Tuesday, January 02, 2007

My New Year's Resolutions

I'm not a big New Year's resolution person. If during the year I find something I want to change about myself or my life, I try to address it right away. I figure that if I want to lose weight or try something new, why wait another five months to start? But the end of a year is a nice time to look back and reflect on what you learned, how you changed and what you'd like to do differently in the coming year, and begin the new year with a fresh start.

My list of resolutions includes a mixture of old and new projects, including some things I've been struggling with for a long time, and others that I simply haven't given enough attention to in the past.

Resolution #1: Be more generous. This applies to every area of my life. While I try hard to show others that I love and appreciate them and give some (but not enough) of my time to helping others in my community, there's still a lot more I can do. Even really tiny things, like not volunteering to do a favor for someone when I know they'd like it, or not sharing (oh, this chocolate? Sorry, I must have eaten the rest.). Generosity is underrated.

Resolution #2: Be more patient. Again, this is a very general problem, but one I really should address. I HATE waiting for anything and I get so frustrated when people are slow. I also have a mild case of road rage. I realized that I should add this to the list yesterday when I was driving behind this car that was going 5 miles under the speed limit. I was screaming at the car to speed up when I realized that it was a hearse. Hello, my name is Meghan, and I have road rage.

Resolution #3. Be more open-minded to other people's ideas, beliefs, etc. I'm someone with very strong convictions, I'm often stubborn and I like things done my way. But I often think of myself as being an open-minded, tolerant individual, which certainly clashes with my actions. I'd like to work on making fewer assumptions about others, listening to what they have to say, and actually considering their views before I judge them.

Resolution #4: Continue the healthy habits I established in 2006. I happen to attend a college with one of the best dining programs in the country (when I'm at home, I actually miss the food). Which is mainly why I gained about 10 lbs after my freshman year. My sophomore year (last year) I decided to do something about it, and I've lost nearly 20 lbs, by exercising regularly, eating only healthy, non-processed foods and in general, treating my body well. While I'm no longer trying to lose weight, I'd like to maintain my current weight and healthy habits, as I feel far better than I ever have before.

Resolution #5: Continue to work towards my goal of securing a good job by graduation. This is somewhat self-explanatory. Earlier this year, after a number of unpaid jobs and internships, I decided that my goal would be to find a job that I loved but would also allow me to live (modestly) in New York City, completely financially independent. Based on the experiences of my recently graduated friends, this is a lofty goal, so I'm working very hard now (with a year and a half left) to try and make that a reality.

I've read that 80% of people who make New Year's resolutions fail by January 20th. So I did a little research and found some tips for following through on your resolutions:

Focus on realistic goals with measurable results. Breaking each goal into small steps that you can manage on a daily basis will make your goal far easier to tackle. Start very small and work your way to bigger things.

Tell others about your resolutions so they can hold you accountable. It really helps if you have a friend who has the same resolution, as you can support each other. The accountability issue is huge, it's one of the main reasons that Weight Watchers is so successful.

Start acting right away. If you put it off, you'll lose motivation.

Don't beat yourself up if you start to slip. If by January 10th you're back to eating Big Mac's, stop feeling guilty and get back to your good habits the next day. It's inevitable that you'll slip at some point, but that slip never has to turn into failure. Start fresh and move forward.

Best of luck on all of your resolutions!

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