Wednesday, January 2, 2013
At the end of December, watching snow fall outside still has a magical element to it, hearts are still warm from spending the holidays with family, and there really is a sense of something brand new around the corner. You start thinking about New Year's Eve and not only what you're going to wear and who you're going to kiss, but what you're going to change about yourself and your life as you begin an entirely different year. "I'm totally going to start going to the gym", "I'll cut out the junk food and start eating healthy," "I just want to lose weight" are ubiquitous statements during this time, but there are definitely more ways to jump start better self-esteem and work on self-improvement. Here are some other items you may wish to add to your list besides the usual resolutions that are easy to break and forget about before you even try to begin:
Stop apologizing for everything!
I don't know about you, but "I'm sorry" comes out of my mouth multiple times a day and it's hardly ever said when I actually do something I feel any level of guilt about. Instead, I say it when someone bumps into me at the store, after a stranger says something I couldn't quite hear, during a conversation with a friend when they start venting, etc... "I'm sorry" is said out of politeness, but after a while, we may start to feel like we really are to blame, especially when the person we're saying it to does not correct us. I know I usually hate hearing "It's not YOUR fault" because I think, "Well, I wasn't really trying to say it was..." but when we get in the habit of saying those words, it starts to make us look and maybe even feel weaker than we really are. We may start saying it as an automatic response when we feel less than perfect. Let's say your boss is trying to teach you a new way of doing something and while you're learning, you mess up a little and say, "I'm sorry". That's not something you should have to apologize for. Instead, let them explain again and ask questions if you have them, and try again. There's no reason to belittle yourself, even if you think it's just a polite way to handle the situation. It's a way to hang your head and that's not very empowering at all!
For all those people who felt like the world would end on the 21st (you sillies), you should treat this year as a second chance and quit overthinking what you really feel like doing! See a cute guy at the cafe? Flash him a smile (and make TSwift's "Begin Again" your new theme song)! Want to wear more eccentric clothing? (I'm looking at you, Anne Hathaway!) Don't spend time worrying about what people think! The right people will appreciate your personality and your actions. Take risks and if they don't work out, you've at least gained experiences that will help you in the future and if they do work out, you receive unexplainable personal satisfaction and know you're capable of reaching even higher next time. Sounds pretty good to me!
Don't turn Facebook into a soap opera, please.
"What's going on?" or "How's it going?" is what the status bar asks you 24/7 on Facebook. That does NOT mean you have to spill to the world how upset you are over a breakup or use it as a way to vent about friends or complain about your newborn baby. Please invest in a journal (and no, I don't mean a very public Tumblr account where you write about how much you hate your BFF's mom and wish you were more attracted to your own boyfriend).
Also, if you're having serious relationship problems, this is not the time to post super-happy pictures of you and your man online. It's one thing if you're trying to make it work and you genuinely like the photo and want to share it...but it's another thing to try and fool your hundreds of FB friends into thinking you're so happy that they wouldn't be surprised if you got engaged soon, when really, your guy makes you feel like absolute crap and you know a breakup is around the corner. Your real friends who know the truth will most likely get very annoyed. Plus, if you like getting the attention from the growing "likes" and sweet comments about how perfect you two are on the photo, it's not going to make changing your relationship status to "Single" any easier, as superficial as that sounds.
It's easy to feel a sense of freedom as you express your thoughts in a location where you're not physically in front of everyone, but that's why caution is so important. Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with people and look back on some really great times...get excited to look through your "2013 Year in Review" and grin at the positive, awesome things you said and did throughout the months ahead.
Put effort into your friendships!
We've all been victims of the half-annoying-half-funny game of Phone Tag, which proves that yes, both you and your friend do have crazy schedules, but yes, you both really do want to find a way to finally catch up. It's difficult to check in on your buds even when they live 20 minutes from you, not to mention checking in on friends who live hundreds of miles away. If you want to do something quick and easy just to let them know you're thinking of them, try a "grand gesture" like sending them a gift from their favorite website or ordering food online to have delivered to their place (tried that once...first make sure they're definitely home!). It's nice to have that instant-on connection with friends when you don't see them for a while and can still pick back up exactly where you left off, but don't rely on that and Facebook to keep your relationship strong. Make this year a year where you become the friend you would love to have and not only will karma have your back, but you might inspire your BFFs to step it up a notch, too!
Say goodbye to settling!
Unfortunately, it's easy to fall into a routine of settling. Maybe your job has left you feeling uninspired and stressed and all you want is to try another career path, but you're too afraid of change, so you settle. Maybe your best friend from elementary school has been drifting for a long time and only makes time for you when she needs something in return, but you don't want to throw away such a long friendship, so you continue being used by her over and over again. Maybe your boyfriend has made it clear he doesn't want to work on the issues you have been bringing up to him and he'd rather hide things from you than put in the effort. You know you're not happy and deserve better, but you hate the idea of being alone, so you continue settling and hoping it gets better. "Life is short" is a popular saying, but sometimes it seems like people take it as "So keeping dealing with the same crap because it will be over soon!" instead of "So do what makes you happy and have no regrets!" If you're taking courses for a certain major your family has been pushing you towards and you'd really rather pursue a different field, don't worry about upsetting them...think about where you'll be in 10 years and if you'll be genuinely happy with the path you're currently taking. Settling is the worst and it's an acceptance within yourself that you're choosing to give up the possibility of something better...and that's not what 2013 is going to be about. This year is about really finding yourself and doing that by holding on to your goals, values, and passions with more conviction than you ever have before.
So, now that the parties have passed and the infamous ball drop in Times Square has come and gone, let's plan on making this our year of empowerment, spreading love, and staying positive. Wear sparkly dresses, smile from ear to ear, remember that actions speak louder than words, and YOU can make this year your very best one yet!