Welcome to the New Year!
While many of us are still in post-holiday blues, January can be a season of happy beginnings and fresh starts. I always find myself in the mindset to make the changes that I neglected to make the previous 11 months of the year. Whether you want to adopt a healthier lifestyle, get your home organized, or find more ways to spend time with your family, the natural reset of the calendar year is a great time to go for it. I am aware that most of those January resolutions end up falling by the wayside within a month — compare the parking lot of your local gym on the first week in January and again around Valentine’s Day for proof! So before you begin, I challenge you to take five minutes to think about what you want to change or improve this year — and write it down! You can put it on a simple sticky note stuck on the fridge or tape it to the front of your binder — find a place where you will see it — and hopefully be motivated by it. Your list should include something that will make you happy, something that will reduce stress, and something achievable. Is it spending time with your kids, drinking your morning coffee, or learning a new skill something that you think would make you happy that you aren’t doing? Could you find room in your life for that? OK, now that you made a list, it is time to take action.
Think about how you will make those changes — aka resolutions, happen. If you want to up your game, you can give yourself the incentive to follow through. Humans are extrinsically and intrinsically motivated by rewards — so think of something that will inspire you to stick with it! It can be as simple as a new outfit or gadget!
If you need some inspiration for things to put on your list, here are some ideas to get you started!
• Order Among the Chaos: OK, this is one I struggle with yearly, so please know this is at the top of my resolution list! I don’t know about you, but my house usually looks like I lost a game of Jumanji — especially after the holidays! Use the winter season, which generally includes more time spent inside, to implement a few simple organizing hacks into your home. Before you add any new bins or baskets, take a day, a week, or as long as you need to truly clean your house — especially those storage areas that, let’s face it, become dumping grounds for things we don’t use every day. Now it is time to purge items you haven’t used in over a year and commit to creating space for new things or organizational tools. Once you purge and organize those storage areas, think of how to use them more effectively and efficiently.
Group similar items together — this works for both clothing closets as well as utility areas — and look for ways to store them in bins or baskets that can keep them better organized. For example, you can find fun baskets for a linen closet that can keep your hand towels separated from your bath towels — and make it much easier to upkeep. Stackable storage is your friend here, as it will add space to your closet areas. Seasonal items should have their own space, but it does not need to be placed in an everyday location — consider devoting space to your holiday decor that can be organized by holiday or season.
This may be a dedicated area of your garage or basement — but it will free up other spaces for more common everyday things. Another excellent resolution that can aid in your efforts to have a simpler but satisfying life would be to make your entire household part of your resolution. If you have young children or teenagers at home, incentivize them to help you with your home organization strategies by giving them specific daily or weekly jobs. Cooking meals in advance, keeping things perpetually tidy, and maintaining an organizing system to reduce the need for overhauls can reduce your time usage.
The Gift of Time: Whether you are trying to find more time to go to the gym, take up a new hobby or practice more consistent self-care, the gift of time will help you achieve that goal. Think about what you would do if you had an extra hour each day to devote to the things that bring you joy. Isn’t that an exciting prospect? I always say that if I had one extra hour a day to do something, I would be happy — yet I find myself wasting time perusing my phone or doing things that don’t bring me much joy or productivity.
If it means hiring someone to clean your house once a month or giving up social media after dinner, you can create more time to spend on things that are meaningful to you and those resolutions!
Healthy, Happy You: I don’t know about you, but my clothes have been shrinking lately! Yes, I realize that the shrinking results from too many holiday treats and not enough exercise to burn off said treats. For me, getting to the gym never happens because, frankly, I run out of time by the end of the day. Does this sound familiar? Consider getting up a half hour earlier to go for a walk or run or if you are ambitious, give yourself an hour to dash over to the gym before the work or school day even begins. That will eliminate the chance of running out of time at the day’s end!
You can also find ways to carve out healthy time in smaller increments! My son has developed an obsession with exercise, so he uses any idle time to get some fitness in. When he wakes up, he does 15 each of pushups, burpees, and situps — he says it wakes him up and gets his cardio off to a good start. If taking a five-minute walk or doing 10 situps is all you can do to start — still do it! You will feel the benefits, and the time to do more will build up as your endurance does! If your healthy resolution involves a better diet, buy yourself a fun new water bottle or lunch box to make those healthy meals and extra water intake even more appealing.
(Editor’s Note: Kristine George is a freelance journalist who resides in Easton.)