Simple Steps to a Happy New Year

Here we are at the beginning of another New Year. I find it hard to believe it’s 2019. Where did the time go? Along with the excitement of a shiny New Year comes the resolve of self-improvement through (ack) New Year’s Resolutions.

I personally dislike New Year’s Resolutions because I believe they set us up for failure. And disappointment. Statistics reveal that most people give up in less than 2 weeks! That’s a terrible way to start a New Year, by feeling like you’ve already failed. I have another idea.

Each and every day is a new start, and an opportunity for self-reflection and self-improvement. Or not. After all, life is full of hits and unexpected challenges that can undermine even our best intentions and throw us off track.

It’s important to remember that we are all works in progress. Part of our life journey is how to be kind to ourselves and not to beat ourselves up. Trust me, there are plenty of people out there who will do it for us.

I shudder when I see the sign at the local gym that I drive by every day which blasts in red letters “New Year….New You!” As if to imply that there is something wrong with the current version of you. It’s almost a form of subliminal body shaming. I don’t like that. Besides, I think you’re perfect just the way you are.

But, if you do want to make changes over the next year, take it one day at a time. Start small, and start slowly. Over the next few months I will offer simple tips and steps you can follow to help you achieve your goals, no matter what they are. You can pick and chose which ones make sense to you, and ignore the ones that don’t.

Most of all, never give up on your goals. Or your dreams. Not just once a year, but every single day. I’m your biggest fan, and I believe in you. Happy New Year!

Self-Indulgence Is Not A Dirty Word

My ballet master was incredibly demanding, which is one of the things I loved about him. After all, I don’t want to become complacent. Complacency breeds mediocrity, and in my opinion, that is a waste of human potential.

He would often chastise us if we weren’t working hard enough to satisfy him and his high standards. During the middle of brutal and complicated movement patterns he would frequently scream, “Don’t be so self-indulgent!” Not only was it distracting, it was demoralizing to be called self-indulgent when you were dancing your heart out and working your butt off.

Besides, the way he said it made it sound like a dirty word. In his mind, it was a dirty word. I always wondered why, and I never understood what he meant. I would have asked him, but he terrified me. He terrified all of us, even though we loved him, and we were adults.

Here it is, many years later, and I think I finally understand what he meant. To achieve the goals we set for ourselves, we have to fully engage all of our effort and focus to that goal. We have to pour our heart, soul, body, mind, and spirit into it. That leaves no room for self-indulgence.

But I disagree. There is an incredible amount of untapped potential in each and every one of us. However, we can’t reach this potential if we don’t allow ourselves a bit of pampering. A chance to rest, relax, and hit the refresh button. Some people may call it self-indulgence. I call it common sense. And it really isn’t a dirty word. At least, not in my mind it isn’t.

So, don’t be afraid to take some time off, hang out, and get some rest. Indulge yourself. It’s so good for your health!

New Year: Now What?

Here we are, at the beginning of another New Year. Anything is possible in a new year, including keeping our New Year’s Resolutions. It doesn’t matter what your plans are, but it does matter very much how you implement them. So, whether you would like to exercise more, lose weight, get in shape, eat healthier, improve your finances, or enjoy healthier relationships, here are a few simple steps to keep in mind to help you accomplish your goals.

1). Set clear and specific goals.

Rather than making a general statement such as “I want to lose weight,” set a more well-defined goal. For example, “I will lose 2-3 pounds over the next 4-6 weeks.  This will allow you to focus on what you would like to accomplish within a set time frame, rather than a generalized statement of wanting to lose weight.

2). Set challenging but reasonable goals. 

It’s important to challenge yourself, but you want to be careful not to go overboard and overwhelm yourself with unrealistic expectations. Set small, incremental goals that are reasonable to achieve, and pay attention to the journey instead of the end result. If you start  by declaring you want to lose 20 pounds before swim suit season, it’s easy to get discouraged and throw in the towel before you even begin. 

3). Write your goals down, and track your progress.

When you think about wanting to do something, it’s just an abstract idea floating around. However, once you write it down, the idea then has intention, purpose, and direction. Keep a written record of your progress, including when you have met your goals and when you have fallen short. Notice I did not say failed; there is no such thing as failure, just another opportunity to re-evaluate your approach and learn from what might not be working for you.

4). Visualize success.

Imagine yourself achieving your goals. Even professional athletes and performing artists have used the power of visualization for years to improve their performance on the field and on the stage. They continue to practice it, because it works for them. Just imagine (so to speak), what it can do for you! 

5). Stay positive.

Remember to give yourself positive messages. What we tell ourselves is what we believe, and what we believe is what we achieve. Words are incredibly powerful; use them for the power of good. All of us fall on our face every now and then. Remember, there is no such thing as failure, just opportunities to learn and grow. 

These are just a few general guidelines to follow in your journey to a great new year. I am certain you can come up with a few creative and innovative tips of your own, so please share your thoughts and ideas; I would love to hear from you! In the meantime, may you enjoy a year ahead filled with peace, joy, love, laughter, and good health. I just know that 2019 is going to be a fabulous year, for all of us!