5 New Year Resolution Alternatives For Those Of Us Who Don’t Do Resolutions

New Year Resolution OptionsI’ve never been a New Year Resolution type of gal. That’s likely because for me growing up new year celebrations meant Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur not the December 31st to January 1st thing. Sure, I watched the ball drop and all the parades on TV. And even went to the Rose Parade one year. But resolutions weren’t really on my radar until I was in college. And even then, I never really got in to the whole excitement of saying I’ll do things only to decide a few days later it’s not gonna happen.

I’ve asked my Rabbi before if Jewish people make resolutions. As in, when Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur come around why is it that I don’t hear a lot of talk about all the great things we decide we’ll do in the year ahead. I’ve never really gotten a good answer. Sometimes I’ve been told it’s because we focus on forgiveness and look forward in the coming year to doing better for ourselves and others. Other times it’s more about the spiritual well-being of our resolve than the physical and economic. The general focus, I’ve come to understand, is, in addition to the teshuvah, often translated as repentance (that whole ask for forgiveness part), the Jewish new year is a return (another definition of teshuvah) to spirituality, goodness, and charity.

As a progressive Jewish woman, there are many secular aspects of this whole resolution thing I want to embrace. Not the make them and break them part, but the change part. The quest to improve and make things better, not only for myself but also for others. Which is why I’ve been looking at ways to use this changeover to 2016 as a catalyst to kick up my quest for reminders and actions to make every day better than the one before.

So if making resolutions isn’t your thing, but you want to do something here are some fun and encouraging ways to help you make 2016 your year!

5 Awesome and Amazing New Year Resolution Alternatives

Start a gratitude journal – There are scientific studies that show gratitude actually makes us happier and healthier. Kind of like a diary, a gratitude journal is a place where you write down things you are thankful for. You can be as creative as you wish. No pressure to write 50 things a day or explain everything in detail. It doesn’t have to be big things. It’s what YOU are grateful for that day. You don’t need a fancy journal or pen. Any notebook will work. And as time goes on you can upgrade if you want. Start out simple and before you go to bed just write down 3 or 4 things that made you grateful that day. It could be as simple as having your water bottle because you were super thirsty and couldn’t stop for a coffee or soda. It could be coming home at the end of the day and not having to make dinner because you had leftovers from the night before. Maybe you’re grateful for a text from a friend or being able to send a text that cheered up your friend. You get it, right? Just a few things, every day, that fill your heart with joy and give you a reason to say “good things happened today”.

Create a happiness jarHappiness jars have been around for ages. DIY and self-help mavens have made them popular again, but the truth is, we did these when we were kids. We’d write things about the day and store these scraps of paper in our dresser drawer, a shoebox under the bed, a mason jar in the closet, or wherever prying eyes wouldn’t be able to find it. Again, nothing fancy if you don’t want. You just need a jar or a box and a piece of paper and something to write with. Of course, if it’s something pretty or decorative that you can see daily and that brings you joy, that will likely make it easier for you to stick with this journey throughout the year. At the end of the day, pick something that made you happy. It could be getting a promotion, finally quitting that crappy job, or getting to see an old friend. Even if it was a nose-to-the-grindstone or when-does-school-start-again kind of day, sometimes just taking a few minutes to focus on your heart and your happiness can be a big deal for your personal health and well-being.

Fill a dream jar – Instead of filling a jar each day, start the year with a jar filled with things that symbolize your dreams. That way you can see it every day and be motivated to keep at it. Fill it with pictures of places you want to travel. Maybe you want to finish your degree. Or start it. It could be a new house, more money, time with friends. Whatever it is that you want to do this year, add them to a clear jar by your sink or bedside or kitchen to remind you that today you’re going to do something to achieve your dreams.

Select a word – Sometimes we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to remember all these awesome things we’re going to do this year. Twelve months is a long time and planning that far ahead isn’t for everyone. So why not just pick a word. One word that will be your focus, your anchor, your driving force. And once you have chosen that one word, write it down and post it so you see it frequently. Maybe it’s in your daily planner for work or in a reminder note on your phone. Could be a sticky-note on the fridge or in the car. Write down your word and when you need to make a decision, ask yourself if it fits with your word.

Make a vision board – It can be as fancy and elaborate as you desire. Vision boards have been around for ages. Again, you probably made something like a vision board when you were a kid. Remember tearing apart all those magazines and sticking them on your wall or in a notebook? Channel your inner creative child and put together a vision board to keep you motivated all year. If a physical dream board isn’t your thing, there are a number of virtual dream board options.

So there you have it – five pretty awesome and amazing alternative to setting resolutions you know you’re not likely to keep. I wish you all the best in 2016. Thank you for visiting my blog, sharing your thoughts, and showing your appreciation by sharing my work. May all your dreams become a reality and may goodness and joy follow you throughout the year.

What do you think of these alternatives? Do you think one of them might be right for you? What other suggestions do you have as a resolution alternative?


Does The New Year Really Need A New You

New Year New You

As 2014 turned to 2015 I noticed a significant change in the marketing messages I was seeing. I also noticed a big shift in the status updates and posts I was seeing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and on blogs. It seemed that the message was no longer one of acceptance, but of change.

Every year the first weeks bombard us with “New Year, New You” ads. Get in shape. Lose weight. Eat better. Join a gym for just pennies a day. Buy this weight-loss program. It’s everywhere!

This year all of this “New You” stuff is bothering me. What happened to all the “you’re perfect just the way you are”, “find YOUR style”, “keep making healthy choices” messages from just a few weeks and months ago? Why all of a sudden am I not acceptable just the way I am?

Sure, I get that there is always an opportunity to make better choices in the foods we eat and buy. I’m always trying to find new ways to add movement and exercise into my day. And, to be honest, who among us wouldn’t like to shed a few pounds. But just as the ball drops to signal the beginning of a new year, all of a sudden this need to change is just too much. New Year New You

I don’t know where the love, kindness, and appreciation went. In an instant it was gone. No longer was I good enough or acceptable as I was. I need to change. I need to be fixed. Something’s wrong with me. And I don’t like that message. New Year New You

Maybe it’s because for the first time I saw these through the eyes of a mom with a soon-to-be teen daughter. One who will see these messages and wonder if maybe there’s something wrong with her. A vulnerable child who might think that losing weight, being skinny, or depriving herself is what life is supposed to be like for women. New Year New You

Or, maybe it’s because at 45 I’m starting to understand the idea of self-acceptance. Especially in a world that is filled with only-the-best-life-has-to-offer status updates and photos. Which are interspersed with motivational quotes, pictures of cats, and lots of photos of food.

Whatever it is, I find this whole “New Year, New You” concept wrong. I get resolutions, but I see more people just choosing a word to focus how they’ll pilot the coming year. I see people ditching resolutions for more informed lifestyle changes. I’m not a resolutions kind of person. Instead, I work on my well-being every day and am constantly seeking ways to accept myself while also using resources to improve. I think the new year is always a great time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t. But that’s also how I feel about almost any random day. It can be the first of each month, or quarterly, or even daily.

I think a lot of people like me just the way I am. And, well, I like me. So why should I create a new me just because it’s a new year?

Image Courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


2012 – Secure Your Mask First

Two years ago I started this blog as a way to encourage myself and others to find ways to do those things we were putting off, or at least begin saving for those things. Life happens and each day is an opportunity to do something not only for other people but also for ourselves.

In 2012, I continue my Year of Awesome 2.0 and I encourage you to make 2012 a year of wonder and amazement for yourselves. When you feel like you’re losing yourself, remember this advice we all have heard countless times as we ignore listen to the safety briefing prior to takeoff when we travel. If there is a loss of pressure, oxygen masks will deploy. Secure your mask first, then assist others around you.

Secure your mask first! Powerful words. Not just for emergencies in air travel but important words for life. You can’t do for anyone else until you do for yourself.

Make yourself safe. First. Only after we care for ourselves can we care for others. This isn’t about hedonism or being narcissistic. Nor is it about basic survival. It’s really about living our best lives.

I don’t often make New Year’s Resolutions. They tend to be forgotten, ignored or after a few months seem unrealistic or undoable. But we all need something to work toward. A destination, so to speak.

If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you know when you get there? One of those ‘parent-isms’ we’ve all heard. Or, gasp, have said to our own children. Again, though, very true. Know where you’re going and if you veer off course you’ll be able to get back on track. The road to nowhere is always long. You never know if you get there. Or is it that you’re alway there so you don’t need to continue? Hmm? That’s circular logic if I do say so myself. Yikes!

So do away with the goals and resolutions that are impossible to measure or achieve. 2012 is the year for success! Now, secure your mask first and take a deep breath. It may be a bumpy ride but we’ll all land safely!

To you, I raise my glass and toast a new year. Join me and say … To SUCCESS!

Image: jannoon028/FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Enough Time Moms: How to Set Resolutions You Can Keep


2012 Clock

Every new year brings an opportunity to finally do those things we’ve been putting off. So we sit down and write out a list of all the things we want to cross off a so-called bucket list. Often, we set ourselves up for failure because we just write down those things that we think we should have done or wished we’d done. But this year is going to be different!

Join me over at Enough Time Moms to learn how to set Realistic Resolutions. No more laundry list of random. Create an achievable list to help you be successful.

Disclosure: I am a compensated blogger for Enough Time Moms. This post reflects my views and opinions and was not reviewed or edited by a third party. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Image credit: Idea go/FreeDigitalPhotos.net