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40 Micro-Improvements to Un-Fail Your New Year's Resolutions

Lifestyle

Well, some say it's a to-do list for the first week of January. Statistics say it's something only 8 percent of people will keep up throughout the year. And I say they it's a collection of failures we line up for ourselves to experience. Every year. Except for 2018 -- am I right?


Reputable sources on the internet list the top 10 New Year's Resolutions as follows:

  1. Eat Healthier and Diet
  2. Lose Weight and Get Fit
  3. Quit Smoking
  4. Spend More Time with Family
  5. Learn Something New
  6. Get Out of Debt and Save Money
  7. Travel to New Places
  8. Be Less Stressed
  9. Volunteer
  10. Drink Less

Which for our generation roughly translates to:

  1. Stop salting food
  2. Make use of FitBit
  3. Stop smoking...cigarettes
  4. Answer mom's phone calls
  5. Buy more Groupons
  6. Uber only when necessary
  7. Attend more weddings
  8. Stop texting exes
  9. Volunteer...to flaunt on social media
  10. Vodka soda. Vodka soda. Vodka soda.

The problem with these noble aspirations is that they require considerable lifestyle changes and committed efforts to follow through. And though the start of a new calendar year may feel like enough motivation to do so, more often than not, we find ourselves right back where we started (just in lower spirits...)

This year, you can continue the cycle of goal fatigue from those overbearing resolutions -- OR -- you can set yourself up for success with a few mini-goals that are well within your reach. In the spirit of your success, we've crafted a list of micro-improvements to make in terms of: health, organization, money, happiness, travel, relationships, and volunteering.

Do yourself a favor and over the course of the next 365 days, accomplish one, two, or just a few of the below, and relish in the fact that you're achieving greatness! Or just be proud you're being an adult, which we've all learned the hard way, is not easy...

Here, the 40 Micro-Improvements that will help you stick to your New Year's resolutions
HEALTH

1. Get your teeth cleaned.

Dig up your insurance card. Locate website. Search for a provider. Set an appointment (like, maybe 6 months from now). Forget appointment.

2. Throw out expired food.

And makeup. And anything else with an expiration date. And while you're at it, clean your makeup brushes.

3. Put gym clothes and shoes in your car.

Or just put those clothes you've been meaning to donate in your trunk, so that you can a) finally drop it off at Goodwill and b) use them as workout clothes until you do so.

4. Get a flu shot.

At the beginning of the season. Think how many calories you'll save on soup and ice cream.

5. Grilled, not fried. On the rocks, not frozen. Salt rim, not sugar.

How to order at every Mexican restaurant.

6. Embrace dry shampoo.

“For a good, clean feeling. No matter what."

7. Get more massages and facials.

For health reasons, duh. Buy packages or encourage these as gifts from loved ones.

8. Floss.

Often.

ORGANIZATION

9. Clear out your email inbox

Download Unroll.me to instantly see a list of all your subscription emails and unsubscribe easily from whatever you don't want.

10. Delete your weird high school friends on Facebook

It helps if you do this on their birthday, when FB reminds you they exist.

11. Put an emergency tampon in key locations

Like your gym bag, glove compartment, boyfriend's house and every purse you own.

12. Give someone an extra key to your apartment.

Make sure it's not the weird friend from high school.

13. Throw out hideous promotional items you've accumulated over the years.

You don't need that Bank of the West blanket, or NuvaRing hat. It's fashion over function this year.

MONEY

14. Collect old gift cards and spend an entire day cashing them in.

You'd be surprised what you can still get at a Barnes and Noble.

15. Try to return that dress you lost the receipt for.

Maybe they'll take it, right?

16. Save a little bit of money.

Download an app (like Qapital) that automatically deposits into a savings account...or an emergency Vegas fund.

17. Invest a wee bit of money.

Spend half the time you do checking Instagram on checking stocks. Or the news. Or something time-worthy.

18. Shop clearance first, not last.

Nordstrom Rack is your friend.

19. Cook something once in awhile.

Microwaving counts. Salads also count.

20. Only order online from Amazon Prime.

AKA free shipping. AKA never pay for shipping.

HAPPINESS

21. Watch one Disney movie a month. Maybe two.

But seriously, no judgment if it exceeds 10.

22. Wear more costumes.

Or at least wear the appropriate color on each holiday: green on St. Patties, red on Valentine's (black, depending on your relationship status), etc.

23. Eat frozen yogurt as a meal.

Try your hardest to “wow" a Yogurtland employee. It's like a personal trophy.

24. Give more gifts.

Hand out glow jewelry or flash tattoos to people you don't know at a party to witness true joy.

25. Dress up as much as possible.

Wear clothing with kittens or puppies on it. Or whatever makes you happy.

26. Ditch the bitch voice inside your head.

She sucks.

27. Take more naps.

This includes in the car on your lunch break.

TRAVEL

28. Take a solo trip.

Find a cheap Airbnb and go make a friend.

29. Spend less money when you do travel.

Stop pretending foreign currency is “Monopoly money." It's real.

30. Go somewhere you don't speak the language.

This includes neighborhoods in your own town.

31. Figure out how to redeem points for a fully expensed trip.

Or just figure out how to redeem points. Seriously how do they do it?

32. Make believe.

Feel like you're traveling by using a random foreign accent to confuse people. It's great.

RELATIONSHIPS

33. Stop ghosting people.

Just kindly type: “Not interested." Easier written than said.

34. Be pickier.

Stop going on dates because you've been “meaning to try that place."

35. Be more strategic.

Start going on dates that end in tickets to see Hamilton.

36. Be more thoughtful.

Send people random “thinking of you" cards...or DM's.

37. Be more aware of others.

RSVP for your friend's events before they have to remind you to do so.

VOLUNTEERING

38. Donate old clothes.

But no shame if you try to sell them first. eBay is your friend.

39. Volunteer at home.

To show family/significant others “how it should be done."

40. Be a good friend.

Take a girlfriend to lunch and offer to listen to her problems. And listen, Linda, listen.

There you go, you're now armed with 40 tools that can make or break your 2018. With these in mind, tackle the New Year the right way (which just translates to whichever way you see fit…)

If not, there's always next year...

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Self

I Have Been Bullied Both At School and At Work. Here's What It Taught Me

Starting with a little background, I am an anti-bullying advocate and have recently graduated from The Parent Leadership Training Institute, where as part of our studies we were asked to come up with a community project close to our hearts and put it into action. My cause was bullying, and I began a blog and Facebook page to address issues pertaining to all forms of bullying. Implementing this project was followed by a thre- minute speech to my peers, and, after all this, here is what I have learned about bullying.


Bullying makes people feel bad about themselves, leading to feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem and even physical symptoms. The repercussions of bullying can cause people to miss school or work as well as countless other negative side effects.

I have been bullied both at school and at work, and I know of others who have suffered the same plight. It is not fun!

My first bullying experience was in seventh grade as a young teen. There was a group of three "mean girls" who harassed me and, I later found out, several of my friends; they thought it was funny to pick on others about their clothes, their looks or whatever else they could come up with (who knows). It felt awful at the time. Supposedly, I was chosen to get picked on because they claimed I bought my clothes at the Goodwill. That wasn't true, but really who cares? Why they were picking on me was never really the point. Luckily, after a while, the meanies went on to the next victim(s) like a never-ending cycle. I tend to think once a bully, always a bully, which goes to show how good a lifestyle that is, because those "mean girls" never amounted to much. In hindsight, I feel sorry for them. Watch the movie The Gift if you're really curious about what happens to bullies when they grow up.

And bullying was not just an issue when I was a teen, since then nothing much has changed. My own nephew was bullied in eighth grade, and he recently talked to me in depth about of how the bullying took a toll on him. Especially because I had the same experience, I could relate to him in ways that some others couldn't. Like reliving my own memories, I was incredibly broken up to hear how it made him feel.

Even worse than that, bullying does not end in the school yard. Employees are being bullied on the job at an alarming rate. When you are bullied on the job as an adult, it taken an even bigger toll. Further it doesn't just go away like those middle school "mean girls." Unless you can quit your job, you might just be stuck. There are all kinds of physical symptoms, stomach pains, migraines and even panic attacks. Beyond the physical, people's mental and emotional state is extremely sensitive to bullying, and as a result work performance might suffer. Furthermore, it might feel like there is no recourse, no one to believe you. You can hope that the HR Department is willing to listen and do something about it, but the whole process can be so disheartening. And in the hierarchical corporate environment, sometimes the bully seems to get ahead and you are left lagging behind in a subservient position. This is what happened to me as a victim of workplace bullying. It started with me being told by a co-worker that my boss was following me to the bathroom, staring down the hall whenever I left my desk to make sure I came right back to my seat. Then it was standing over me as I typed, ordering me to get in a car with them, not allowing me to sit somewhere if it wasn't within their sight. The list of offenses could go on endlessly. There were times I felt like I couldn't breathe. And then, the bully torturing me got a promotion. Like the character of Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, the classic bully is revered by her peers, despite the fact that all of her employees are terrified of her. Yet, she is in a role of high stature and praised as a bully. We live in a culture that is not only complacent in the existence of bullies, but one that actively allows them to thrive.

It makes you realize how unfair life can be. Of course, no one said that life would be fair; maybe you just assumed that bad people would not get ahead. But, they do. Even now, I cannot help but to shake my head in disbelief. I often wonder what makes a person feel the need to laud their power over another. Are they insecure? Were they bullied themselves? They must feel bad about themselves in some way? Do they feel the need to do this to make themselves look good? Whatever the reason, it certainly isn't nice at all. I have found myself at different times in my life standing up for people who have been bullied around me. And I certainly do not allow anyone to treat me in any way that I find disrespectful. I truly believe in karma, and I tell myself that at some point in time, the bullies will get it back in some way. I have seen it happen, and in the meantime, I just say to myself "What goes around, comes around."

Bullying shows no sign of slowing down, and in this day and age, it's even worse than I have experienced in the past. Cyber bulling, rumors, fist fights, knifes, guns and other forms of both mental and physical cruelty, it truly sickens me. I know that I cannot save everyone, but I try to be an advocate as much as possible and encourage others to do so as well. NO ONE SHOULD BULLIED! It is disgraceful to say the least. You should always practice grace as much as you can. With every person who chooses to do so, the world gets a little bit better. I will be writing more on this topic on a regular basis; I feel it helps to talk about this subject aloud and spread the word. and, if nothing else, be kind.