Five New Year’s Resolutions that you can actually keep!

Posted by: Justine Benstead

Don’t let lofty goals get in the way of daily victories! Remember, life’s a journey, not a destination.

Happy New Years!As we enter the home stretch of 2011, many of us are out and about, shopping or preparing for a big night that celebrates the past year and anticipates a new one.

2012 is just a few short hours away, and with it come new opportunities. Tabula rasa. Time to wake up earlier, get to the gym more often, and stop indulging in every single enjoyable activity that could possibly be bad for you.

Sounds like fun, right?

New Year’s resolutions are a tried-and-true, time-honored tradition that some look forward to as much as a visit from Ol’ Saint Nick himself. Ok, no one looks forward to them that much. And why?

Because what everyone forgets to mention is how hard it is to wipe the slate clean and then proceed without a single blemish!

Crochet Yoga bag.I considered making a resolution to go to the gym five times a week, which sounds good on paper. After all, I really want to get fit. But the practicality of my getting to the gym five days a week right off the bat, five minutes away or not, is simply low. Fitness is an important goal to me, but I need to ease my way into a routine that is comfortable, not challenge myself with something so different from my normal lifestyle that I quit by mid-January.

What I propose is that we stop putting so much pressure on ourselves to perform, and instead, strive to make a handful of New Year’s resolutions that we can actually keep.

1. Do something healthy

For me, it’s the gym because I a) pay for a membership and b) try to combine weight training with cardio, and occasionally take yoga classes. Ok, plan to take yoga classes. But for someone else, it might be a daily walk with the dog, a morning swim at the community center, weeding the garden, changing sleep habits, training for a marathon, drinking more water, or reevaluating a diet. Anything to get yourself in a healthy mindset. One suggestion- soothe yourself to a relaxing night's sleep with the "Aromatherapy Dream Pillow" pictured above.

2. Do something hobby

Think about when you are happiest. Is it solo in the sewing room, playing cards in the game room, creating something, cooking something, reading something? Whatever that may be, identify it, and indulge it. Get a new set of spices or grow your own herbs like those pictured below; find a gaming partner; take a class to learn more about a new interest, or stock up on supplies to create your next masterpiece.

Cedar Plant Marker Garden Stakes.

Remember that it's not about what anyone else suggests, but about finding an activity that you genuinely enjoy. You’re only as happy as you are fulfilled.

3. Do something stimulating

By that same token, knowledge is always a key to happiness. Consider what interests you intellectually, and pursue that topic. Sign up for a card and check out books at the local library; record historical documentaries; take a cartography course; engage local experts in your field of interest; visit museums, exhibits, and events that pertain to your newfound or reclaimed pursuit.

4. Do something constructive

I’ve heard of the “honeydo” list, but the even bigger and less tangible list is the one in my own head, half-written and buried under daily tasks. It contains things like “call X back,” “go through x amount of old boxes,” “reorganize books/DVDs/photos,” “take old clothes to Salvation Army,“ and other such gems. So to combat that cognitive clutter, I say that we go for the gut. Write out one long, truthful list of all the little loose ends that need tidying up, and then prioritize them. Figure out which ones to accomplish to help you sleep at night, and which ones are easy to knock out of the way: “water plants.” Divide and conquer.

Keep track of your lists and reward yourself by crossing things off in this appropriately titled journal, pictured on left.

5. Make more “me time”

Whether you live in a house full of people or a studio apartment, work alone from a computer or in a crowded room of cubicles, it’s easy to neglect that most important of occasions—“me time.” Allowing yourself a few moments of tranquility to relax, unwind and refocus throughout the day is neither silly nor selfish—it’s necessary. Escape to a tranquil place with the body sugar scrub pictured below.

Massage Oil, Moisturizer and Pure Soy Candle.A happy you means a happy home, and getting in touch with your own thoughts is one key way to make sure that the needs of everyone around you—including yourself—are being met.

Virginia Woolf once wrote that to be successful, a woman needs “a room of one’s own.” She was referring to a place to write, but it might be a place to meditate, zone out, catnap, recharge, or rejuvenate. If you are the happiest, most fulfilled version of yourself, it can only have a positive impact on those around you. And to that I say, Happy New Year!

6 (Bonus). Recycle!

This is one that is a tri-part resolution—creates a positive impact on those around you, helps the environment, and makes you feel good. It’s a triple-win!

I hope that these guidelines will be motivation to create a customized list of New Year’s resolutions that speak to you, meet your needs, and help you feel so motivated that you exceed your goals!

Happy New Year’s from Florida, where I am eating the last of this year’s sweets!




Photo Credits:
Crochet Yoga bag by The Joy of Knitting
Cedar Plant Marker Garden Stakes by Bits N Pieces
"Live Richly" Journal by Naturally by Denise
Massage Oil, Moisturizer and Pure Soy Candle by Making Scents

  • Category:
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  • New Year
  • New Years Eve
  • New Year's resolutions
  • to-do list
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Submitted by:

Justine Benstead
Tampa, FL, US

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