Each new year seems to start the same way — full of starry-eyed intentions, big dreams, goals and hopes for the future. Sometimes, however, we set unrealistic expectations for ourselves which ultimately lead to disappointment. It doesn’t have to be this way! If we make small, practical goals that align with our busy schedules, the possibility of being let down is far less likely.
These five simple changes can help you grab hold of life’s reins, prioritize what really matters and increase your overall quality of life.
1. Take the initiative to plan outings with the people who make you feel most alive. In the age of smart phones and social media, our lives rarely feel disconnected. Although it may seem that Facebook has you up to speed on the lives of your friends and loved ones, perception and reality are often at odds. Send an old friend a message to make plans for coffee or dinner or, better yet, call. As we grow older, spare time becomes increasingly scarce and so do good friends. Nurture the good relationships that you have and put in effort where it’s needed. Good friends are worth their weight in gold.
2. Purchase healthy meal ingredients and cook at home. After a long day at the office, preparing a healthy meal can seem like a chore and a half. If you’re a city dweller like me, the temptation to hit up one of the many restaurants, just steps from your front door, can be overwhelming. Believe it or not, there are lots of easy, healthy and delicious recipes that will leave your tummy, bank account and conscience feeling satisfied. Knowing exactly what is going into your food can help you make healthier choices and reach your goals more easily, so skip the fast food line and opt for a homemade meal. I just love these guilt-free Collard Green Wraps with Roasted Yam and Chipotle Black Beans from plant-inspired recipe site Feasting at Home.
3. Get organized and start purging. If you love to shop, you probably have items sitting in your closet that are collecting dust. Maybe you even have a sweater or two that are still sporting the original tags. We’re all guilty of impulse shopping from time to time, but those unused purchases are taking up valuable real estate in your otherwise trendy wardrobe. If you’re having trouble deciding which pieces to part with, try hanging your clothes with the hanger hooks facing forward. At the end of a three-month period, the clothes remaining on forward-facing hooks have gone unworn. Ask yourself if that’s for seasonal reasons or simply because you’re just not that attached. Host a clothing swap with friends or donate to a local shelter. You’ll be surprised how good it feels to let go.
4. Do a kitchen cleanse. You can’t eat it if it’s not there, so start the New Year off right by emptying your cupboards of junk. It’s a misconception that eating healthy has to be inconvenient. Restock your cupboards with healthy snacks like dates, air-popped popcorn, roasted pumpkin seeds and banana chips. These options are delicious and convenient and won’t leave you begging yourself for forgiveness. If you need some guidance as to what to cut and what to keep, check out from WebMD.
5. Repurpose your Bijou candle bases as containers for household items like jewelry, bobby pins, subway change, and rubber bands. By organizing your trinkets and knick knacks into categories, you’ll save yourself the time and energy needed to search through cluttered and disorganized drawers and cupboards. Make your daily household activities even more effortless by color coordinating your Bijou base with its contents (if possible). Unlike Tupperware, a repurposed Bijou base adds to your home’s décor and doesn’t need to be hidden away when hosting guests.
These small, but deliberate lifestyle changes can reap big rewards. Take things day-by-day and remember to be kind to yourself. After all, as the expression goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
About the writer:
Always a dreamer, Jill Bentham is a passionate writer and photographer based in Toronto.