16 ways to make the next 362 days count

Day 3 of 2013- I’ve finally come up with some resolutions.  But they’re not for me, they’re for you!

Normally, I don’t bother with resolutions because I often forget them or cast them aside before the first month is finished.  But if I write them down here, then it creates more accountability for myself and hopefully I’ll inspire you as well.  The idea of making resolutions for someone else came this weekend when a friend told us on our new year’s trip about a family that will come up with resolutions for each other on new year’s eve.  When the clock strikes midnight and they are done exchanging hugs and greetings, they all sit down and tell each other (in a loving way) what they think that others could each improve on in the next year.  For example, I think that you could all give more comments below 😉  The resolutions are meant to not come off critical or judgmental… that’s the key.

So here are some resolutions/intentions/ideas for my readers… and, of course, I’ll aim to follow them as well:

  1. Learn a new skill.

    Anything big or small.  I may try to learn Spanish… a skill that will help me speak to millions of people that I couldn’t communicate with before.

  2. appleCreate something.  

    I read an article recently that stated “what you are on the inside only matters because of what it makes you do”.  The author uses an apple tree example, comparing our souls to the dirt where the roots of ideas are planted but what we contribute to the world is the fruit.  If you walk around on this earth thinking that you are a wonderful person because you have good thoughts, ideas and intentions but never ACT on them, what did it do for the people around you?  Do something to inspire… make a photobook for a close friend, bake cookies for your co-workers, build something outside in the summer.  Whatever will get you busy and contribute to the world.

                 Spend less time being entertained by the creations of others and more time creating 

    So many of us spend a lot of our spare time watching TV, movies, clicking around on facebook, watching youtube videos, etc.  Why not contribute to the creations in the world instead of letting other people think for you?  Start small… you’ll surprise yourself.

  3. Spend more time with the people you love.

    Most people when asked- “what would you do with your time if you found out that you’ll die in a week”, respond they would travel or spend time with those they love.  Live every day like it could be your last.  Instead of rushing around all the time, slow down and spend time with your family.  People never regret that they didn’t work enough hours or get enough errands done, the biggest regret that you hear is “I didn’t get to spend enough time with them”.  Even a phone call to a relative that you haven’t talked to in a while will inevitably make you feel good.  This ties in with the next one…

  4. Be a little LESS productive.  

    Most of the people that I know are very productive and that’s a good thing.  But I’ve realized that I’m more productive in the mornings but at night, I slow down and do all my errands at half-speed.  So I’ll force myself to do one or two things on my list in the evening on my way home but then I might visit family or meet with a friend instead of going home and feeling guilty that I’m not doing more of the productive things on my to-do list.  Why constantly feel bad?  It’s ok to stop and smell the roses more often- we all need balance.

  5. Exercise.  

    Not to bulk up or impress anyone else.  Not just to lose weight or because you feel guilty when you don’t.  Do it so that you have more energy, release those natural endorphins, work the joints, sweat out toxins, and challenge yourself a little more each time.  If you hate the gym, do anything that raises your heart rate- walk the dog briskly, play an intense Wii or Xbox Kinect game, ride your bike, do your chores at a faster speed…. just get your body moving around.

  6. Eat less wheat.  

    I’m going to post another blog about this later.  In the meantime, trust me… you’ll feel less bloated and tired if you slowly start cutting down on the wheat products in your diet.  Replace them with veggies, fruits, proteins, and other healthier grains such as quinoa or chick peas.  Especially at night, try to cut down on the carbs.  And as a bonus, you’ll likely see your abdominal fat melt away over time.  Try it!

  7. Keep a journal.  

    I know that writing down your thoughts is not for everyone.  But it doesn’t have to be emotional or very personal at all.  Some ideas:

    – Write down your goals (putting the intentions on paper make them more palpable and likely to happen).

    – Write down what is stressing you out so that it’s out of your head and you can sleep more soundly.

    – Write down any creative ideas you may have because chances are you’ll forget them.  Try even writing down your shopping list for the people in your life so that you can have ideas collected over the year when the next birthday or Christmas rolls around and you’re pulling out your hair trying to think of what the heck they said they want.  I have a terrible memory…. this is something I should do!

    – Keep a food journal if you’re trying to improve your diet.

    – Write this list down with your intentions beside each point- who will you compliment, how often will you do cardio, what skill will you learn, etc.

  8. Pay someone a genuine compliment.

    To someone that you don’t know and you have nothing to gain from them.  As soon as you think it, why not say it out loud?  You could make their day.  But don’t get yourself into trouble- if you get a punch in the face for an inappropriate compliment, I won’t be held responsible!

  9. Pay it forward.

    I love this concept.  For example, when someone in the lineup at Tim’s pays for your order, doesn’t that feel amazing?  It costs so little to spread positivity in the world.  And if you’re thinking “what’s in it for me?”- well, the more that we pay it forward, the more it will come back around.  Isn’t it obvious?  Did I really have to explain that to you?  I’m teasing.  But if you pay attention to people around you and their needs, occasionally you’ll have the opportunity to help someone out and make their life a little easier.

  10. Give a friend a free pass.

    Did a close friend have a jerk moment and you’re positive that you’re right in the situation?  I often think that I’m right in major conflicts!  Don’t we all feel this way?  Then who “wins”?  Well if you still think that you’re right, then give them a free pass.  Take a few days off to get over it and then forgive them one time just because we’re all human and we all make mistakes, including you (and rarely, me).

  11. Slow down.

    I know, I’m being repetitive.  But seriously- what’s the rush?  In today’s society we are all rewarded for being on-the-ball, multi-tasking, super productive little machines.  It’s important to get things done but don’t stay on overdrive for too long.  EVERYone needs a break, or it will come at the cost of your most priceless asset, your health.  So take the stairs even if it will put you a few minutes behind schedule… ride your bike even if you won’t be able to carry as many groceries home… finish listening to that song on the radio before you leave your car… in the end, it won’t make much difference except to help you relax.

  12. Overcome a fear.

    My old Lululemon bag is full of wise little quotes and ideas.  One of them that always pops back into my head is-

                                     Do a thing a day that scares you.

    If you find yourself backing down because you have an irrational fear of something, why not jump in?  Well, you won’t see me bungee jumping or sky diving anytime soon.  But small fears are overcome everyday when that little voice in my head reminds me of what the giant corporation told me to do.  They make great pants- they must be wise!

    IMG_1736In all honesty, I was at one time deathly afraid of public speaking.  For years, I forced myself to do talks whenever the opportunity came about and now I’ve almost overcome that fear.  Well, maybe not but it’s a work in constant progress and I’ve come a long way.  MC’ing my brother’s wedding reception this summer was one of the most fun experiences of his wedding events, once I overcame the initial nervousness.  You’ll hate me for this advice when you’re walking into the situation that scares you… but you’ll thank me in the end when you’re walking away a little taller.

  13. Go somewhere new… anywhere.

     I love to travel.  Most people know this about me.  But even if you aren’t a big traveler, it is always important to “get away” and change your scenery for a while.  A change of scenery can lead to a change of perspective and we all need this sometimes.  It can be as simple as a one day road trip or as big as an international journey.  My goal is to visit a new continent this year but some years, I’ve only been able to get as far as southern Alberta and that’s fine too.  Or if you can’t physically go somewhere new, then read a book that will take you there.  I highly recommended Shantaram (a true story!) for a gritty, down-to-earth visit to India.  You’ll literally feel like you’re there.

  14. Read… anything.

     Newspaper, magazine, novel- whatever floats your boat.  No, a long text message doesn’t count.

  15. Gossip less.  

    I don’t remember where it came from, but I have this great quote on my laptop:  “Small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events, great minds discuss ideas.”

  16. Be grateful.

      We all tend to think of what we’d like to have or what is missing in our lives.  Look around more often and think about how much you have of the things that are important- you’ll be surprised how long the list is.


6 thoughts on “16 ways to make the next 362 days count

  1. 17. Give credit where credit is due. Whether you call it plagiarism or not, take the time and kindness to admit what inspires you. So rarely in our modern world is there truly a novel thought or piece of work. When one comes along, it is magical. However, not everything has to be the first of its kind. Allowing yourself to relate to your references connects everyone and makes for a collaborative effort. How collectivist!

    18. Focus on the details. Aim small. Trying to bite off more than one can chew can often lead to languid, or even apathetic, endeavors. Instead be creative, be productive or just “be” from the ground up. Something as simple as including the proper punctuation in your daily text messages can cause you to take more pride in your communication. Once you have developed that base, expansion of vernacular can be the next building block. It all starts small, but it often leads to big gains.

    19. Don’t hold grudges. Forgiveness is regard without ill-will despite an offense. Harboring negative associations against someone or something based on an event that happened six years ago (for example) is unhealthy for everyone. It’s unhealthy for you, as it keeps you back from viewing growth, or new reality, with fresh eyes. It can even prevent growth within yourself. It’s unhealthy for the subject of your grudge, as they feel they are either eternally branded as the villain, or in a constant state of personal debt. Plus, chances are your grudge is simply based off some kind of misunderstanding or poor recollection.

    20. Visit Calgary more often. It’s better than Edmonton, so why not?


    • You are a sarcastic but witty character, Beau!
      Your “resolutions” have been duly noted. In response to #17, your travel blog HAS been very inspiring. Specifically with my recent blog post about spending more on experiences instead of material things. Thanks for the inspiration, Beau! Your travel blog was a pleasure to read. Glad you’re ok with me linking it here: http://www.beauandmirey.ca. For those who want to feel like they are joining Beau and Mirey on their African adventure, start here.

  2. Pingback: The monkey dancing in your head « dr mariam ashraf

  3. Oops, I posted a looooonng reply to this earlier that disappeared when I clicked “submit” and have been meaning to post again but forgot 🙂

    Anyways, reading this made me feel pretty good because I realized that I already do a lot of these things! It’s so easy to believe that you are not doing anything to better yourself until someone makes a list of all the different ways you can improve yourself and you can see that you’re already on the way :). I especially agree with #4. It seems like we all feel that we HAVE to be productive, every second of the day, or we feel guilty for wasting valuable time. I’ve spent the last few months trying to be less productive and just enjoy each day for what it is, and it’s made such a difference to my sanity, health and just general outlook on life. We should all try to be a little less productive!

    I think this year, I will focus on #2, 3 and 5.

    As for #8… I will pay a compliment to the person who commented before me. I dont know who you are, but #20 makes me think you are just brilliant 😉

  4. Pingback: Sundays in Deadmonton « dr mariam ashraf

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