The Top New Year Resolutions : Things I've Noticed

It's that time of year once again... time for all those thoughts and daydreaming about how you're going to revamp your life to become reality! The somewhat surprising thing is 2009, with all its shocking twists and turns (thanks to 2008), might just be the best help you need to succeed this time around. Here are a few things that dawned on me during the first few days of the new year.

Slightly New Resolutions...
Over the past few years I've seen a few new resolutions that seem to be on peoples mind but are not reflected on the grand US lists as of yet...

* Find a new or extra job
The New York Post had one of the best (and most eyeopening) articles on the subject of social media and job searching. The only thing was it's unexpected slant... can social networking actually be ruining peoples chances at that new job? Mandy Stantmiller's Needed: A Clue is a must read especially for new grads. The books mentioned in the piece are perfect for gifts as well.

Even if you're not looking for a job the insight is right on the mark for all social life skills and interactions in general. As Stadtmiller points out repeatedly, we all could use a dose of deferential thinking when it comes to relationships and Laura Gilbert adds the astute observation, "...friendliness isn't the same as being friends". Networking and relationships take time to vet, develop, and mature--or as Paula Froelich writes in her book It!, "... success requires that a certain process occur, which gives you the chance to develop perspective. Nothing good happens right away."

* Become a more positive person (which has somewhat taken over the previous reduce stress)
Along with becoming a more positive person, which shows real grit in adverse times (it sure is easy to be positive when things are going just dandy!), many people are starting to look at the relationships they have going on around them. Tim Ferriss mentioned something very interesting at his yearly round up, "you're the average of your 5 good friends", or you're going to end up taking on the traits of the people you spend the most time with. If your goal is to live a more positive, grateful and peaceful lifestyle your friends are going to have to be on the same page. Sadly, during the New Year many relationships come to an abrupt end precisely for this reason... be sure to read Sarah Elise Stauffer's article, Detoxifying Toxic Friendships over at Divine Caroline, for the warning signs of toxic relationships and how to move on.

Of course many of us have some really amazing friends and would love to find even more, for this read Martha Beck's The Friendship Test over at O Magazine. It's one of my favorites on maintaining solid friendships and what to look for in blossoming ones.

* Meet someone special, start a new relationship, romance, you get the idea!
The slightly ironic thing is if you accomplish the first two resolutions above you'll probably have an easier time with this one! For more help read our guide, How Not To Spend The Holidays Alone (Valentines day is right around the corner and provides the perfect cover for doing something unexpectedly sweet or daring! Use it well!) and our book review, Help The Unlucky In Love. One question coming into most often is what sort of gifts are good for fledgling relationships? Our etiquette guides can be of great help.
Unintentional 2009 Helper: With the switch to digital TV this February in the US (read our past article, Why A Converter Box Might Not Save You), many, despite having converter boxes and newer TVs, will find themselves cut off. Yet another excuse to rediscover the joys of human companionship and what it means to have a really good laugh.

The Old Standards

From the website some of the most popular US resolutions include...

* Lose Weight
Unintentional 2009 Helper: thanks to continued issues with gas in the US more and more people are forgoing the cab and hoofing it... or commuting on their bike! Not to mention butter laden restaurant meals having to be axed in favor of home cooking and brown bagging it. This resolution seems to come to fruition better when it's something you do not have to think about.

* Manage Debt
Unintentional 2009 Helper: With the stock market the way it is, it's rather plain to see paying off debt will garner the best returns!

* Save Money
Unintentional 2009 Helper: Ditto to above. Many US citizens have a recreational lifestyle that is heavily entrenched in consumerism. People, despite having no cash to shop, are still using their free time to wander stores and browse hoping friends will stop them from using their credit cards. Or having long, draw our arguments with significant others on how they need to put that back or down. 2009 can be the year everyone starts to discover how delicious the outdoors are, sitting and listening to free live music concerts (or a street performer in the park), having parties at home, picnics, boating, a cracking fire... there are so many things waiting to be discovered and many cost next to nothing!

* Get Fit
Ditto to above.

* Eat Right
Ditto to above.

* Get a Better Education
For more on this read, US News' Use The Internet To Advance Your Career.

* Drink Less Alcohol
Unintentional 2009 Helper: Bottle service to get into clubs and high mixed drink prices are starting to look ever more lame.

* Quit Smoking Now
Unintentional 2009 Helper: At $50.00 and more a week for ones habit... that's a new pair of shoes, "or a tricked out name plate!".

* Take a Trip
Unintentional 2009 Helper: There are some major deals out there now. Just remember that in most cases you need that passport, even to O-Canada and to look at non-traditional ways of going on that trip (church groups, groups put together by radio stations and groups such as garden clubs, etc.), it's not how but where.

* Volunteer to Help Others

Always remember the others include those who are right around you... the same people who may not give the most fanfare but need you the most. Help right in your own backyard to strengthen community. Every little bit counts. Self magazine had a fantastic article in it's December 2008 issues by Marjorie Ingall, What Goes Around Comes Around.


- Writing down your resolutions and goals has been shown to help make them a reality. Keep a small diary and jot down what strides you've made or recount what you're thankful for. At the end of the year you're more likely to be amazed at all your have accomplished. To do it online join which is free.

- Read US News & World Reports, 50 Ways To Improve Your Life In 2009. I always enjoy the suggestions they put together and this years edition is a real good one. Top picks include using Twitter to micro-blog and to read more Poe.

- Keep a wish board. Use words, pictures, anything to help keep track of everything you hope to achieve and experience in 2009. You just might be surprised at the results... artists and designers have been doing this for eons, join the club!

- Be sure to read Martha Beck's, Beating the Rat Race over at O Magazine online. One of her best articles yet it looks at how our own intuition can lead to a more stress free, peaceful life.

Wishing everyone the best possible Near Year!


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