“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw
Since 2011, I’ve started my new year’s resolution in December. It has allowed me to exercise before the gyms get crowded in January, sleep better when my work schedule can actually allow and in general just hit the ground running with my goals come January 1st. Below is a list of my 5 must-do’s for 2015 to be a better you.
Whether you’re in great shape or you need to get your act together, diet is probably the biggest factor. Dr. Oz and celebrity trainer Bob Harper have said it can be as much as 80% of the equation when it comes to weight loss. This was a lesson that I learned the hard way. The holiday season is probably the hardest time of year to try and turn over a new leaf, but I highly recommend it for one reason: eating better is an ongoing commitment, not a temporary solution.
Temptation may be rampant during the holidays, but decadent enticements are just a reality of life. Being able to say “no” when you’re full or you know you’ve indulged enough is key to your overall health. Also, if you’re looking for diet-aids and work out equipment, they’re much cheaper in December than January.
Show Thoughtful Appreciation
We’ve all been there: it’s the 11th hour and you’re scrambling to find a suitable gift. I promised myself at the end of last year (after succumbing to the most embarrassing re-gifting of my life) that I would put conscious effort into the appreciation I showed because it says as much as the gift itself. This year, I started birthday and Christmas shopping well ahead of schedule and the result was choosing better gifts (and getting better reactions).
They say to know someone is to spend time traveling with them. Well if you’ve travelled with me, you’ve noted the countless city guides, maps, Frommers books and the like that line my backpack. It’s all there for one reason: to avoid getting lost.
Chalk it up to that North American mentality; even when we don’t know where we’re going, we walk fast because we’ll get there sooner. But life is a journey full of winding roads, and that’s why I’ve begun to embrace getting lost.
It takes some time to quell the cold sweat that materializes when you realize 7th avenue and 7th street are not the same thing, but I promise you, the result is something beautiful. When you get lost, you see things you’d never have seen, and up until this year I was so preoccupied trying to find my way that I would overlook everything worth seeing along the way, and the gems that may never cross my path again once I get back on my path.
The next time you get lost, take a moment to relish in the fact that you saw something you never thought you would when you woke up that morning.
(Update: OK. Got a few tweets asking if this was a metaphor. It wasn’t but if you want to take it as such, by all means)
Have an Argument
How many arguments have you avoided because you just didn’t want to deal with it? That was my m-o until last year. Upon a few failed relationships both personal and professional, I started to experience de ja vu when I heard the question being asked of me: why didn’t you say something sooner?
As a result, I’ve spoken up and told it like it is, even when I know conflict is imminent (it’s inevitable most of the time anyway, isn’t it?). As long as it’s constructive, arguments are a necessary part of working and personal life. We have different opinions and we should all be heard. Once I stopped taking opposition to my objectives personally, it freed up a lot of my brainpower to find a mutually beneficial resolution.
Take More Pictures
This was my New Year’s Resolution back when I got my first camera phone (shout out to the Motorola v220!), and I renew it with every passing year. As a challenge to myself, I try to take at least one picture a day. It’s tough and you miss days here and there, but I’m getting better and here’s the proof by numbers:
It’s beefed up my social media platforms, helped me remember nights I otherwise wouldn’t (or, cough, couldn’t) and in general given me a great memento of years past.
If you want to see some of my shots (and growing photography skills!) I try to upload my favourite picture of every week to my Instagram.
Just a friendly reminder that the calendar year does not need to dictate when you start bettering yourself. A year from now, you’ll be glad you started today.