The presents have been opened (for those who celebrated...I want to be PC here), the dinner is done and by now most of you are back home dealing with gift returns. It's the thought that counts (right?), but did any one really think you could use a chocolate fountain?! My female friends' #1 gift complaint is inappropriate underwear from their husbands/boyfriends. They would have preferred shoes of their choice. Guys pay attention: NO FEATHERED MULES!!! My male friends' #1 gift complaint was ties. Ladies, listen up: anything electronic and/or musical. iTunes was high up on the list! I myself just returned from the holidays with 14 pairs of new socks--it's actually exactly what I asked for and I appreciate that they listened.
Now instead of a bit of peace and quiet with some leftover's, we're at the mall doing returns and getting deals on sales. We are being bombarded with the most asked question of the week in-between Christmas and New Year's: What's your New Year's resolution? I mean everyone is asking each other this question, even total strangers. A friend of mine, Tracy, who does not like to chat while she is getting waxed (you know...down there) was so perturbed that the waxer kept on asking and insisting that she must have at least one New Year's resolution. She responded with a "I don't do New Year's resolutions, if I want to make a changes I can chose any time of the year and be a hell of a lot more successful." This is genius!!!
Think about it.
There is all this pressure to make these huge changes and commitments and there is a lot stacked against you: you are usually broke--sorry, financially impaired, about to be up to your eyeballs in credit card debt, have a house full of food including items that you normally would never have in your pantry. Freezing you buns off, for those of you in our northern regions. Coming off of that emotional roller coaster....dealing with in-laws, kids, step in-laws, stepkids (this "step" word should be eliminated all together), aging and ailing parents, his family, her family, your family...all of this is not a good breeding ground for successfully making really important changes.
Now mind you, there are some of you out there saying I've done it, I've been successful, I do it all and New Year's is ideal for making changes. BRAVO....good for you!!! For the rest of us, I say choose another time of the year when you are less emotionally and financially stressed to make those new changes--your success rate will be a lot higher. How about choosing a birthday, an anniversary, your favorite time of the year, your favorite number, anything that is meaningful to you and start then.
That said: here are the Top 10 New Year's Resolutions...renamed "The Top 10 When-I-Say-I-Want-To-Start-Will-Be-More-Successful Personal Resolutions." This is based on people I asked at the airport--not exactly science, but it will have to do. Feel free to add your own in comments below.
Note: they are in no particular order.
1) Quit smoking.
I tried for 23 years and many times on New Year's...it never worked. I was still hungover on the 1st and needed a coffee and cigarette to cope. I quit this past October cold turkey and have not smoked since...it was just my time.
2) Start a diet/lose weight. This was on everyone's list...men and women.
Right after the holidays this is a bad, bad idea. If you're going to try this right after the holidays, listen carefully (I'm not promoting being wasteful), throw away all the sweets and goodies in the house (or even better donate to a food bank). There is no way you can pass a kitchen full of holiday goodies without having one or two or three.....you get the picture. It's too tempting.
3) Join a gym.
How many of you have joined at the beginning of the year, paid in full, only to have never stepped foot inside? My hand is up.
4) Save money.
You just spent everything you had on the new Wii game, bills are coming and tax time is around the corner. Try to start in the spring; you may have better luck. Or do as I did join and up your 401K. I don't know how to save so I let someone else do it for me.
5) Get out of debt.
This is hard and takes some time. Plus there is just so much good stuff out there to buy and all my stuff is old (The "Must Have The New Phone" Curse). It's pretty simple: cut up all your credit cards. I had a friend do it for me a few years ago and it saved my life.
6) Find Mr./Miss Right.
I don't know what to say about this. I'm still looking.
7) Make more time for yourself.
Yes, I know. You've got three kids, two jobs, you're the senior caregiver and the bread winner, the housewife and you don't have any time as it is...what is this guy possibly thinking? Sometimes one hour a week that is yours, to do as you want can make all the difference in the world. How many hours in a week...168....just one hour for yourself and make it totally selfish, too. It's a start. Case in point: I have a friend who was going crazy with the household and the three kids. She was getting short tempered, not enjoying her kids and crying for no reason. Problem: she needed just a moment to herself to feed her soul. Her personal cup was empty. This goes for the guys, too...take a moment...one hour a week...start in March, but take that one hour to fill yourself back up.
8) Do something green/eco-friendly.
This was great: people are concerned about their environment and world. Problem is, most people feel as overwhelmed as I do.
Start small. Change the lightbulbs in your house to the new eco-friendly ones. You may not be able to go on a crusade to save the rainforests, but don't let that stop you from doing something at all. If we all did one little thing, it would add up to a very big thing. This we should start now!!!
9) Take a vacation.
Start with number #7 and work your way up.
10) Not to be so consumed with celebrities and gossip.
This one lady in the airport who was reading a celebrity magazine as her three kids pulled and tugged at her legs, said that if she could spend just half the time she spent reading, Googling, web-searching and gossiping with friends about celebrities, she would have a bit more time for herself. See all of the above. By the way, the guys were not immune to this either. I saw one guy hide his US Weekly in a Men's Health & Fitness. You don't have to give them up. I love them myself. Sometimes they are my #7. I buy them all and read them on the couch. It's my one hour.
This was surprising: "To Vote" this year did not make the Top 10. Hopefully that's because it's just a given.
Happy New Year and peace on earth to all men and women.
Always remember and never forget: It's not what you say, but how you say it.