I've always had mixed feelings about New Year's resolutions. On one hand, the new year is motivation to improve at something, set goals, get rid of bad habits, etc. On the other hand, it's an excuse to try something for a month and then give up once the novelty wears off. I must say, it's January 22nd and the gym was still packed today -- people are 22 days strong!
I'm not trying to knock New Year's resolutions or say they're impossible. I actually love the motivation that comes along with the new year, because I love setting goals and coming up with fresh ideas. It's the follow-through that's hard for everyone, including myself. If you're planning a resolution, or most likely already started one, I think it's time to put less pressure on ourselves. Can't we come up with a resolution that we don't even need to complete, or check off on our mental lists? We're busy enough and keep track of enough lists.
What happened to continuous improvement all year round? January shouldn't be the only month that motivates us. We should work to be better or more successful at whatever we're aiming for all the time, without forgetting about it.
I know...easier said than done. I'm as guilty as the next person at coming home from work, shoving my face with chocolate and burrowing under my blanket for at least an hour a night (simultaneously forgetting about everything I wanted to get done that evening). So I don't have a magic solution. All I'm saying is, I feel a lot more motivated when I reflect on the whole year, think about the things I did, consider the things I want to do, and find the things I want to get better at. Not when I try to pressure myself into a finite resolution that will eventually end.
I'm probably picking apart the ideas too much, but in my true late fashion, I thought of some ongoing goals (not resolutions) for myself. They're things I want to keep doing all the time throughout the future. Not just this year.
Stop flaking on people. If you're a 20-something without kids, think about it: we're never going to have fewer obligations than we do now. I plan to continue being social, going on adventures, and not being afraid to commit to making plans. We're eventually going to reach a point where we physically CAN'T commit to plans because we're being puked on by a 2-year-old or making sure the people we're responsible for aren't going hungry. I'm not going to waste my time being flakey now.
I've had my fair share of evenings where I bailed on someone who wanted to spend time with me, and I realize it's usually out of laziness and not wanting to make an effort. I'm not encouraging spending time with people who don't make you happy, but if that's the case, be upfront. Flakiness is a timid way of dragging out your unhappiness, and it'll confuse the other person.
Ultimately, I would argue that even if you have kids, or dozens more obligations than me, finding a way to prioritize the people you care about will make you happier and less stressed. Aside from money and bills, what's the point of being busy if we aren't spending time with the people we want?
Travel as much as possible... I have friends that live in probably 8 different states, so traveling has become a habit for me. Even if I don't know someone in the area, one of my favorite things to do is take a roadtrip to an area I don't know and explore. The glory of coming home and relaxing after a long trip is also one of the best parts of traveling.
So the next time I feel like I've traveled too much or spent too much money on gas, I'm going to talk myself out of staying home, especially if it's a place or person I really want to see. I might not have enough time to travel in a few years, and my friends might live somewhere else by then. Time is of the essence, so no excuses.
...but don't be afraid to stay home/in if I need "me time." To contradict my last point, I'm also going to stop feeling bad if I have a legitimate reason for not being able to travel, or if I just want to stay in one night. There's a difference between not being adventurous and choosing to spend time alone when it's necessary. When I haven't spent enough time in my bed or at my favorite local bars, finding time to rejuvenate and relax at "home" is perfectly okay.
I love having alone time, but I also love people. I think knowing yourself and taking care of your needs, while making the most of the moments and people around you, is the true balancing act.
Continue eating at non-chain restaurants. This is an easy, non-philosophical goal for myself, and it's something I naturally do. I love trying new food, and local restaurants/bars ALWAYS have better food and so much more character. Hands down.
The rare time I eat at a place like Applebee's or Red Robin, I'm always amazed at how many people are there. I have a laundry list of local places and my favorite dishes at each one -- I actually have to look at the menu longer at chains. Plus, I would rather support a local business with a clear vision whether I'm traveling or at home. If you want any suggestions, let me know.
Keep surrounding myself with authentic, genuine people. It's so hard to connect with someone when you can't tell what they're actually feeling or thinking. I naturally gravitate to people who don't make me think twice -- I know who they are and that they mean what they say. Whether they express that in the form of sarcasm, laughter, kindness, heart to hearts or a bold personality, these people are always the most interesting. I'm happy to say my best friends are some of the most authentic and genuine people I've ever met, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I plan to keep spending my time with these types of people.
And I admit, when I get lazy or tired, it's easy to say something rehearsed or artificial. But I would always rather take the extra minute to be genuine and show someone I care in the hopes that I can give someone a real moment, too.
Not work for things I don't need. I don't need to say anything more than Zac Brown Band's latest song.
"It's the weight that you carry from the things you think you want...I've got everything I need and nothing that I don't." #Homegrown
My favorite things are the simple ones: day-long book binges, cozy candles, dog kisses, ink on your hands, tree stars (leaves for those of you who never watched The Land Before Time) sweater weather, new ideas, local craft beer, punctuation, and knotty saltwater hair. Desserts are my favorite meal. I'm a creative writer and editor, and I created this space to keep my writing reflexes sharp and to share my simple ramblings with you!