Why hello there, January. You kind of snuck up on me. I’m still busy over here cleaning up from Christmas, trying to decide whether to keep that half-used wrapping paper for next year. And now you’re shouting at me to make some lofty goals for this year, like eat healthier, get fit, and generally improve myself.
Since I’m wearing yoga pants with no sign of working out, and I’m about to dive into yet another cup of coffee and some leftover Christmas cookies, it’s a safe bet to say that I’m probably a New Year’s resolution failure. While there is no shortage of things from 2017 that I am excited to kick to the curb, my Christmas cookies are not one of them.
I hate that somehow January 1st became the day that we should all be thinner, healthier and more joyous. (Thanks a lot, Babylonians.) Bring me another cookie. I’m staying in my yoga pants, at least for a few more days.
I declared long ago that I was anti New Year’s resolutions.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for setting goals and making ourselves better people overall because of it. But does it all have to start on the exact same day? Because I don’t know about you, but I still like a bit of indulgence (and laziness) in January.
So instead of jumping feet first into a new gym membership, I like to use January 1st to do a bunch of random stuff that still leads to an overall healthier lifestyle. I’m not about to go all Mari Kondo on you and ask you to clean out everything in your house this month, but some of this stuff probably should be done at least once a year.
These first five are all very manageable and if you’re an overachiever, you can knock these all out in one day. If you don’t get around to them in January, pick another month to get few things done. Just make sure you do them sometime in 2018. Maybe clean the fridge by February though, okay?
1. Clean the outside of your fridge.
(Notice I said, outside, not inside. Let’s not get carried away just yet.) Take everything off your fridge (yes, even that one-of-a-kind artwork from your kid). Now wipe down the outside, and then only put back a select few items. Step back and admire your actual fridge. You had forgotten what color it was, right?
2. Clean out your makeup bag and buy all new cosmetics.
Wash your makeup brushes while you’re at it. Maybe even buy yourself some red lipstick. Unless Santa gifted you a pile of cosmetics over the holidays, chances are you can’t even remember when you last bought that mascara.
3. Check your spices and pantry items.
Throw out expired stuff and use up the items that have an impending date on them. Now’s your chance to try a new recipe requiring cumin and curry powder.
4. Speaking of expiring…dispose of old medication, properly.
Restock your medicine cabinet and first aid kit (you do have a first aid kit, right?). Don’t wait until your kid is bleeding to discover you’re out of antiseptic, gauze and bandages.
5. Clean out your fridge (you knew it was coming).
At least throw out leftover food that’s older than a week and check the dates of all of the condiments inside the fridge.
Now that we’ve gotten the easy goals out of the way, here are a few more to work on throughout the year.
6. Actually write down your life goals and ambitions.
It takes less effort to write them down than to actually do them, but it’s a step in the right direction. Studies have proven that you’re more likely to get something done if it’s on a list, even if you never look at the list again! I often use my birthday later in the year to reassess my life and goals, rather than New Year’s. Pick any date you’d like. Just do it, though.
7. Set aside a ‘business procrastination day.’
I struggled to find the time to balance checkbooks, pay bills, budget and stay on customer service phone calls, especially when the Peanut was tiny. I hated using precious nap time every day for all of those menial but important tasks, so I kept pushing them off. Now, I pick one day a week to plow through business tasks like organizing our finances.
8. Be realistic with your goals.
Lots of people give up on their New Year’s Resolutions early in the year because they’re either not seeing progress, or they’re not seeing as much as they wanted to. Big goals take a long time. Start off small. Want to help the environment, but feel overwhelmed at going all crunchy? Pick one thing like banishing plastic bags from your shopping trip. Throw a few reusable bags (I’m partial to these) in your purse and car, and remember to use them. Want to get more fit but feel guilty for not making it to the gym as often as you’d like? Choose the stairs over the elevator or park your car a little further away than normal when you’re out. Want to eat healthier overall? Pick at least a few days a week where you don’t eat junk food. Ease into it.
9. Do one thing that scares you every day.
A friend told me this over a decade ago and while I haven’t always lived by the mantra, when I do, my life is richer for it. It doesn’t mean doing some life or death thing every day, but it might mean doing something that makes you hesitate and might truly scare you — making a phone call, actually going to the gym, taking cookies to a neighbor, asking for help, taking a spontaneous trip or even simply eating sushi.