatever lights you up.
365 Day Rule- If you have not worn an item in a full calendar year, it is time for it to lose its real estate in your closet. It you have not used something in your home in 365 days, providing it is not a seasonal item you may need in the future, it is time for it to either get sold or donated. By purging your living space, you will feel lighter. Bring your clothing and shoes to a local consignment store or have a spring garage sale. Consider selling your unwanted belongings on Craig's List or eBay. If you would rather donate, consider the Salvation Army. They'll give you receipt you can use for your taxes.
A Party Just Because -Your calendar is heavily loaded during the summer with barbecues and in the winter with holiday parties. However, the first half of the year is usually quiet. Plan a party or dinner with friends. People will actually look forward to an excuse to get together, instead of feeling like its another social obligation to cross off their list. You'll also feel less pressure as the host since you won't have so many other functions during this time of year.
Live in a Home, Not Just a House- Your home should be a safe haven where you feel refreshed and motivated about life. If looking at the same houndstooth pillows is leaving you feeling less than inspried, give your home a mini-makeover. It doesn't have to be costly or even happen all at once. Make small changes to your space each week until you feel satisfied. Change the photos you have in frames throughout the house. Instead of just replacing with new ones, consider old-fashion black and white photos of your grandparents or sepia photos of your own children. It will add new life and texture to your frames. Change your shower curtain or comforter. Paint accent walls. Even a minor change such as lighting candles with a new scent can make you feel better.
This Hub was last updated on January 9, 2013
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