We are halfway through January of 2015 and I had yet to make a New Years resolution. Truth be told, I love the idea of them but I am terrible at coming up with something that’s both meaningful and realistic. Last year I resolved to complain less. It worked for a couple of months until I had “an India day”, where something relatively simple and straightforward ends up being a lot more complicated and round-about than it needs to be, resulting in… you guessed it, COMPLAINING. To be honest, I was also at the start of my pregnancy and hormones may have played a role as well, so I’m not sure it was a realistic resolution for me to keep.
I don’t like the cliché resolutions – eat fruit/vegetables at every meal, go to the gym 5 days a week, only drink alcohol on weekends, etc. They are all great ideas, but for me, they all have the potential to fail, which doesn’t make me feel good. When I was in England over the holidays, I was watching the BBC news and the anchor was talking about New Years resolutions. They did a brief story about a man in England whose resolution for 2014 was “365 days of kindness”. Everyday, he did something nice for someone else and kept track of those things. Some of these things were recorded so he was able to keep a memento, and one of them ended up being played on the news. In the example, this man, very simply, paid the parking meter for another person. While it was only a couple of Pounds (GBP), it wasn’t the money that mattered. It was the fact that he kindly did something for someone else, JUST BECAUSE, and that other person was so deeply appreciative and overjoyed.
The “365 days of kindness” is probably one of the best resolutions I have ever heard anyone make, which got me thinking. Yes, this guy was doing kind things for others to make them happy, but he also said that seeing the happiness emerge from others resulted in increased happiness in himself, reducing stress and helping him to enjoy life that much more. Increased happiness. It’s really a very simple idea but something that many seem to find hard to achieve, probably because we all run around like crazy people most of the time, make to-do lists about our to-do lists and set unrealistic expectations for ourselves. This year, I’d like to take more time for myself, for my family and for my friends. To make more time to do things that positively impact myself and others, helping to make myself happier but also hopefully other people as well. Some examples of things I can think of are:
- Food: I love grocery shopping. I love watching shows on the Food Network. And I love trying to replicate what I watch. It makes me really happy to cook for & have a meal with people I care about. And if someone else gets a free meal out of it, that’s a good thing too!
- Volunteering: I’ll admit that I find it hard to get excited about volunteering because I never know what I’m getting myself into – more the hesitation that comes with the unknown. However, I cant remember a time when I attended a well organized volunteer event and didn’t leave looking forward to doing it again. It’s a personal feel-good factor, but volunteering usually benefits others as well so it’s a double-whammy.
- Running: Okay, so this one falls into the clichéd “exercise” resolution, and it’s more about me than other people. However, it’s just running. Jeremy and I have done a few half marathons together, and I always loved our training. Saturday mornings up and down the river in NYC, each week adding extra mileage. We both felt like we’d accomplished something to kick start the weekend and it always set us up for having a great remainder of the weekend together. I’d love if we can do a half marathon together in 2015, as it’s been ages (4 years) since we’ve done one, but really the goal is just to do it if it makes me happy.
- Slowing down: I’m not known for this. I’m not the type of person who usually sits around on the weekends relaxing. Jeremy can sit on a sun lounger listening to Podcasts, reading a book or just relaxing for hours on end. Me? Not so much. I’m cooking, or shopping, or making plans for something. However, when I DO take some time to slow down, I start to take in my surroundings and appreciate the smaller things in life. Taking a walk, watching a movie, reading a book. None of that happens when I’m go-go-going all the time, and I’m happier when I take some time to slow down.
As I mentioned earlier, I don’t like resolutions that set you up to fail, so I’m not going to define any of this by numbers or exact things that I need to do. i.e. I will not say “Run 15 miles per week” or “Volunteer every Saturday morning”. That just won’t happen and then this resolution will be a bust, like many are. Instead, I’m just going to aim to do more of the things that make me happy this year and less of the things that don’t. It will be a successful resolution if I can manage that much. I’ll take some time to fill you in on my adventures throughout the year so you can see how I’m doing with it.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a morning run to do in the warm sunshine 🙂