I must start off by saying, don't overcommit yourself in 2014. Overcommitment ends in stress, disappointment, and usually a headache. These next 20 things are meant for inspiration and motivation to kick off your new year (not to trigger an anxiety attack). Take them in slowly and lightly. I repeat, take them in slowly, breathe, and realize that Rome wasn't built in a day. Most people can't make a 180 degree change to their lifestyle overnight, so don't. Pick one or two and breathe.
1. Start your day with a great breakfast. Ideally, all meals should be well rounded but this is not realistic. We know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so use real butter, large eggs, fresh mushrooms, cheese, and whatever else you have in your fridge to throw into an omelet. You'll thank me when you aren't starving at 9:00 am.
2. Ask yourself. Before you update your status, Tweet, Tumble or Instagram, pause and ask yourself, “Is it necessary that I share this bit of thought with my entire social network?” If the answer is no, then step away from the Internet. If the answer is yes, ask yourself again.
3. Stop the juicing. These 7-day juice cleanses sound pretty, but they just spiral into an 8th, 9th, and 10th day all-you-can-eat pizza binge. If you want to lose a little weight quickly, eat less and exercise like crazy. Juice is great, but it's also a ton of sugar and our waistlines hate that.
4. Learn to hold a conversation. Whether the person you’re talking to is eight or 80, you should be able to hold a meaningful, intentional conversation with them. If you don't have much to say, ask them a question about themselves. People love talking about themselves. Don't you?
5. Learn to parallel park. For goodness sake, it's time to face the music and take control of your shortcoming. Stop driving around the block in search of an easier spot. Take a friend, practice when you can, become an expert, and dazzle your friends with your impressive parking skills.
6. Save up. Find a way to save around 300 dollars for a flight to see a friend or family member. It may sound like a lot right now, but if you put $20 in a jar every week starting now, you could be enjoying some new scenery and unfamiliar faces by April.
7. Dial. See how I didn't say Text? Give your thumbs a break and call someone on the phone at least once a week. Nice, old fashioned conversation is good for the soul and the souls of others.
8. Brace yourself. Start mentally preparing yourself to get over the fact that Facebook is probably going to change again in six months. You’re going to think about it, but you're not going to deactivate your account. You're going to think about it, but you're not going to write a vicious email to Mark Zuckerberg proclaiming your disgust with the new layout. Just relax and tell yourself that change is good.
9. Be alone. Alone time does not have to be synonymous with loneliness. Be able to sit quietly—reading, writing, pondering or just listening to the silence—and use that time to just breathe. Do it regularly, but avoid doing it too much. Balance the alone time with social time; balance is key.
10. Don’t buy what you can’t afford. Repeat after me: If I must charge it, I can’t afford it. If I must charge it, I can’t afford it. If I must charge it, I can't afford it. This is the number one rule for combating debt. It’s definitely easier said than done, but one way to break the habit of unnecessary spending is to delay the purchase. Set the item down, take a walk (heck, take a nap first), and then come back to the item. Give yourself a chance to make sense of it all, instead of giving in to impulse. You'll thank me later.
11. Hold on to a good friend. This time in our lives, as twenty-somethings, is full of transition. Job to job and location to location. Saying goodbye is inevitable, but holding onto good friendships is what will make those goodbyes not so bad. Stay in touch through your choice of social media outlet.
12. Wait 30 seconds. Before consulting your phone on every occasion, try using your brain first. It may sound shocking, but give yourself a chance to draw on the information you already know. Sure, Google does know nearly everything, but if you never give yourself a chance, you'll slowly become dangerously reliant.
13. Try new food. Brussels sprouts really aren't that bad. If you don't believe me, that's okay, I'm lying. At least take your vitamins. To learn more about the vitamins important to your health, click here.
14. Try yoga. You don't have to be a pretzel to be a yogi. It's simple: If you like feeling good, you should try yoga. It will improve your flexibility, relieve stress, and may alleviate chronic conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
15. Stop smoking. You've tried several times, but how about on January 1, 2014? And by January 31st, be able to say, "For the whole month of January, I didn't give in." Your lungs will breathe easier, your teeth will be whiter, your breath will be sweeter, and your loved ones will be proud of you. Everyone wins!
16. Wave to other drivers. This is not creepy, it is friendly. The fact that, "Oh, that might be kind of creepy" crossed my mind is very sad. Spread some love, even if it's simply from behind your steering wheel.
17. Tip generously. Coming from a server myself, I would personally appreciate you doing this. An extra few bucks can make a server’s day. Tipping generously encourages servers to continue giving great service. When a server gives great service, they deserve a great tip. It's a cycle that has the potential to work wonderfully if we all tap into our generosity banks (literally).
18. Volunteer. Take a vow to volunteer some of your time. It could be once a month, once every 3 months, or once a week this summer. You’ll feel really good about it, and probably end up volunteering over and over. Although the benefits may not be financial, you may gain a connection with your community, learn a new skill, make new friends, and boost your social skills.
19. Back yourself up. Back up your entire online life onto an external hard drive, especially your photos. Computers have bad days (just like us) and crash. They just do. Sometimes we don't know why and this is enough reason to just do it. You will thank yourself later.