Happy New Year! Wow, I really cannot believe it’s already 2013. Were did 2012 go? I feel like I was just ringing in the new year at my cousin Emily’s wedding, strolling through Central Park, and indulging in New York-style Cheesecake at Junior’s. Although 2012 was an incredible year and I hate to see time fly so fast, I always appreciate a new year. Another year to live, a chance for a clean start, and another year to make new memories. Time to throw away the negative and to improve on all the good things that happened from the year past.
New Year’s Eve has always been one of my favorite holidays, and New Year’s Day has always brought a smile to my face. This year, my New Year’s Eve consisted of dinner with Jimmy and our friends Nick and Meghan at a little local Italian joint, followed by a night of champagne, confetti bombs off the balcony and sparklers with just Jimmy and myself. I had no idea a low-key New Year’s Eve celebration could be so fun!
On New Year’s Day, Jimmy and I had a few friends over for dinner – I made our traditional NY dinner (ham for health, collard greens for money, cornbread for gold, black-eyed peas for luck, and macaroni and cheese … because it’s necessary), which was followed by a game of Apples to Apples. Yep, 2013 is already off to a great start.
Once all of the festivities wrapped up, I found myself sitting on the couch thinking about my new year’s resolutions, and thinking about how much I hate them. I mean, let’s be honest … does anyone ever really stick to their resolutions? We make these promises to ourselves and to others, and then once the end of the year comes around, we feel like losers because we didn’t stick to our promises. Really .. I was supposed to lose 20 pounds in 2012. Like I said, I hate resolutions.
So this year instead of making resolutions, I am making New Year’s Challenges. I am challenging myself to make lifestyle changes, not promises I can’t keep. Yes, I want to lose 20 pounds, save an extra $2,000 and travel to Greece. However, those things come with lifestyle changes, not just by making a resolution. Besides, everything is better when you make it a friendly competition, even if just with yourself :).
So here are the five things I am challenging myself with throughout 2013:
1. Make healthier choices. No crash diets or two weeks on, two weeks off. It’s time for a real lifestyle change. I challenge myself to do something active once every day, say “no” to french fries and select fresh fruit instead, go to bed an hour earlier so I can wake an hour earlier, skip the beer or glass of wine on weekdays … these small changes to my day-to-day life will make a huge improvement to my overall health, happiness and well-being come this time next year.
2. Be in the moment more. It’s no secret – we are always on our smart phones and are always connected. Checking email, checking in, posting a status update every time we make plans or get a new pair of shoes, tweeting to the person two seats over. Phone calls can’t wait and text messages require instant responses. What did we do back in the day before text messaging, or better yet … cell phones? How did we manage to eat dinner without telling the world where we were and what we were having? And I’ll be the first to admit it – I am totally guilty of these things. So I am challenging myself to be in the moment more. There is no telling how much we miss and what we don’t see because we are glued to our phones. Think how much more we could enjoy brunch with our friends, rides at Universal Studios and holidays with our families without updating cyber space every 15 minutes.
3. Improve my finances. Ugh … money gives me a headache. No matter how hard you work, how many hours you put in, how big of a raise you get … there never seems to be enough money. Bills, rent, car insurance, daily living expenses … it seems that my paycheck is gone before I even see it! Well, I’m pretty sure that might have a lot to do with going out to eat four times a week and shopping on my lunch break, but still. I am up to my eyeballs with student loans and have a very small savings account, and I hate it. This year, I am challenging myself to better manage my money, set a strict budget and stick to it, and minimize the frivolous spending whenever possible. I would like to know that when the time comes for marriage and a family that I am not drowning in debt and financial burdens. Better to start earlier than later!
4. Travel more. Between my job, weddings, baby showers and holidays, I feel like I am always on the go. It’s all definitely fun, but Jimmy and I rarely get any time for ourselves. In 2013, I would like to be able to take a few trips with just the two of us doing something that we want to do. We’ve been dying to take a weekend trip to Disney World, a long weekend ski trip, and better yet … a trip to Europe (I’ve never been out of the country!) This year, we are challenging ourselves to start a special savings fund for traveling, making plans, and making it happen.
5. Take more “me” time. It’s easy to get wrapped up in “going and doing,” chores and activities. I really don’t remember the last time I have had a day of nothing! This year, I challenge myself to live more and do less. The dishes can wait for me to enjoy a movie on the couch. What does it really matter if the floors get vacuumed tomorrow instead of today? On top of that, I will take time to watch my shows, or lie on my bed and read a book. Sorry Jimmy, this means you might be on your own watching that baseball game or Auction Hunters!
By the end of 2013, I will have a new and improved life, allowing me to be healthier and happier. I will just take baby steps until I have defeated my challenges. I am excited about this new year, and I already can’t wait to challenge myself with new tasks next year … because I know I am going to kick these challenges’ butts!
Here’s to a glorious 2013!
If you need some motivation sticking to your resolutions, try printing out the image below and hanging it on your wall. After all, it’s made up of things most of us hope to do every year! (Source)