Happy New Year to all!!

Okay, let’s take some steps to determine the happiness of the new year then!

There are always a lot of ‘new year, new you’ blogs and with this year, I think we are all ready for a fresh start. The questions are always how do we get it and how do we make it stick…at least, there’s where I struggle. The top resolutions revolve around physical health/ fitness and enjoying life more. These are all great without a doubt. Unfortunately, many of us had the same resolutions last year, the year before, the year before that, etc.

I’m going to share how I typically start my new year. To be honest, I have a similar routine after being sick too. The big point to me isn’t just the action but the INTENTION. It’s a great way to unite the mind and body and gain some other (secret) skills. Okay, we’ll talk about those skills a bit later, but let’s get to the list.

  1. Change your toothbrush. It’s a small thing to buy a new toothbrush, but did you know you should change it every 3-4 months? Most of us are simply unaware of how long it’s been (awareness is a secret skill). The intention here is to be aware of things we are clinging to in an unhealthy way. The intention here is to let go of those things.
  2. Wash/ change your sheets. Not everything can and should be thrown away. Some things require work and effort on our part. That is the intention here – be a responsible adult and do the things you might not enjoy, but that are our still jobs. Plus, there’s no better feeling than crawling into bed with clean sheets.
  3. Post something positive about someone else on your social media accounts. The first two focused on us, but this one focuses on someone else. Whether you prefer the ‘we’re all in the same boat’ or the ‘we’re all in the same storm’ analogy, the truth is that burning someone else’s boat doesn’t benefit us. Say something nice and encourage someone else in your life.

Three very simple things with much deeper meanings. We can start the new year by meeting 3 different resolutions. This is already progress and gives us the momentum to continue with more changes.

You can stop here and go do these three things…or you can continue reading for a few other tips I do each year in January.

[*If you haven’t read my books or blog before, I must disclose that I plan beautifully, but I execute poorly. I’m far from an expert so take these blog posts with a grain of salt and a margarita.]

As I mentioned, I have a similar routine after having a bad cold or flu. This seems to particularly important with Covid in 2020. I like the idea of starting fresh and clean – mentally, emotionally, and physically.

  1. Replace loofahs, razors, and any personal products. This is more of the letting go with the intention of opening your life to new things and ideas. I keep a drawer in my bathroom vanity for such extra supplies so I can replace them needed. I also keep extras of soaps, lotions, etc. Perhaps one day I’ll organize the drawer but that day isn’t today.
  2. Clean your house/ apartment/ car. Most of us clean better before guests visit (that isn’t just me, is it??), but 2020 meant no guests. Take the time to wipe down remotes, light switches, doorknobs, etc. Wash blankets, throws, towels, and even curtains if you can. It does take work. However, much like sliding into a bed with clean sheets, it feels good to look around and know you are taking care of your belongings. It’s not just adulting, but a sign of gratitude (another secret skill).
  3. Create/ update your emergency supplies. Considering the toilet paper debacle of 2020, I hope we’ve all learned to appreciate preparing in advance (learning is another secret skill). No, I’m not recommending hoarding and I’m not a doomsday prepper. I do have extra cleaning supplies (bleach, paper towels, etc), bottled water, canned goods, etc. FEMA has emergency supply lists with recommendations. I don’t have all of them, but I applaud those that do.
  4. Eat healthier. Again, I’m more likely to do this after an unhealthy time as it always feels good to breathe and have energy after an illness. We often lose that appreciation and take our health for granted just a few weeks later. I don’t believe diet has to be so extreme though I appreciate the desire for rapid results. I try to follow the 80/20 rule and dedicate some extra time toward that 80% healthy goal. Buy some extra vegetables, fruit, and drink more water. Try some new healthy products that you haven’t had previously.
  5. Read a book. Yes, I’m an author so I am morally obligated to say this. There are so many reasons to read – it’s healthy escapism, it shares others’ POVs and makes us more empathetic, and it encourages us to consider new ideas/ activities. These are only a few of a multitude of reasons so turn off the TV and read a book!
  6. Give back. Again, we aren’t alone. I do believe that idea that to change the world, we have to change ourselves. Thinking of others and supporting them is another way to change us. Remember that book you read above? Leave a review. Did you update your emergency supplies? Maybe donate to a local food bank. When you cleaned your house, did you discover things you no longer use? Donate them. Post online about a charity. Share a friend’s positive post. There are many ways to give back – some take money, some time, and some knowledge.

Nothing earthshattering or groundbreaking here, but writing it helps clarify things for me and inspires me to try. Hopefully, reading this and creating your own plan will help you too. Stumbling through 2020 doesn’t condemn 2021 – some epic journeys do start with a stumble. We can make the new year better starting today!

How about some secret skills to help us make 2021 better?

Awareness – Have you seen people swerve between lanes on the road? It’s typically distracted driving. Did the days blur for you in 2020 as they did for me? Awareness is a skill that must be practiced to be honed. If you aren’t aware now, that’s okay. You can gain the skill, and a few steps above can help start that journey.

Gratitude – Yes, 2020 was insanely rough. There are still things to be grateful for and we can’t lose sight of that. Comparing ourselves (our triumphs or our sorrows) to others doesn’t help with that. Look at your life as you clean and be grateful for all you do have.

Learning – We shouldn’t stop learning once we are out of school. It should be a constant journey that goes hand-in-hand with awareness and gratitude. We will make mistakes; we will be wrong. There’s nothing to be gained in clinging to either. We have to let go of those things. Be aware of the world as it is and not how you want it to be (awareness) and adjust your thoughts and behavior accordingly (learning) to be the best version of yourself.

This brings an end to my first ramble of the new year! I would love to hear how you are celebrating 2021 so feel free to comment below.

I do wish you and yours all the best in the new year…and that includes awareness, gratitude, and a chance to learn and change your life.

Until next time, my friends.

-RSJ

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