Approach the new year with the resolve to find the new opportunities hidden in each new day. - Michael Josephson
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So for years, I made resolutions. I would spend time writing them in nice paper and frame them to sit by my desk or where I could see them everyday. The problem was that my resolutions were very generic. It didn’t have enough substance and they always were the same every year. After reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin a year or two ago, I’ve moved on to making Personal Commandments instead. These are items that I can do everyday to make my daily life just slightly better. Over time, these have compounded as daily habits and have resulted in more meaningful changes than I anticipated. So this year, I want to share my Personal Commandments. The key to this list is that it’s personal to me. It’s what I know and want to do on a daily basis. It’s the things that bring a smile to my face.
HUG THE HUSBAND
This was something so simple, but something I didn’t do enough. Sometimes, in the rush of our busy days, we say “Hi” and “Bye” without much meaning. Someone said to me that at some point, you and your husband will become just roommates and I don’t ever want that to be the case. Next month, we will celebrate 10 years of meeting and being together. That’s a long time of knowing each other. A hug also means physical contact which studies show is better for your overall physical, emotional and physical health and doing so helps us slow down a bit.
SAY NO! WITHOUT GUILT
I was a Yes! woman for a while, but I’ve learned that I needed to set boundaries for myself. I love to solve problems and sometimes find myself bending my back to solve other people’s problems, but doing so robs people of solving their own problem so I’m this year I’ll be saying NO to things that don’t bring me joy or value and not feel one ounce of guild about it. In the end, guilt is once sided anyways and it serves no one to keep holding on to it.
ASK FOR WHAT I WANT
One thing I’ve learned is that the universe doesn’t know what you want unless you say it. So this year is all about being vocal with what I want no matter how simple it may be. This is also about expressing my needs better and being comfortable with doing so. When you set out the intention, the universe will know it’s magic. Plus, there’s no such thing as mind readers so make it easier for people to cater to your needs and wants.
WHEN IN DOUBT, DRINK WATER
This is just about eliminating a decision for me more than hydration. I always carry my water bottle everywhere so it’s become a default thing to do. Drinking water also means less calories, saved money and in some cases a solution to being bored hungry (feeling hungry because there’s nothing else to do.)
NO CELL PHONE IN THE BEDROOM
I started this action item when we moved into our condo a few months ago and loved the way it has turned out so I am recommitting to it for 2019. It’s been nice to not have to turn to my phone first thing in the morning. I also reduce my exposure to the phone which I think is great in the long-run.
FIND THE SUNLIGHT AND BASK IN IT
For years, I would get my blood work done during the winter as part of my yearly check-up and it always resulted in low Vitamin D. I’m committing to also put my face out into the sun. Whether it’s for 15 minutes or so, I’ll be looking for wherever the sun shines and feeling it’s warmth and light even if it’s just through a window. There’s also an underlying metaphor about always looking on the bright side for this.
READ A BOOK FOR 15 MINUTES A DAY
I successfully accomplished my goal of reading 52 books last year, but it became a bit of a blur so this year I’m committing to slow down and do 15 minutes of slow reading. I specifically mention books in this case because it’s easy to read articles forever on the internet, but with a book, it requires sitting down without tech in hand.
SAY “THANK YOU” INSTEAD OF “I’M SORRY”
I feel like I’m sorry has lost it’s value sometimes so I am committing to say “Thank You” instead for people who commit their time to wait for me, for providing constructive criticism of my mistakes and for appreciating the positive instead of the negative.
STRETCH AND DO A SQUAT UPON WAKING UP
Every year, I made a resolution to exercise more and again it was so generic and became a chore in my mind so this year it’s all about being simple. I’m also using the concept of “habit stacking” to stack these small habits together. Without a cell phone to turn to each morning, I’ll be more apt to do this stretch and squat before I get out of the bedroom. Plus squatting is a great way to exercise those leg muscles.
RE-THINK ALL PURCHASES IN TERMS OF SPACE, TIME & MONEY
In other years, this was Spend Less, but this year it’s all about being mindful of what I buy and what it costs me in terms of money, space and time. Whether we realize it or not, every object is a trade-off and knowing this means re-thinking all purchases. It’s easy to buy things, but it’s hard to justify all purchases.
Writing It On Paper
I continue to write my commandments in my Guided journal so that I can refer to it almost on a daily basis. These Guided notebooks have served me well for a few years now because they are light and compact to carry around.