2017 Newsolutions: What They Are and Why You Need Them

A New Year’s resolution is a tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement or something slightly nice, such as opening doors for people beginning from New Year’s Day.
— Wikipedia

It's almost that time. The time for us to decide on what our 2017 New Year Resolutions are going to be. Maybe you don't make resolutions, or maybe you're like the majority of us who make them, and then don't end of following through with them anyway. I challenge you to take a different approach this year.

What if instead of adding more things you are going to DO this year, you take things off of your list? Wouldn't that make your life a bit easier? Simpler? Less stressful? 

I'd like to refer to these as 'newsolutions'. Instead of adding more to our plate, we eliminate the things that don't make us happier or more financially free, or give us a greater sense of self or peace of mind. 

What do newsolutions look like? Below I'll share a few examples that I am going to use in 2017: 

1) No more coloring my hair. I made it through 2016 without this, and have decided I can continue on this trend. Not only is it a) healthier for my hair, it also b) saves me money. Not to mention, someone created hair color as a BUSINESS to make us feel inadequate with our own natural hair color, which is just a bit ridiculous (along with the rest of the beauty industry that we buy into!). 

2) No more manicures. Again, I didn't get a lot of these in 2016 (if any!), but manicures are another thing that are a) not natural b) make my fingernails look like crap after it's worn off (shellac I'm talking to you!) and c) another drain of money. I will still be keeping my roughly once annual pedicure, as I do like to splurge and have my feet nice and soft before going somewhere warm!

3) No more involving myself in more than one activity at a time. If I'm coaching soccer, no teaching yoga or being on the bowling league (pretty much impossible to do anything else anyway!). If I'm on the bowling league, no joining any other organizations or teaching yoga (or they at least can't both happen every week!). Between work, my friends, my husband, our dog, and just life, over-commitment and over-scheduling is a real issue for me, and something I'd like to work on in 2017. 

4) No more scheduling an event on both Friday and Saturday night. You know that feeling when you don't have a lot planned for the weekend? It's marvelous, isn't it? By not completely scheduling our weekend up in advance, my husband and I are able to have spur-of-the-moment adventures, either the two of us or with friends/family. Being able to do whatever we want (even if it is just to stay in, order Chinese food and watch a movie!) creates less stress and anxiety on the very few days we get off together. This is going to prove to be challenging at times, but I'm going to try and stick to it as much as possible! 

5) No more gyms. Again, I pretty much gave this up in 2016, but the urge to join has came up now and again and I need to make it a 2017 'newsolution' as well. Instead of going to the gym, I use the Skimble Workout Trainer app, and love it. I can do short workouts at home every morning, schedule my trainings ahead of time, and even buy a specific program if I'm lacking motivation (for A LOT less than a gym costs!). The time it takes to go to the gym, workout, shower, etc., is too much for me. I weigh about the same as I did when I stopped going to the gym, and am in roughly the same physical shape (despite the pregnancy that is!). And for my yoga fix, I have the Yogamazing app, and Chad the instructor is great. He makes short 10-30 minute episodes based off certain topics (yoga for anxiety? check. yoga for weightloss? check. yoga for back pain? check. you get the picture!). Between these two apps and walking the dog, I get a good amount of exercise. If you love going to the gym or won't exercise without it, then by all means this should not be a newsolution for you. However, I challenge you to find more ways to fit physical activity into your everyday life. If you're ready to give up that membership, check out my article on how to do so: http://www.simplesliceoflife.com/blog/2016/6/23/how-to-give-up-your-gym-membership-7-easy-steps

6) No more NOT having a game plan. I just recently finished the book 'How to Train Your Brain for Success' by Roger Seip. It was a game changer for me. I loved the part about why you should never go into a week (or even a day!) without a plan, and Roger's strategies have helped save me countless of wasted hours throughout a week. It's definitely worth checking out if you're looking for a way to be more efficient with your time. 

7) No more trying to accomplish more than 6 major things a day. This is from Roger's book, and I feel it's worth a mention. Roger states that you should never have more than 6 main objectives in a day that you want to accomplish. This keeps your mind focused, and prevents you from losing motivation by taking on too much. I've tried it for a few days now and love how it keeps me centered and energized, and not overwhelmed by the amount of tasks I feel I need to finish. 

That's it! Well, at least for now. ;) The great thing about Newsolutions is you can set them, evaluate to see if they're working or not, and tweak as needed. What Newsolutions are you going to create this year?



Wabi-sabi: 6 tips to embracing imperfection

Wabi-sabi represents Japanese aesthetics and a Japanese world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”
— Wikipedia

It's Sunday night, which means my mind is a mix of reflection + the did-I-get-enough-done guilt. As we are all fully aware, weekends often go by faster than we would like them too (even for someone like me who enjoys going to work Monday morning!). There's usually one more thing to get done before we turn in for the night, and start the week again.

If you're like me, you've got a mental list that keeps your life organized. Unfortunately, sometimes we give these lists more importance than they deserve. 

The Japanese have a lovely concept ('wabi-sabi') that reflects the beauty of imperfection. And let's be honest, even when it's perfect, it can still feel imperfect (am I not right?!). Read on for my 6 tips for embracing imperfection:



1) Let it go.

Pretty easy right? Wrong. Being in the present moment is quite possibly the hardest and most important lesson that us humans will ever face. Every moment is a new chance to be pulled into the past or the future. As I told my husband the other night, "be here now, it's the only place that actually exists." I've found that a trigger word or phrase helps when I'm thinking about what I could have done differently/better/more, etc. My saying is "stop, let it go". Repeat as much as needed. Soon enough, it will become second nature.

2) Focus on the good.

Had a goal to clean the house? Only got the dishwasher unloaded/loaded? Guess what? You cleaned (part of) the house. That's accomplishment. So what you didn't get it all done. You got something done. And that something deserves to be recognized. 

3) Prioritize.

"What in 5 years is going to matter?" That one question alone will change the way you look at your day. Yesterday when I could have been cleaning/cooking/getting stuff done, I volunteered to take my niece and nephew for a few hours. We played shopping (a piece of my husband's middle school artwork sold for a whopping $1 million), packed a picnic, and played at the park/beach. I will never remember how much I did/didn't get done that day, but I will remember the first time I used our picnic basket, and the memories that surround it.

4) Look at your life from an outside perspective.

Sometimes when I'm feeling like a failure at life I pretend I'm looking down on my life from above. Here's what I see: a badass girl who overcame an eating disorder, quit the job she hated, went to grad school, bought a house, married her best friend, found a career she enjoys, and is in charge of an entire high school soccer program. Even if all of those areas don't look perfect at any given time, when you take a step back, those are pretty neat accomplishments. 

5) Practice gratitude. 

We've all heard this one before, but it really is key. Every night before my husband and I fall asleep, we try to tell each other 3 things we are grateful for in that moment of time. Even when we've had a crappy day and can hardly think of anything, it forces us to come up with something, anything (wine and dark chocolate definitely count). And most importantly, it reminds us of how dang lucky we really are. 

6) Be kind to yourself.

Everyone is doing the best they can with what they know at the time, including yourself. You have to forgive yourself over and over and over again (I've heard that's the secret to a lasting marriage too!). Just last week I overate frozen pizza right before bedtime, didn't workout the morning I had planned on, and made one of my players feel bad accidentally. Instead of beating myself up about those three things, I tried remembering that I was doing my best based on the circumstances (i.e. rough night at soccer, sleepy from a rough night of soccer, and the inability to keep my mouth shut sometimes). And then, see #1. 

Those are my 6 tips to embracing imperfection. Got any of your own you want to share?