By Ana | January 11, 2012
To be honest, I really don’t like thinking of New Year’s resolutions the last week of December and then putting them into effect the moment in strikes midnight on January 1st. No, I am much slower and more cautious than that. I need a good week or two to really decide how I want this year to be different and exactly what I am going to do about it. I’m not going to set myself up for failure, no sir.
The way I see it, if you really want a new year to be great, then you’ve got to plan. And planning just doesn’t happen very effectively when it is four days after Christmas and you’re spending your days sleeping, shopping, and eating wayyy too many of Grandma’s Christmas cookies.
So, with all that in mind, I’ve come up with some guidelines for myself for 2012. Notice that I say “guidelines” and not “resolutions”. “Resolution” sounds much too formal, too strict, and too suffocating. Resolutions are just ASKING to be broken after two weeks. “Guidelines” are much different. They aren’t forcing you to follow them. They’re saying, “We are helpful, so you may want to pay attention. If not, that’s fine, too.” They are easygoing, casual, and not overbearing. They’re much easier to stick with because you don’t HAVE to, you WANT to. They just kind of float along. And since they’re not breathing down your neck like resolutions are, you say to yourself, “Gosh darn it, I CAN do this!” Without further ado, and in no particular order, here are a couple of my guidelines:
–Drink less coffee, and more tea. Tea also has caffeine, but doesn’t stain your teeth or make you jittery like coffee does. Also, it is more relaxing, and many teas have antioxidants.
–Actually attend at least one office hour of each of my professors this quarter. Now, since I’m taking three courses, that means attending three office hours this quarter. Even if I don’t have a question. Even if it’s just to say hi. A good professor actually likes getting to know their students. And if you give your professors a chance, you’ll see that they’re pretty fascinating people. OSU has an absolutely amazing faculty. They have worked and studied in foreign countries, worked in the private and public sectors, and overall done some pretty cool stuff. Ask them about it. Learn about them, too, even if their field of study isn’t your major. You won’t be sorry.
–Get over the fact that I am not Kate Middleton. (Excuse me, the Duchess of Cambridge.)
As great as being a princess (or sister to a princess) might be, the bottom line is to love my own life.
I once stayed up until 5 am the day a 20 page final paper was due at 11 am. Needless to say, it was NOT a good day, but I survived, vowing that it would never happen again. So, if I’m really not in the mindset to do work, I’ll give myself fifteen minutes to go crazy on Pinterest or take a walk or paint my nails, then buckle down and do what I need to do. I think I’m developing an early case of senioritis, and I need to nip it in the bud.
There are also things that I did last year that I want to continue doing this year. You can’t forget the good stuff too!
–Writing letters. It is truly a lost art. I write little notes to my grandmas or friends at other schools, just to say hi. Everyone loves getting mail. And chances are good that they’ll write back!
–Taking time to be active. I started doing Insanity with some friends over Thanksgiving. They’re the toughest workouts I’ve ever done but it feels great after–you know you’ve done something good for yourself. I also got a yoga mat for Christmas, so I’m going to enjoy trying out yoga and meditation for relaxation, flexibility, toning, etc. I never thought it was for me but I’ve really enjoyed it so far. Also, even though I’ve got Insanity, I’m still going to continue heading to the gym every so often for a change of pace and to hop on a treadmill and lift weights. Muscles like variety.
–Calling my mom. Talking on the phone to at least one or two family members every week keeps you in the loop with what’s going on in their lives and feeling connected to them.
–Using gum to stay awake in class. I can’t remember where I read this, but if you’re feeling sleepy, chewing gum helps you stay alert. Peppermints also help because smelling them, for whatever reason, wakes you up as well. It’s worked for me!
–Paying in cash. Research shows that just blindly paying with your card makes you more likely to spend more–a lot more. So I started just taking out cash for when I go to dinner with friends, shopping, or whatever, and leaving my card at home. That way, you can only spend the cash you have. After a week or so, any cash I haven’t spent goes into savings.
–Smiling more and stop taking everything so seriously. Whatever it is, it is probably not the end of the world. Taking a couple minutes to breathe and put things in perspective has made me stress so much less.
Happy New Year, again–hope it is everything you’ve been hoping for!