2013 was bumpy. Like a lot of folks I know, I’m thrilled to kiss it goodbye and start anew. Now that we’re back into the daily grind, I’m excited to bring a positive outlook to this new year. Here’s what I’m aiming for:
1. Be more fluid – Life never unfolds according to plan. Instead of wringing my hands in frustration, I want to feel at peace with not achieving perfection all the time.
2. Look better – When I’m tired and pressed for time, I don’t channel much energy into my appearance. Last year, I lived in a cobbled-together uniform of T-shirts, sweaters and jeans. This year, I hope to plan in advance to avoid a rut of hurried, ill-conceived ensembles. While it may seem superficial, our appearance affects our projected confidence, which consequently affects our interactions with others.
3. Hit the gym twice a week – We moved to Brooklyn in June after living in Astoria for 7 years. My deeply ingrained life patterns were uprooted, leaving me disoriented and feeling unable to adjust to my new surroundings. This, coupled with a hectic work schedule and faulty apartment complete with mice, roaches, leaks, broken appliances, gave me every excuse to avoid the gym. No more excuses.
4. Eat healthy – I am a stress eater. When upset, I console myself with cookies, donuts and fries. Rather than adhere to a disciplined diet, I stuck my head in a trough of fried, processed, cheesy foods that could best be described as a five-year-old’s dream. My waistline and sluggish energy levels are demanding that I toss the tater tots and Oreos. I’m starting by eating a salad every weekday.
5. Stop comparing myself to other people -In New York City, comparison, frustration and jealousy are impossible to avoid. With more than 8 million driven individuals fighting to reach the top, there is a constant, unspoken comparison of apartments, accomplishments, wardrobes and salaries. Inevitably, someone in NYC will always be better than you and have nicer things than you. Rather than focus on what I don’t have, I’m learning to enjoy the moment and appreciate that what I have is enough. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
6. Get my money right – Like Kanye says, “Wait till I get my money right, then can’t nobody tell me nothing.” There’s a high possibility that I am the worst personal financial planner ever. With measly savings that could only provide a band-aid for a gaping financial wound, I want 2014 to be the year that I address my financial shortcomings and educate myself. Suze Ormon, here I come!
7. Focus on the positives – Last year, my constant need for perfection obscured all of the great things happening around me. Rather than relish my amazing fortune, I dwelled on what I didn’t have and what I hadn’t achieved. Thinking this way cheated me out of enjoying many, many moments and I’m making a conscious effort to recognize all good things, whether big or small.
8. Recognize that opting for a simpler life does not mean settling for a less fulfilling life – A busy life is not a barometer for one’s success. I often overextend myself in every arena (work, household chores, etc) and wonder why I’m unhappy. Paring down is not a bad thing if it increases your happiness.