30 by 30: No Resolutions Required
January 2nd. This is where the rubber meets the road. Resolutions are made on January 1st. They are implemented on the 2nd. On January 1st the gym is closed and the fattening, sugary food left over from the night before must be eaten before it goes bad. On the 2nd, there are no excuses.
I’m personally not big on New Year’s resolutions. Mostly because I rarely keep them but also because I think that any day is a good day to stop or start doing something that will make you a better person. I am, however, a sucker for a good checklist. And in case you haven’t noticed, so is the Internet.
My favorite lists are the ones that don’t require me to spend any money, and I’ve seen quite a few good ones floating around the Web lately, including:
23 Things Every Woman Should Stop Doing (I hear ya, numbers 2, 10, 15 and 16.)
20 Things to Let Go of Before the New Year (Number 5 hit home the most.)
20 Things You Need to Stop Doing in Your 30s (Number 8 is my favorite, but sadly, number 16 is the one I need to apply.)
Speaking of being 30, since I am about to complete my first official month of this new decade of my life, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share my own checklist of 30 things to do in your 30s. A co-pay, bottle of sunscreen and can of floss aside, the items on this list won’t cost you any money. But it might require time, discipline and a healthy dose of self-reflection. I’m not saying I’ve mastered all these things yet, but I am saying I’d like to try:
1. Eat healthy. More fruits and veggies. Less junk food. It really is that simple.
2. Save more than you spend. Or just save. Something. Anything. This 52 week challenge might be a good place to start.
4. Exercise. I did something similar to this the other day. It took me 20 minutes, and I’m still sore two days later. Perhaps I am a pansy.
5. Start doing a job you love or stop complaining about the one you have. Whining about something will never change it, but improving your attitude can. If the situation is really that bad, look for something else. I know that’s sometimes easier said than done, but you never know until you start putting resumes out there.
6. Get regular physicals.
7. Get right with God. Remember all those times you said you’d “do it when you’re older”? Welcome to being older, my friend.
8. Read more.
9. Watch less TV.
10. Learn a new skill every few months. I’m not talking about mastering Manderin here. More like how to knit, grow an herb garden or start a fire from scratch.
11. Invest in your friendships. Return phone calls. Text back in a timely manner. Make plans and don’t cancel them.
12. (Re)connect with family. I’ve lost touch with my dad’s side of the family. I’m trying to change that. It’s awkward at times and it takes effort; but I think it will be worth it in the end.
13. Vote. Better yet, be an informed voter.
14. Be dependable. Keep your commitments.
15. Focus on your strengths. I suck at a lot of stuff, but I’m good at a few things too. I’m gonna start doing more of what I’m good at and less of what I’m not.
16. Develop your passions. If you don’t know what you’re passionate about, implement number 15 and see what emerges.
17. Stop trying to control everything.
18. Live your life. Not someone else’s life. Not the life you wish you had. Yours. Maybe it looks different than you thought it would. Embrace the difference. Because even once you get the life you think you want, I guarantee that the grass will still look greener somewhere else.
19. Floss. It takes 2 minutes, yet I still find reasons not to do it.
20. Face your problems. Instead of running from them. Or drowning them in a bottle of wine, carton of ice cream or a Netflix marathon. If you need help, ask for it. Going to counseling was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.
21. Keep commitments to yourself. Cause if you can’t trust you, who can?
22. Stop gossiping.
23. Wear sunscreen.
24. Live on a budget.
25. Take responsibility for your actions. If you lashed out, apologize. If you could have done better, admit it. Saying you made a mistake can actually be quite freeing.
26. Stop blaming yourself. Sometimes it is your fault (in which case, see number 25). A lot of times it isn’t.
27. Stop blaming others. Even if they are to blame. Just let it go.
28. Forgive. I guarantee the person you’re holding that grudge against isn’t wasting half the hate-energy you are.
29. Drink more water.
30. Be grateful. Bing said it best. Count your blessings instead of sheep.
Happy 2014, friends. Make it your best year yet, no matter what age you are.