BETA
Close

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...

7min read
Culture

The Middle East And North Africa Are Brimming With Untapped Female Potential

Women of the Middle East have made significant strides in the past decade in a number of sectors, but huge gaps remain within the labor market, especially in leadership roles.


A huge number of institutions have researched and quantified trends of and obstacles to the full utilization of females in the marketplace. Gabriela Ramos, is the Chief-of-Staff to The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an alliance of thirty-six governments seeking to improve economic growth and world trade. The OECD reports that increasing participation in the women's labor force could easily result in a $12 trillion jump in the global GDP by the year 2025.

To realize the possibilities, attention needs to be directed toward the most significantly underutilized resource: the women of MENA—the Middle East and North African countries. Educating the men of MENA on the importance of women working and holding leadership roles will improve the economies of those nations and lead to both national and global rewards, such as dissolving cultural stereotypes.

The OECD reports that increasing participation in the women's labor force could easily result in a $12 trillion jump in the global GDP by the year 2025.

In order to put this issue in perspective, the MENA region has the second highest unemployment rate in the world. According to the World Bank, more women than men go to universities, but for many in this region the journey ends with a degree. After graduating, women tend to stay at home due to social and cultural pressures. In 2017, the OECD estimated that unemployment among women is costing some $575 billion annually.

Forbes and Arabian Business have each published lists of the 100 most powerful Arab businesswomen, yet most female entrepreneurs in the Middle East run family businesses. When it comes to managerial positions, the MENA region ranks last with only 13 percent women among the total number of CEOs according to the Swiss-based International Labor Organization (ILO.org publication "Women Business Management – Gaining Momentum in the Middle East and Africa.")

The lopsided tendency that keeps women in family business—remaining tethered to the home even if they are prepared and capable of moving "into the world"—is noted in a report prepared by OECD. The survey provides factual support for the intuitive concern of cultural and political imbalance impeding the progression of women into the workplace who are otherwise fully capable. The nations of Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Jordan and Egypt all prohibit gender discrimination and legislate equal pay for men and women, but the progressive-sounding checklist of their rights fails to impact on "hiring, wages or women's labor force participation." In fact, the report continues, "Women in the six countries receive inferior wages for equal work… and in the private sector women rarely hold management positions or sit on the boards of companies."

This is more than a feminist mantra; MENA's males must learn that they, too, will benefit from accelerating the entry of women into the workforce on all levels. Some projections of value lost because women are unable to work; or conversely the amount of potential revenue are significant.

Elissa Freiha, founder of Womena, the leading empowerment platform in the Middle East, emphasizes the financial benefit of having women in high positions when communicating with men's groups. From a business perspective it has been proven through the market Index provider MSCI.com that companies with more women on their boards deliver 36% better equity than those lacking board diversity.

She challenges companies with the knowledge that, "From a business level, you can have a potential of 63% by incorporating the female perspective on the executive team and the boards of companies."

Freiha agrees that educating MENA's men will turn the tide. "It is difficult to argue culturally that a woman can disconnect herself from the household and community." Her own father, a United Arab Emirates native of Lebanese descent, preferred she get a job in the government, but after one month she quit and went on to create Womena. The fact that this win-lose situation was supported by an open-minded father, further propelled Freiha to start her own business.

"From a business level, you can have a potential of 63% by incorporating the female perspective on the executive team and the boards of companies." - Elissa Frei

While not all men share the open-mindedness of Freiha's dad, a striking number of MENA's women have convincingly demonstrated that the talent pool is skilled, capable and all-around impressive. One such woman is the prominent Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al-Qasimi, who is currently serving as a cabinet minister in the United Arab Emirates and previously headed a successful IT strategy company.

Al-Qasimi exemplifies the potential for MENA women in leadership, but how can one example become a cultural norm? Marcello Bonatto, who runs Re: Coded, a program that teaches young people in Turkey, Iraq and Yemen to become technology leaders, believes that multigenerational education is the key. He believes in the importance of educating the parent along with their offspring, "particularly when it comes to women." Bonatto notes the number of conflict-affected youth who have succeeded through his program—a boot camp training in technology.

The United Nations Women alongside Promundo—a Brazil-based NGO that promotes gender-equality and non-violence—sponsored a study titled, "International Men and Gender Equality Survey of the Middle East and North Africa in 2017."

This study surveyed ten thousand men and women between the ages of 18 and 59 across both rural and urban areas in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and the Palestinian Authority. It reports that, "Men expected to control their wives' personal freedoms from what they wear to when the couple has sex." Additionally, a mere one-tenth to one-third of men reported having recently carried out a more conventionally "female task" in their home.

Although the MENA region is steeped in historical tribal culture, the current conflict of gender roles is at a crucial turning point. Masculine power structures still play a huge role in these countries, and despite this obstacle, women are on the rise. But without the support of their nations' men this will continue to be an uphill battle. And if change won't come from the culture, maybe it can come from money. By educating MENA's men about these issues, the estimated $27 trillion that women could bring to their economies might not be a dream. Women have been empowering themselves for years, but it's time for MENA's men to empower its women.