The New Year
Happy New Year Everyone! I hope everyone had a fabulous (and safe!) New Year’s Eve and spent t exactly they way they wanted to. I spent mine in NYC, with my brother and his wife early on in the evening, and then at a local bar with some friends … and strangers! But then that’s the beauty of New York – despite the bad reputation of “New Yorkers are rude,” they’re really not. It’s surprisingly easy to engage in great conversations in the city, and I had a wonderful time last night. Moreover, it did not involve copious amounts of alcohol; just one glass of wine, some dancing, and plenty of great conversation.
I’m back in Boston today, and one of the things I’m surprised about is the fact that I haven’t heard too many people making any New Year’s Resolutions for 2012! Usually, I hear folks listing several resolutions from “I will eat healthier food,” “I will exercise 3 or more times a week,” “I will lose weight….” etc, etc. But I haven’t heard any so far this year…. And I wonder if that’s a good or a bad thing. On one hand, a resolution sets some sort of a goal for you, an objective or ideal that you know you want to change or tackle, and it at least helps you identify a certain aspect of your life/lifestyle that you want to change. On the other hand, some people may find that it stresses them out and that when they miss a resolution or don’t initially succeed at it, they get discouraged and regard themselves as a failure…
But I don’t think that it’s really that “cut and dry…” I think that New Year’s Resolutions are actually a good idea to help you identify and list certain goals or objectives for the New Year. They can range from anything from “eating healthier,” to “managing your finances better,” or “setting a budget” for yourself…But, I also think that they should be realistic, and identify and prioritize concrete steps that will help you achieve those goals. They should also set some sort of a timeline for those steps. For example, take the following goals:
1. “Eating Healthier.” On it’s own, this is far too vague and doesn’t define what “healthier” means for you, or identify the steps that will lead you towards achieving this goal. A more meaningful goal might be:
“I will strive to eat at least 2 pieces of fresh fruit every day, to eat breakfast every morning, and to try a new vegetable dish every week (or as frequently as you think is realistic for your lifestyle). I will also swap out processed grains for whole grains at most meals.” This goal sets some concrete objectives that are actually measurable and that can help you towards eating a more nutritious diet.
2. “Managing My Finances Better.” Again, this is far too vague on its own. A more meaningful resolution might be “I will meet with a financial advisor and review my current earnings, savings, investments etc, and decide on a realistic plan of saving for retirement.” Or, if meeting with a financial advisor isn’t affordable, it might be as simple as deciding to set aside a certain amount from each paycheck and having it directly deposited into a savings account. Or setting a budget of $ x dollars for eating out and entertainment every week.
I also think that we need to keep in mind that making a resolution does not mean being “perfect” about it all year round! We don’t all eat “perfectly healthy” all year round, and sometimes we spend a little more than we planned on doing so…but as long as we acknowledge these moments, recognize them and not let them become “the norm,” we ca still maintain a healthy balance and a healthy perspective on life.
So what are my New Year’s Resolutions?
1. To not let opportunities pass me by or put certain goals off for “another time.” One of my goals has been to run another marathon – especially the ING NYC marathon; and so tomorrow, when the lottery for the NYC marathon opens up, I’m putting my name in 🙂 And if I don’t get accepted then I will sign up for another one in the Fall.
2. To run at least 3 half-marathons in 2012. (I’m signing up for 2 when the applications open up this week!).
3. To incorporate more raw foods in my diet by eating at least 1 raw meal per day, and having one “Raw Day” a week.
4. To define a monthly spending budget for myself and then sticking to it! This one will be hard but I’m going to work on it this week, and set specific dollar limits for myself for groceries, entertainment, gas and travel expenses. Savings will have to wait since I’m a full-time graduate student (so I’m not saving anything), but setting spending limits for myself will help me become more mindful of my spending habits.
5. To post on Coffee Beans and Greens at least 3 times a week, even when I have really busy weeks.
But as with all things, I think a balanced perspective will be key for 2012. I may not be able to achieve all my resolutions – but starting and trying is part of the fun and the challenge. After all, you can never know if you can do something (run a 5K, half-marathon, marathon, cook, define a budget, etc etc) until you give it a try and a fair chance! So whatever your goals and resolutions are for the New Year, I wish you all the very best for 2012! May it be a fabulous and prosperous year for everyone!