Happy New Year 2008 – Resolutions Galore

With 2008 in full swing for everyone around the globe now, many of us have made a few resolutions or are thinking about ones to make for the new year.  As with every year, at least half of us forget the resolutions we have made, fail to follow through on them, or simply give up.  I have to give kudos for those who stick with them to the end, especially if they manage to succeed.  My boyfriend teased me last night for not having any resolutions, which influenced me to come up with a few goals that I’d like to attain this year.

Get Organized

My apartment is overflowing with beauty products, and the lack of organization of them all is driving me batty–really.  I honestly think there may be too much of a good thing going on at my house!  I just don’t know how to organize it quite yet, but I would really love to overhaul some of it soon.  For this past Christmas, I definitely did a lot of passing-on of the beauty products to family members, which did make a nice dent into what I have but no longer use.  It is just so difficult to throw out beauty products for me–I hate wasting them!  A few weeks ago, I made a make-shift shelf/drawer out of a cardboard box to hold a bunch of skincare products, and I have to say, that is serving me well!  It has significantly decluttered my bathroom countertop (which has no room to spare, beauty products or not).  Do you have any hidden secrets to beauty organization?

I would also like to do some closet clean-out, because I have far too many shoes and clothes I no longer love or do not find suit me anymore.  I don’t think I have ever thrown out a pair of shoes for any reason other than wear and tear, so I am not sure I will have the will power to do it.  (Of course, by throw out, I do mean, give to the Goodwill.)

Study Harder

I haven’t gotten my grades back from my first semester at law school (I will get two permanent grades, three pencil ones – ones worth only 25% of my total grade, the other 75% to come in May), but I feel like I should have done better.  I am going to work harder to pay attention in class, take more extensive notes, and make sure to read more carefully. I would like to say that I do feel I worked much harder this past semester than I ever did for undergrad (which, sadly, wasn’t hard to do, considering how little I worked), which does impress me.  I stayed on top of the majority of my reading (boring!), went to nearly all my classes, and spent a decent chunk of time studying prior to the tests.

Appreciate More

I fear I take some things for granted, and I would really like to show people that I appreciate their effort and energy more often than I have in the past.  I want people to think of me as someone who is nice and approachable, so I hope that by being more conscious of this will help me achieve this.  I am encouraged by the fact that over the years, I have steadily become more appreciative of the things I have and the people I know.

Re-discover My Creativity

Sometimes I really do feel like I am running on empty (and this has been an on-going feeling for the past five years) when it comes to being creative, original, or remotely unique.  I have been in this rut for such a long time that I fear I don’t know what it feels like to be creative any more.  I am going to actively try to climb out and find things that enable my creativity and foster it.  I know you can’t force it, but I’d like to think that certain circumstances may persuade it to come out and play!

Lose Weight, Feel Great; Operation Hot Part 203822

Every year, like so many, I make weight loss a goal.  I know that many of my dear readers will also be tackling this particular resolution with the new year, and I wish everyone the best of luck and the utmost support in becoming active, eating healthier, and losing weight.  In 2004, I lost 45 pounds (I was on the Atkins’ diet), and while I never hit my “dream” weight, I did get to a weight I was happy enough with.  I have gained about 10 pounds of that back in the past six months, and I would really like to get back down to that “happy enough” weight or lower.  Being active is something I have struggled with for all of my life, and while I would love to say my resolution is to run everyday, it isn’t realistic.  Instead, I would like to add activity if and where I can, but my concentration will be on eating better and more moderately.  Bye-bye, Starbucks, you addictive fiend!

Here are some tips and tricks to keeping your resolutions…

Tell Friends, Family, Significant Others

Tell the people in your life that you have a specific goal that you are working on, because this way, you can gain a support system.  Make sure your gal pal knows that you are swearing off the ice cream sundaes, so she can try not to take you past too many Coldstones.  Other people are entitled to live their lives how they desire, but it doesn’t mean it should compromise your success.  By letting them know, you are giving them the chance to not be an enabler and try to support you (because they should!).

Mini-goals and Rewards

If you have a resolution that is quite encompassing, try to set mini-goals within it.  Since weight loss is a popular resolution, and probably one of the hardest to keep, I’ll use it as an example. If you decide you want to lose forty pounds (by the way, as someone who lost weight, try to set a realistic goal for yourself, not a standard set by a supermodel blessed by genetics), make your first goal losing ten pounds or successfully adding a few sessions of cardio/fitness into your week or learning how to cook and eat healthily.  With each mini-goal you meet, reward yourself!  Everyone loves a reward, and while the ultimate reward will be the success of the goal itself, a little added incentive can go a long way.  Make your significant other take you out for a night on the town, buy a new dress, hop into a new pair of shoes, or throw on some fabulously false lashes.  Whatever your reward is, make it something fun and simple–and not something that compromises your goal (hey, indulgence isn’t bad, but it is SO hard to return to a diet if you go off of it too much!).

Be Realistic

Lofty goals are nice to think about, but they are often met with disappointment.  Set a realistic goal for yourself, because you will have the lofty, ultimate, unrealistic goal in the back of your head anyway.  If you meet your realistic goal, you can always set new goals, you know?  Nobody says that January 1st is the only day you can make and begin resolutions!

Be Assertive

Be aggressive when tackling your goals–know exactly what you want and figure out some ways that you think could lead to achieving it.  If you want to learn to play an instrument, pick up a few lesson books, start lessons if you can afford them, find a friend who wants to play to, and read up on it.  It is so much easier to fall in love with something and figure it out when you immerse yourself in knowledge of it.  If you want to read more, think about getting a library card or joining a reading group (online or otherwise).  Check out other people’s book lists on sites like Amazon or Shelfari to get inspired (if  you loved X book, and another person did, you might find that their tastes run parallel to yours and can get great suggestions from their reading lists!).  If all else fails, read classics–you can never go wrong with those!

Keep a Diary

A diary, a journal, a log… whatever you want to call it, try to keep one.  For dieters, try creating a spreadsheet of what you ate for the day–figure out what you’re eating, how much you’re eating, and whether it was enough for the day.  Keep track of your weight loss; is it two pounds this week or have you stalled?  Even just keeping a journal about your feelings and thoughts every week or so on how your goal is going will keep you thinking about the end results and better integrate it into your life.

And if you don’t succeed…

Try, try, and try again!  A resolution may go bust by February, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try to get back on the horse in March or May or even September.  Try setting a lesser goal instead (remember, realistic goals? perhaps yours wasn’t as realistic as you thought!) or even working on an entirely different goal for awhile.