We’re almost a full month into 2014 and, so far, it hasn’t been a great year. I don’t know about you, but I certainly haven’t followed my New Years Resolution(s). Adjusting to a new job and a new semester – my last semester as an undergrad – has allowed me to form the perfect excuses as to why I’m not putting my life back together after the mess that was 2013. But it’s time to kick myself back into gear, so I’m going to try and set out a few guidelines to help myself be the person I want to be this year and possibly help one or two of you in the process.
Stop considering everyone else when you make decisions
I’m definitely guilty of this. When making big decisions, it’s hard not to consider your best friend’s opinion or your mom’s opinion or the opinions of any of the other people closest to you. Especially if you’re in a relationship. It was only after my last long-term relationship ended that I realized that I had been basing a lot of my life decisions on him. I’m not saying that you should all break up with your significant others or stop making any decisions together. Not at all. In fact, I think that you should be making big decisions together. But make sure that you are doing it together. In short, if there’s a decision that would make you happy, fight for it.
Be realistic about your goals
I can confidently say that I’m not alone in wanting immediate results. For example, this year I adopted the stereotypical New Years Res of weight loss/increased fitness. Now, you should know that I’m really dreadful at goal-setting in regards to fitness. I’m the type of person that eats a salad for lunch one day and gets mad when my stomach still looks bloated at the end of the evening. I’m also the type of person that works out for a week straight and wants to give up because I still can’t fit into my old jeans. Yeah. Being realistic about setting goals – whether it’s in regards to fitness or your job or the amount of time you spend on Pinterest – is going to make the task(s) at hand less intimidating. Maybe I’ll eat a salad for lunch three days in a row.
Ask for help if you need it
This is something that has been preached at us since before I can remember. Middle school health class teachers and guidance counselors alike drilled it into our heads. And yet, when we’re in trouble, how many of us actually ask for or actively seek help? I know I don’t. And I know that, sometimes, I even have to beg my best friend to tell me what’s on her mind. For whatever reason, we’re absolutely terrified of admitting that we need something – even if it’s just someone to vent to or a place to crash for the night. So, this year, I’m determined to reach out and lean on the people in my life. Because honestly, the odds that something worse will happen by leaning on someone versus not leaning on someone is slim to none.
Stop being so afraid of everything
One of the 2013 trends was the creation of college “crushes” pages. I don’t know how else to word that and, yes, it is as ridiculous as it sounds. Undergrads were posting on FB groups about how much they liked so-and-so but were too afraid to approach them. These are people that are supposed to be going out into the world in the next few years and taking over the economy and all that jazz. And a surprising number of them can’t even start a conversation with another human being. It was a really painful trend that I’m hoping dies out this year, but that isn’t the point. Whether it’s conversing with your peers or going after your dream job or following your dreams or whatever else you may be doing, stop being so afraid of it. The worst thing that can happen is that you won’t get the date or the job. And guess what? There are other dates and other jobs out there. We just need to stop being afraid of living our lives.
Go on adventures
I love adventures. Meeting new people, seeing new places, experiencing new things. Money is limiting, but there are so many things to do on limited funds. Of course, there are a million things that I want to do that require a lot more money than I have (think backpacking Europe and skydiving). But this year, I’m going to try to go on one big adventure and I’m going to challenge you to do the same. It doesn’t have to be something extravagant or time consuming. If you’ve always wanted to see the grand canyon, take a road trip. If you’ve never been skiing, spend a weekend taking lessons. Just do something.
Fall in love
Not necessarily with another human being, don’t worry. Fall in love with a new place (maybe somewhere you went on your adventure?) or a hobby or the way something makes you feel. Fall in love with life. It pains me to write something so cliché, but I can’t help it. I mean, you certainly could fall in love with a person if you get lucky enough. Let yourself feel the world around you and just go with it.
Keep your mind open
If you know me, you know that I don’t talk politics or economy or, usually, even religion. I don’t talk about how I voted in the last election or what I think about policies X, Y and Z. I know that I should, both as a journalist and as an informed citizen of the world, but I don’t see the point in arguing over things like that. Having a conversation, on the other hand? Absolutely, I’m in. So whether it’s hot-button topics like abortion or politics or whether it’s less controversial ideas, just keep your mind open. This might come as a shocker, but you can be firm in your beliefs and still be able to have a decently enlightening conversation with someone who is also firm – and opposite – in their beliefs.
Remember the motto of 13-year-old girls everywhere: YOLO
Yeah, you know it.