New Year, New You? How To Tackle 2017

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Okay, so everyone will probably agree on the fact that 2016 was an absolutely sh*t show. People will look back at this year in the history books and stick their fingers in their ears to scratch their brains directly in confusion. However, 2017 will hopefully be a fresh and amazing start for new opportunities and a lot less disaster. Here are some tips, tricks and ideas to make next year the best it can be.

It's been said before and we'll say it again, New Year's resolutions are a bit old fashioned. Every year you get droves of people (and blogs) talking up the big New Year's Resolution game. You hear all of the time: the weight loss goals, an attempt to drink less, budget money, etc. However, most of the time these goals are goals you could set at any time of the year, but people feel that this made up change in time is a good starting point--but do they ever actually follow through with it? This year, when it comes to setting up resolutions, goals and changes in your life, don't depend on the time of year. Believe in yourself to make the change you want to make.

How to Keep A New Year's Resolution:

1. Commitment.

Commit to your resolution. It's not some scribble you put on a piece of paper (as pictured above) to keep in your nightstand drawer to clean out in June, or an idea that you have incubating in the back of your brain. This is a goal that you will want to accomplish and do whatever you can, whenever you can, to do so. Pick a goal that you want to commit to, and that you have time to commit to--or else you're setting yourself up for failure.

2. Don't Bucket List.

A resolution is not a "Bucket List" item. Bucket List items are like skydiving, travel to Paris, etc. Resolutions are goals that are to be set in order to better yourself and your life--to change this year from last year. You have plenty of time to fulfill yourself. This is about improvement.

3. Keep it simple.

"My New Year's Resolution is to lose 50lbs!" Now, is this possible? For some people, sure. However, most people can find themselves struggling with such a goal. This struggle can discourage and then the resolution is forgotten about. Keep resolutions simple enough that you have no excuse not to complete them, but don't be afraid to set a challenge. Lose 7lbs, start a "tattoo fund", save 10% of your paycheck every time, try three new exercises every day for a week, etc. The more you accomplish, the better you will feel and the more of a challenge you can set for yourself.

4. Don't give up.

Even if you don't nail your goal immediately, or even 100%, don't let that discourage you from keeping at it. Like, if you only lose 6lbs in the time frame you set for yourself instead of 10lbs, look at how your life has changed: do you feel healthier? Do you feel happier? Have you been having fun? Did you try something new? Did you really not need to lose 6lbs? You did something new, worked really hard towards a goal and discovered stuff. Good job!

5. Keep a journal or record.

Sometimes people need some organization when it comes to goals, and that's totally fine. Write down your resolutions on a chart, in a journal, on a piece of paper, or something. That way you have a physical reminder that you have goals that you want to accomplish. Then keep track of your progress in a journal or even in a vlog. Tracking your progress and change will hopefully show you that you are working hard and working at a challenge!

6. Get others involved.

Make this a family, friend, roommate or internet affair! Get others involved in similar goals to yours, that way you can each exchange experiences, ideas, advice, or help. Go online and start a blog/vlog, create a Facebook group or hashtag, etc. This is a great motivator for it allows others to hold you accountable for your goals. I understand how childish that must sound, but think about it, if you let yourself down because you dipped into your fund, or had that cigarette, you're just disappointing yourself and you get used to that after a while, but if your friend or your mom or your significant other is disappointed--well you will do anything to make sure that doesn't happen. It's good to have a team of support on your side, especially at the beginning. So whether these people are holding your accountable, or sharing the experience with you, get someone involved! It'll be a journey for all.

7. Get excited.

This shouldn't be a grueling and awful experience. There will be moments that reaching your goal will seem impossible, difficult, challenging and the stupidest idea you have ever had, but it is so important that you stay excited about your journey. No matter what happens at the end of the day, you know that you are working hard to better yourself or complete something and that is pretty awesome. I'm not one to harp and believe in participation trophies, but as long as you try to do something, no one can fault you. Get excited that you are changing, working hard and doing something awesome.

8. Come up with a rewards system.

This may seem counterintuitive because the reward is accomplishing the goal; however, rewards work for some people. Come up with a way to kind of give yourself a high five at the end of a week or month or however long cycle to keep you enthusiastic about your idea. Whether that reward is an extra hour of Netflix, or posting a selfie of your transformation, think of positive ways to keep you going. You can even think of the reward system as mile stones. Instead of earning rewards after a period of time, earn them for certain accomplishments within the goal. If you want to start a vacation fund, after ever $50 you save, do another part of vacation planning--this will keep you excited and engaged.

9. Try something new.

Let's say in 2017 you don't want to lose weight, stop smoking, or what have you. Life seems pretty okay, and you instead want to make it a bit better. Try something new! Find something that you have always considered doing, but never got around to. Every new experience contributes to your goal of wanting to do new things in 2017. Want to give photography a shot? Get a camera and go and shoot some photos. Want to learn a new skill? Take a cooking class, dance lesson, or ask someone you know to help you start crocheting a new scarf.

10. Don't let your resolution consume you.

It is important to not let the new you completely destroy the you that you are. Don't let your entire life become about fitness and weight loss until that's all you do or talk about, allow yourself to become healthier, but still able to have a conversation about a movie you saw. You're changing a part of yourself or your routine, not your entire being.

New Year's Resolutions to Try:

  • A ____________ Fund
    (save up money towards a "Bucket List" item instead of making the resolution into a Bucket List: Tattoo Fund, Paris Fund, New Car Money, Cruise Cash, etc.)
  • Wake up earlier
  • Try 15 new recipes by _____________
    (you can set dates for yourself as well with any resolution, the time frame may help with keeping you to your challenge)
  • Perform 20 random acts of kindness
    (volunteer at a shelter, donate blankets to the ASPCA, donate money to charities of your choice, offer to babysit your nieces and nephews, treat your parents to lunch, help clean up a local park, etc)
  • Reconnect with your family
  • Don't use your phone as much
    (plug it in across the room before you go to bed so that you don't use it while you're trying to sleep, set it to Do Not Disturb mode during meals, etc.)
  • Watch 2 new TV shows
  • Clean out email inbox at the end of every month to stay organized
  • Learn a new hobby
  • A DIY project a week
  • Quit __________
    (smoking, texting and driving, binge marathons, fast food, drinking during the week, etc.)
  • Budgets
    (set up budgets for yourself during the week to improve your spending habits)
  • Eat better
    (Getting fit/in shape or eat less are the top resolutions that people make and break every year. However, this isn't about shedding pounds or getting ready for bikini season. Eat better to feel better. Find recipes and healthy twists on your favorite snacks and meals, try new foods that you never thought you would enjoy, ask friends for recommendations, etc.)
  • Make a new friend
  • Find your "no way" outfit
    (put an outfit together that you love, but think "you could never wear" and gain the confidence to strut your stuff in it. Find an event that you would like to go to in the outfit and start the clock. Work out, listen to self help tapes, or jam out to music that gets your blood pumping, and get fierce.)
  • Happy time
    (set aside an amount of time everyday--sometimes an odd amount of time like 7 minutes or 23 minutes makes it seem longer--to do a task that brings you absolute joy.)
  • Clean out ________________
    (whether it's your iTunes library, computer files, closet, or your car, tidy up!)
  • Go to bed earlier
  • Purchase a new practical item
    (something that you have needed for a long time but have been putting off: mattress, toaster, refrigerator, couch, etc.)
  • Read 5 new books
  • Reread your 3 favorite books
  • Daily prompts
    (give yourself a creative outlet by doing daily writing, drawing or crafting prompts. At the end of the year, put it all together to see how 2016 improved you creatively)
  • Get certified in something

Have an amazing New Year! BRING IT ON 2017.

 

Spring Cleaning Tips and Tricks

Spring is a time for fresh and new and unclutter! Okay, perhaps that's not entirely a REAL word, but it should be. The origins of the spring cleaning tradition can be dated back to the Persian Empire, but for around here the tradition has lived on as a way to celebrate the end of a cold and wet winter and to welcome a nice breath of fresh air in the springtime! Here are some tips and tricks to make your spring cleaning an absolute breeze.

1. Stock up on cleaning supplies.
Dollar Tree or Walmart or Costco may be the best places for you to head out and stock up on cleaners because you can buy in bulk. What you'll probably need in your spring cleaning kit:
-Dish soap
-Dishwasher detergent
-Bleach
-Laundry detergent
-Dryer sheets
-Fabric softener
-Swiffer
-Stain remover
-Murphy's Oil Soap
-Lysol or another multipurpose cleaner
-Pledge
-Windex
-Soft rags or microfiber cloths
-Broom and dust pan
-Trash bags
-Latex gloves
-Vacuum
-Paper towels
-Sponges
-Dish brush
-Toilet brush
Make your spring cleaning kit fit your home! Here is a more comprehensive list as well as an explanation for each item that you may need!

2. Does it smell?
During the winter time, many houses can get a bit stuffy, so here are a few things that you can do or use to make your house smell nice and fresh:
-Pour a bit of vanilla extract into shot glasses and place them throughout the house, this will act as a mini air freshener
-Take a cookie sheet and cover it with aluminum foil, pour a bit of banana extract or vanilla extract on it and put it in the oven at 300 degrees for about twenty minutes, turns your house into a bakery!
-Febreeze air spray
-Glade plug ins
-Candles

3. Get organized!
Come up with a game plan for your spring cleaning. Figure out what really needs to be taken care of and what needs to be kept up on. Perhaps set some spring cleaning goals to keep up with throughout the season. If you also start with your least favorite rooms, like the bathroom or cluttered closets, everything else will seem like a cake walk. Set up a reward system for yourself or with the people you are cleaning with. Example: After I get the closet organized and the tub scrubbed, I'm going to order some pizza.
Don't try to tackle a big cleaning project yourself either. Make sure you can gather a few helping hands ahead of time! 

4. Never thought of cleaning it before? Clean it now.
Some people never think of cleaning out the dishwasher: scrubbing down the inside and washing the racks. Window blinds? Dusty! Trash cans? The can probably smells worse than the actual trash. Don't forget to clean out the sliding glass door track and spray it with some WD40.

5. Rotate your supplies.
You don't want to be using the same wet and dirty cloth for the counter tops, tables, floor, behind the toilet and all of the other grimy spots in your home. Be sure to change out the cloths or switch to paper towels. Same with your gloves. Pick up a ten pack of latex gloves from the dollar store, or get two pairs of the heavy duty rubber ones. Your hands will thank you!

6. Struggling to start?
As much as it would be ideal to tackle the worst parts first, as stated above, sometimes it's just not possible. So start with basics! Clean your windows, do your laundry, reorganize your kitchen, clean out your fridge. The cleaner your space becomes, the more you'll feel less stressed out to tackle the bigger projects.

7. Stupid Stains
At the Christmas party Grandma and Aunt Anne got a little crazy on the eggnog and managed to get quite a few stains on the table cloth, so you just shoved it in a drawer somewhere until now. I'm sure you could name a few examples of stains that you have just let be or have tried to get out but just gave up on because, hey, sometime's it's a lost cause. No more though! Martha Stewart's Stain Chart is super helpful. Check it out and get those stains OUT.

8. Beds
Strip all of the bed, all of em of everything. Let the mattresses air out for the day. Now toss the linens in the wash or perhaps treat yourself to new ones to start the first night of spring off restful!

9. The Food Fight
It's time to get rid of those leftovers from Thanksgiving that are turning into a seventh grade science project in the back of your fridge. Put on your gloves, grab the trash can and go through every item of your fridge. Check expiration dates, open Pyrex containers and if you don't recognize it, TOSS IT. Do the same for your pantry as well. While you're going through, perhaps you'll figure out what you need at the grocery store.

10. Rough Rugs
Steam clean your rugs and carpets. You'd be surprised how much gunk and dust gets trapped within the fibers during the year. You can rent a steam cleaner for super cheap or perhaps hire a service as the last item on your cleaning to do list.

11. Replace, Renew and Resell
While you're cleaning, make note of anything that is broken, old, or not usable anymore. Make a shopping list for things that need to be replaced or perhaps just repaired. However, while exploring throw some items into a box or to the side that you want to sell at a yard sale or at a consignment shop. Who said cleaning shouldn't pay?

12. Outdoors
Wait for a nice and warm day to head outside and power wash the house, clean out the gutters, pull some weeds and reorganize the garden gnomes. Just don't forget outside cleaning!

13. Rearrange and Redecorate
Rearrange furniture in some rooms or put up a new coat of paint to really get a fresh new look.

Happy cleaning!