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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...

​4 Min Read
Business

Please Don't Put Yourself On Mute

During a recent meeting on Microsoft Teams, I couldn't seem to get a single word out.


When I tried to chime in, I kept getting interrupted. At one point two individuals talked right over me and over each other. When I thought it was finally my turn, someone else parachuted in from out of nowhere. When I raised and waved my hand as if I was in grade school to be called on (yes, I had my camera on) we swiftly moved on to the next topic. And then, completely frustrated, I stayed on mute for the remainder of the meeting. I even momentarily shut off my camera to devour the rest of my heavily bruised, brown banana. (No one needed to see that.)

This wasn't the first time I had struggled to find my voice. Since elementary school, I always preferring the back seat unless the teacher assigned me a seat in the front. In high school, I did piles of extra credit or mini-reports to offset my 0% in class participation. In college, I went into each lecture nauseous and with wasted prayers — wishing and hoping that I wouldn't be cold-called on by the professor.

By the time I got to Corporate America, it was clear that if I wanted to lead, I needed to pull my chair up (and sometimes bring my own), sit right at the table front and center, and ask for others to make space for me. From then on, I found my voice and never stop using it.

But now, all of a sudden, in this forced social experiment of mass remote working, I was having trouble being heard… again. None of the coaching I had given myself and other women on finding your voice seemed to work when my voice was being projected across a conference call and not a conference room.

I couldn't read any body language. I couldn't see if others were about to jump in and I should wait or if it was my time to speak. They couldn't see if I had something to say. For our Microsoft teams setting, you can only see a few faces on your screen, the rest are icons at the bottom of the window with a static picture or even just their name. And, even then, I couldn't see some people simply because they wouldn't turn their cameras on.

If I did get a chance to speak and cracked a funny joke, well, I didn't hear any laughing. Most people were on mute. Or maybe the joke wasn't that funny?

At one point, I could hear some heavy breathing and the unwrapping of (what I could only assume was) a candy bar. I imagined it was a Nestle Crunch Bar as my tummy rumbled in response to the crinkling of unwrapped candy. (There is a right and a wrong time to mute, people.)

At another point, I did see one face nodding at me blankly.

They say that remote working will be good for women. They say it will level the playing field. They say it will be more inclusive. But it won't be for me and others if I don't speak up now.

  • Start with turning your camera on and encouraging others to do the same. I was recently in a two-person meeting. My camera was on, but the other person wouldn't turn theirs on. In that case, ten minutes in, I turned my camera off. You can't stare at my fuzzy eyebrows and my pile of laundry in the background if I can't do the same to you. When you have a willing participant, you'd be surprised by how helpful it can be to make actual eye contact with someone, even on a computer (and despite the fuzzy eyebrows).
  • Use the chatbox. Enter in your questions. Enter in your comments. Dialogue back and forth. Type in a joke. I did that recently and someone entered back a laughing face — reaffirming that I was, indeed, funny.
  • Designate a facilitator for the meeting: someone leading, coaching, and guiding. On my most recent call, a leader went around ensuring everyone was able to contribute fairly. She also ensured she asked for feedback on a specific topic and helped move the discussion around so no one person took up all the airtime.
  • Unmute yourself. Please don't just sit there on mute for the entire meeting. Jump in and speak up. You will be interrupted. You will interrupt others. But don't get frustrated or discouraged — this is what work is now — just keep showing up and contributing.
  • Smile, and smile big. Nod your head in agreement. Laugh. Give a thumbs up; give two! Wave. Make a heart with your hands. Signal to others on the call who are contributing that you support and value them. They will do the same in return when your turn comes to contribute.

It's too easy to keep your camera turned off. It's too easy to stay on mute. It's too easy to disappear. But now is not the time to disappear. Now is the time to stay engaged and networked within our organizations and communities.

So please don't put yourself on mute.

Well, actually, please do put yourself on mute so I don't have to hear your heavy breathing, candy bar crunching, or tinkling bathroom break.

But after that, please take yourself off mute so you can reclaim your seat (and your voice) at the table.