So here we are, it’s 2015. The hangover is over, hopefully (or in my case, the shock of staying up past midnight), and the reality has set in. Time to make good on those resolutions we promised ourselves way back at the end of 2014, or at least start on them. Right?
To be perfectly honest, I have never once made a New Year’s resolution. Never. So in order for this article to make any sense, I have spent my week thinking about what mine would be. Surprisingly it wasn’t that hard. I’ll get into my resolution a little later in the post but first, let’s talk about skeptics. There are so many reasons why New Year’s resolutions are doomed from the moment they pop into your head. The internet is filled with articles corroborating those points. Here’s one. But I say, the entire intention behind making them is good, so why not at least make a great effort?
According to Statistic Brain, the top three resolutions are: lose weight, get organised and spend less save more. Others included: fall in love, spend more time with family and quit smoking. These all sound like great goals to me and in fact sound like fabulous ways to want to spend your life. It also makes me a little sad that these seem unattainable to many. Surely there must be a resolution to these resolutions!
Is social media the solution? What if applications and websites are the key to reaching our goals and making good on our top three? What if their help and support will make our achievements viable and easy?
Let’s start at the top of the list. Lose weight. This is a biggie and one I know little about. I personally like the idea of being a little heavier and think being healthy is far more important than being thin. I think it’s a bit drastic to sign up for the gym on day one of the New Year and since I can’t stand “working out” and prefer outdoor physical activities, I would like to suggest a less aggressive approach. Winter is a tough and long season if you don’t enjoy winter sports and an easy way to put the pounds on if you hibernate. Skiing, sledding, snowshoeing and skating are wonderful ways to stay fit and feel great throughout the winter months. What if you commit yourself to one day of outdoor activity a week? For example, my son and I love to snowboard and ski, in fact we can’t wait for winter to start. We commit to being on the hill every Saturday, rain, snowstorm or shine. There are also many inexpensive ways to do this. Most hills offer night skiing 2-for-1 passes at least twice a week. It costs as little as 20$ for two people if you have equipment. Rentals are also half-price on these evenings.
Skating on the local rink is free and a ton of fun. It gives you an opportunity to connect with your neighborhood and is an instant play date for your kids. It makes “working out” fun! You can purchase second-hand skates if you like and even head out to Lansdowne or the Rink of Dreams (my plan for later tonight).
This can seem easier said than done, I know. So this is where social media can help. Here is a great app to help you get started. Active is an app to help you find activities that are going on near you such as walks, runs, ski clubs etc. My son and I are certainly not runners but we wanted to take part in a run so we entered Ottawa Race Weekend. We only did a 2K and we walked for part of it (he was only seven) but we had a wonderful time and everyone was so encouraging that we entered a 3K last fall and had a blast! You realise pretty quickly that you don’t have to be a track star, you can walk and feel just as proud of yourself! Applications like Active can help you find these events and help organise your time so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Being fit doesn’t have to happen overnight and it certainly isn’t a competition. Baby steps are more than okay.
Outdoor activities are also a great way of spending more time with family (another resolution in the top ten).
Number two on the list is one I can totally relate to. Getting organised! Let’s face it, life is busy and clutter is a heavy weight to carry around when you haven’t got the time for it. The messier the space, the less amount of time you will have for yourself and your family. Cleaning takes at least twice as long and makes your life so much less efficient. In fact, I think it’s a total waste of time to live in clutter. Everything from homework to laundry and dinners to extra curricular activities, can be almost pleasurable if there is some sort of order to them. Apps are the perfect tools to help simplify and manage our busy lives. Let’s start with organising our space. It’s useless to organise our grocery list if the space we fill up is in clutter (a tidy fridge and kitchen is also a wonderful incentive for healthy eating, aiding in the sustainability of number 1!!).
Here are some wickedly awesome apps to help you de-clutter and mstay organised!
You know that pesky paper work that builds up? Receipts you know you will need, warranties, important documents? These can all take up a lot of space over time and can you ever find that receipt when you need it? You must try Evernote, an app with the ability to scan your documents and store them in digital form! All of that annoying space consuming paperwork, gone!
One of my favourite apps is Brightnest! It’s kind of like the Pinterest of home maintenance. The website and application are stunning. It even has cleaning playlists! How much fun is that? It teaches you how hashtags can kill clutter, hello?!? All I can say is check it out and get ready to be inspired!
MagicPlan is another fabulous app! Great to use once the clutter is out! MP reminds you to clean everything from your purse to your oven. It keeps you on task throughout the year so you don’t feel over loaded!
Once your home is clutter free you can enjoy the time you never thought you had. It takes a lot of hard work and determination at first but is so easy to maintain once everything has its place.
Spend less save more. This kind of fits into my resolution. I would really like to take my son to the ocean but I just paid off my loan last March and am saving for a down payment to put towards the purchase of the home we currently live in. I do not have paid vacation as I am self-employed, so I need to make sure I have enough money set aside to get me there without dipping into my savings. Here is where online banking is great. You can make it so a specific amount is withdrawn from your checking account and placed in a savings account either weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. It doesn’t have to be a large amount but over time it can make a significant impact toward whatever it is you are saving for.
I’m sure some of you have seen the 52 week money challenge on Facebook. Again, there are naysayers but I think this is a painless way to save for yourself!
It wouldn’t be a true New Year’s resolution self-help blog post without adding some advice for those who have quitting smoking on their list. My best friend LOVES smoking but had a health scare a while back and over the past few years has become a professional quitter. He vowed to quit last year for the last time and it seems he has found success! He sends me updates from this app every so often. Cigarette Quitter Coach App. He swears by it. He has been smoke free for over five months! It’s worth a try folks:).
I think New Year’s resolutions have fabulous intentions but of course need a lot of hard work to accomplish. Just remember you have all year. You don’t need to “fix” everything in one day. The worst thing you can do is feel guilty if they don’t materialise over night. Take your time and breathe. Once your home is organised, you have quit smoking, become more active and saved your first million;), maybe it will be time to achieve #8 on the list. I have zero experience in this but many of my friends have had very successful and happy experiences with online dating (match.com app). Finding love has never been easier.