Let other Real Simple readers’ resolutions inspire you to have a saner new year.
Every year I make these lists of New Year’s resolutions. By March, I’ve completely lost focus because the list is so long. This year I’m going to work on one professional goal and one personal goal. That’s it. Narrowing my focus will make my goals easier to accomplish.
Wantagh, New York
Sleep in more with my husband. That always promises a good day.
This year I will make wellness my top priority. This past year, I spent so much time on other people’s problems and trying to keep up with extracurricular obligations that I almost collapsed from exhaustion. I now know that personal wellness is not a selfish luxury but a selfless act for the benefit of my children and husband. If I am going to be around to nurture my 3-year-old and 1-year-old to adulthood, I must give them the gift of a spiritually, emotionally, and physically well mom.
Tracey W. Brame
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Smile more. Pray more. Complain less.
Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey
Try something new, such as learning Spanish or Italian, and revisit something old, like Jane Austen’s novels.
Ashville, North Carolina
Instead of arranging for lawn, tree, and plant services next summer, my family is going to learn about and take care of the living things in our yard. The cold winter months will be the perfect time to research the needs and cycles of each species. It’s going to be challenging, but we’ll save money, spend time working together, and enjoy watching things thrive.
I will find time each day to reach out to a family member, a friend, or a colleague whom I don’t see or talk to regularly, whether by a phone call, an e-mail, or a simple handwritten note. The art of personal communication with others who have touched our lives is fast disappearing. Facebook and Twitter don’t count.
I will cut down on activities outside my home. I tend to overextend myself when friends or colleagues ask me to volunteer at fund-raisers, charity events, parties, etc. Sometimes my schedule is so busy with things that don’t involve my family at all. I will slow down, minimize my outside activities, and say yes when my husband wants to cuddle on the couch and watch a DVD or my kids want to play a game or take a walk. I give my family a lot of my time now, but I want to be able to give them more.
Elk Grove, California
Go even greener by keeping the green in my bank instead of in the credit-card company’s bank.
I will never, ever again take life and my time on this earth for granted. My father’s emergency quadruple-bypass surgery has made me reflect on how I have been living my life for the last 34 years―stress, worry, and constant motion. I will now wake up each day, think in wonder about how lucky I am, and say a prayer of thanks for what the day may bring.
Say yes more when others offer to help.
I’ll take the time to plan out what we’re eating and shop accordingly. This should cut down on the number of impromptu trips to the grocery store while hungry, and hopefully I’ll eat healthier and waste less by doing so.
This year I would like to pay more attention to my amazing husband. Our newborn baby bumped him down on the priority list last year.
New York, New York
Take more time to enjoy the small things. Who knew that in a tough economy I would actually learn a better way to live? Consuming less allows me to enjoy what I have all around me―most important, my relationships with family and friends.
Use my vacation days at work.
Deer River, Minnesota
Spend more time focused on my daughter and less time worrying about having a sink free of dishes and floors that are dust-free. She deserves those extra moments.
I will call my grandmothers more often. I know that nothing makes them happier than getting a phone call from a grandchild.
My niece, Danielle, discovered that she had breast cancer when she was four months pregnant. She has had the support of family, friends, and coworkers, but even with such tremendous help, she has had a difficult and challenging time. This year I will not wait for someone to ask for help; I will seek out those who need help and offer my support in the best way I can, whether it is driving someone to chemo so her husband doesn’t have to miss a day of work, watching children, or doing errands that will make her life easier. Danielle has had our assistance, but it breaks my heart to think of so many with little or no support.
This year I will welcome any and all adventures and changes with open arms and a huge smile.
I will live fearlessly. I won’t let anything get in the way of my dreams and goals, especially fear.
Hoboken, New Jersey
After my husband’s 11-month job layoff comes to an end, we’ll continue to do what we’ve done to survive: clip coupons, make gourmet meals with inexpensive ingredients, drink $3 bottles of Trader Joe’s wine, play cribbage on the deck, and climb out of the debt we’re in and stay out. We’ll never go back to our old life of extravagance.
This year I will write 2010 on my checks instead of 2009.
Buy a house with a garden that I can dig in.
Rapid City, South Dakota
Some friends and I challenged one another to do 101 things in 1,001 days, so I will try things I’ve shied away from in the past (like making an angel food cake from scratch, delivering cookies to a neighbor, and knitting a hat). It is both fun and liberating to do something new and different. Who knows what wonderful things will happen?
West Liberty, Ohio
I will take my time and focus on the details. And, more important, make sure I never hit “Reply All.”
San Diego, California
I’m going to work harder at accepting people the way they are. My 59-year-old sister died this year after a short fight with cancer. She would always tell me when I complained about people, “They’re doing the best that they can.” Her wise words will help me achieve my goal.
As a senior, I plan to collect all the resolutions of my youth and try to cull the best three. Then I’ll use all this free time I now have to do those few things with gusto. My incredible husband and amazing daughter are always telling me to do what I want. It’s now or never. I want to make sure it’s now.
In a world where many relationships are maintained via social networking, I am going to send handwritten letters―a more personal way to tell the ones I care about how much they mean to me.
Del Rio, Texas
I’ll eat pasta at every chance I get and not feel guilty.
I will use the computer less and spend time in the real world, with my young children. I plan to avoid e-mailing, texting, and perusing the Web any more than I need to. Instead, I’ll play more board games, read more books, do more puzzles, and tell more knock-knock jokes (while my kids still think I’m funny).
Not a thing! This past year has been a tremendous year of personal and professional growth. I have explored my baggage, learned to set boundaries, and achieved some important goals. It is so nice that I’m finally at a point in my life where I do not feel like I am working on something.
I’m going to put my husband first. We each work two jobs and have family, volunteer, and social commitments, so we’re exhausted at the end of the day. He deserves the best of me―not what’s left over after I’m done with everything else.
Alyssa Rae C. Tillier
Cranston, Rhode Island
I am a planner, a list maker, and a do-things-by-the-book kind of gal. This year I am going to throw all that stuff out and just focus on the present.
Spring Valley, California
I will not let one opportunity pass to tell those I love how I feel about them.
Dorian B. Swaney
Columbia, South Carolina
My doctor wants me to reduce my caffeine consumption to one cup per day. To make this cutback easier, I’m going to savor that coffee from a pretty china cup while sitting at my kitchen table instead of rushing about drinking it from a paper cup.
Nothing. I’ll continue to get serious about my diet starting Monday, then blow it the first time I have dinner with the girls. I’ll buy the shoes I don’t need, the dress I won’t wear, and the workout videos I won’t use. I’ll continue to drink too much coffee and eat too many French fries. I’ll live for today, forget the past, and make the same mistakes―and I will love every second of it, because my flaws make me me!
Emily M. Harrigan
Change hundreds of diapers. Fold clean onesies. Get far less than my normal eight hours of sleep. And love my first baby beyond what words can say.