12 RESOLUTIONS TO CONSIDER FOR 2016
Making resolutions for the new year is one of my favorite things! There’s something very inspiring about listing the possibilities for the year to come and dreaming up ways to re-invent yourself! If you haven’t made New Year’s Resolutions a part of your routine, I recommend that you start this year. Here are my 12 suggestions to get you going…one for each month!
Resolution #1 START A JOURNAL OR BLOG
Journals are like time-machines made out of paper.
It doesn’t matter how many years go by, I can still pick up an old journal and read about where I was in my life- and a flood of memories come rushing back to me.
~Buy yourself a journal or a notebook. Try to choose something that you would enjoy writing in, and if you are feeling really frisky, go grab yourself some sweet pens. Use a journal to fit your needs. If writing daily is cathartic, start there. If you prefer to use a diary to document main events in life without the froo froo, then more power to you.
~Don’t feel like you have to impress anyone. Your diary should be raw and real. I write sloppy and quickly, and I don’t always put a lot of thought into sentence structure. The point is to record parts of your life that you want to be remembered.
Resolution #2 MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH YOUR DOCTOR
If you haven’t seen your doctor in years, make this the year that you get checked out. Make an appointment for a physical, and come with a list of symptoms you frequently deal with, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. Puzzle pieces alone look like chaos, but when they are pieced together by someone who has experience, the full picture is easier to see.
~If you don’t have a doctor, the best way to find one is to ask around. Your friends and family often have experience and can tell you who is the best, and who you may want to avoid.
GET YOUR PICTURES DEVELOPED
How many digital pictures do you have? I have thousands, and they sit in a hard-drive. Gone are the days when we had to actually develop a photo before seeing it.
Think of the value that pictures bring to your life, especially the ones with loved ones. They are truly special and unique. Placing pictures of cherished moments all around you creates a foundation of heritage and belonging. When considering what to print, and what to keep on a hard drive:
~Don’t feel pressured. Choose the best of the best. The silliest, nicest, or ugliest. As long as YOU like them.
~Don’t assume that printing your pictures is tedious or costly. You can order prints from home with little effort. There are plenty of online printing companies that you can send your files to, and most of them have a new customer discount that offers a percentage off your order. I have used Shutterfly often and they even have options available for printing your favorite images on mugs, calendars, blankets, etc. https://www.shutterfly.com/
KEEP IN TOUCH
We all have family members that we only see once or twice or year…maybe not even that! Making a resolution for 2016 to keep in touch with your family, extended family, and old friends can be a rewarding process with long-lasting benefits.
~Make a list of the most important people you want to keep in touch with ; then from there you can add other friends and extended family.
~Decide realistically how often you would want to reach out. If you have a tight schedule, maybe once a month is the magic number for you.
~If you are an introvert this may be more difficult for you, but relax…there are ways to say hi without throwing yourself into a dinner date or being stuck on the phone for four hours. The main thing to remember is that this is your life, and you have the right to chose who is in it, and how much time you invest into that relationship.
~Keep your tools handy! If your friends/family are on Facebook, then communicate that way when picking up the phone is difficult. If some are more email and text communicators, then drop them a quick line that way. Send someone a card in the mail. Use whatever means of communication is easiest at the time and check this resolution off your list!
MAKE YOUR FAMILY PHOTO A TRADITION
This one is simple, and could be a decision you are thankful you made years down the road. Grab your spouse, your kids, your cat, and whoever else is in your immediate family and throw someone a camera or a phone and smile! It doesn’t have to be perfect, and you don’t have to dress up. You don’t even need an occasion to take one. Just making the conscious effort to capture a moment where all of you are together can be a priceless memory for everyone in the years to come.
CLEAN UP YOUR MOUTH
This is a particular motivation of my own for 2016.
As a Christian, my faith requires a higher standard for my behavior than I would set. I believe that when a good father asks their child to do… or not to do something, it’s for that child’s benefit. When my Heavenly Father puts it in writing that swearing is not a behavior I should continue in, then I start to consider why. After all, they are just words. But its not hard to see that “just words” can cause a lot of problems. Words have power, and we all can agree with that. My proposition to you, is to choose your words more carefully this year, as if each one can add or subtract value from your life.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” ~Ephesians 4:29 ESV
Take some time this year to trim off some of the unwanted “fat” in your life: and by “fat” I mean anything extra that isn’t useful. This could mean different things for everyone. For some it could literally mean fat. For me, it means going through some leftover clothes and boxes in storage, and cutting back on recreational spending to focus on some financial goals. To someone else it could mean going through a closet, or choosing a less expensive cell phone plan. If you pay for a paper you never read, cancel the subscription. If you spend hours a day helping someone else when your life is a mess, maybe it’s time to say “no” more often.
Just remember—downsizing is not about getting rid of a bunch of stuff you paid for, it’s about re-evaluating what has purpose in your life, and what doesn’t.
PAY OFF DEBT
Downsizing will bring with it the freedom of more space, more time, and hopefully more money. If you form a plan now, it will be easier for you to do something productive with what you have gleaned instead of squandering it. In the battle against debt, remember: slow and steady wins the race. This is about determination and patience. Think of yourself as the turtle who ends up crossing the finish line. Stay focused your debt will be paid off sooner than you think.
~Come up with a plan, and if you can, include a timeline. If you are horrible with finances then it’s time to get real and get help. Tell someone you trust and ask for support. Write your plan on a paper and put it somewhere you will see it often.
~Create a budget. Google is full of free online resources that provide tips for budgeting. Just remember to keep your personal information to yourself to avoid scams. You can also rent books from the library or visit your church. Churches will often offer workshops for paying off debt. If you are in need try asking for a scholarship.
~Keep looking for ways to downsize. This may mean getting a cheaper car, a basic plan for your cell phone, and little to no shopping for extras. If you have done all you can, ask your support system for a new perspective. Maybe they can see something you are doing that you are not aware of.
Resolution #9 SHOP THRIFTY
It’s kind of amazing the things you can find in a thrift store. Believe it or not, but there are a lot of people who donate never used or slightly used items to places like The Salvation Army and Goodwill. It may take a little searching, but thrift stores can be well worth your time.
~Shop with a list. Know what you’re looking for before you hunt. Thrift stores aren’t as organized as department stores-but that’s half of the fun!
~Check out consignment stores. There are more and more of what I call, “upper class” thrift stores now than ever before. Places that won’t even take stained or out of fashion clothing. Some of them act as consignment shops where you can get good deals on stuff that you may not normally buy new.
SHIFT YOUR FOCUS OUTWARD & VOLUNTEER
Last year, I decided that I was going to challenge myself. I started a Facebook page and invited all of my contacts to join me in a year-long schedule of service. Each month, I would chose a volunteer mission and provided information about how others could get involved. Some of the “missions” included donating time and resources to pet shelters, food banks, local cancer fund-raisers, and I even organized two independent coat drives. I committed to contributing what I could, even if I could only give my time to promote each cause. I wasn’t able to donate for all of them, nor was I able to participate in each mission, but I promised myself that I would do what I could—and I did.
Volunteering to help others is a great way to bring out the best in yourself, and others. Make the year 2016 that you shift some of your focus outward. There are plenty of ways to get involved in causes that you are passionate about, and that won’t deplete your pocketbook or consume your schedule. What pulls on your heart strings? Cancer? Puppies? The elderly? Whatever it is, you can start anytime, and build your legacy in 2016.
~Relay for Life with the American Cancer Society raises thousands of dollars each year for cancer research and patients. With the help of donators, they provide patients with free accommodations for patients and their caregivers who have to travel for treatment, free transportation to and from doctor appointments, counseling from survivors who offer support, and even a free service that works with women undergoing chemotherapy that teaches them beauty tips and hair treatment options.
~Livestrong is another cancer fighting organization that is hitting the pavement hard with it’s relentless fund-raising for patients and families. I have been involved in receiving help from both the American Cancer Society and Livestrong, and the support they gave us was overwhelming. You can either join an event locally or start your own in honor of a loved one or just because!
Resolution #11 ADOPT A FRIEND
If you are an animal person, and have the time and resources, consider adopting a pet from your local shelter. There are plenty of loving animals of all ages who need a home. Being honest about your preferences and needs in a pet are critical when considering adoption. The worst thing to do is adopt without thinking long-term and placing your needs first. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to find out what’s the best pet for you.
Pedigree offers a breed-matching site that asks you to answer a series of question to recommend the perfect dog for you. ( http://www.pedigree.com/all-things-dog/select-a-dog/breedmatch.aspx )
Dogtime offers an assessment test to see if you are even ready for adoption, as well as a breed-matcher. ( http://dogtime.com/matchup )
Wikihow offers advice on all of the above for those considering cats. I would advise against exotic pets, as most of them die prematurely from owners’ inability to re-create critical living conditions. ( http://www.wikihow.com/Choose-a-Cat )
Resolution #12 TAKE A RISK
Use your head, but use your heart too! Take a risk in 2016.
Tell that person that you care about them, take that trip with your family, open an eshop on Etsy, apply for your dream job/college! Stop dreaming about moving and seriously consider your options. Go on a mission trip. Have that talk with your spouse. Confront your fears. Get counseling. Give up smoking.
You have unlimited potential to make your life into whatever you want! Do something good for yourself and take a risk that you won’t regret in 2016. Have a great year, readers!
You can re-invent yourself
You can start over
You can change the direction of your life