Turn over a new leaf


Red Eye Chicago - - Do -

By Ali­son Bowen

This year, ditch that stan­dard res­o­lu­tion about ex­er­cise, and let your cre­ative juices flow. We’re not say­ing you have to skip the gym; we’re just say­ing these 10 things are worth com­mit­ting to in 2019 and hap­pen to have noth­ing to do with a tread­mill.

Say ‘no’ more of­ten

Or, if your prob­lem is you stay home too much, say “yes” to ev­ery­thing. The point is to con­sider what you need more of in life and chal­lenge your­self to do things that feel un­com­fort­able. If you ended the year feel­ing de­pleted and over­whelmed, say no to ev­ery­thing for two weeks in Jan­u­ary, and see how that feels. On the flip side, if you spent De­cem­ber at home feel­ing lonely, say yes to ev­ery in­vi­ta­tion or new op­por­tu­nity — even some­thing as sim­ple as see­ing a bill­board for a movie and buy­ing a ticket.

Clean out your photo li­brary

You know that feel­ing of dread when your photo roll is full and you sud­denly have to choose which 30 pho­tos to delete to make room for the new ones? Give your­self the gift of not hav­ing that prob­lem any­more. Clean out your phone photo li­brary, and keep the pho­tos you want, ei­ther in a stor­age space like Drop­box or as printed-out hard copies.

Start a daily grat­i­tude prac­tice

Take time to write down what you are grate­ful for each day, or each week, what­ever feels doable. This can be some­thing you write down in a jour­nal, or pieces of pa­per you put in a jar that the en­tire fam­ily can con­trib­ute to and see through­out the year.

Try one new thing each month

This is an easy way to try new things with­out the pres­sure of learn­ing an en­tire new skill in 2019. In­stead, write a list of things you’d like to do, and pick one for each month. Op­tions could in­clude tak­ing a pi­ano class, try­ing a food de­liv­ery ser­vice, vol­un­teer­ing with a new or­ga­ni­za­tion or tak­ing time to hone your fi­nances.

Write a let­ter once a week

That’s right, a let­ter. As in pa­per, with a pen. You might have to lo­cate yours. But this is a great way to calm your mind and show ap­pre­ci­a­tion to peo­ple in your life. Let the hol­i­day card bo­nanza in­spire you. Doesn’t it feel nice to re­ceive things in the mail and get your friends’ life up­dates? Con­tinue that through the year.

Find time to med­i­tate

This is one that many peo­ple have good in­ten­tions to be­gin, but med­i­ta­tion can feel in­tim­i­dat­ing. How long does it re­ally take? How do you even find the right med­i­ta­tion? Do you re­ally have to sit in a cer­tain way and be calm? Well, first, med­i­ta­tions can be as short as three min­utes — to­tally doable at the begin­ning, mid­dle or end of the day. Apps like Headspace and Calm can help ease you in, first with a be­gin­ner level and then with themed se­ries or a daily of­fer­ing. Many peo­ple will tell you that you can me­di­ate when­ever, wher­ever.

Paint a room

Set aside time for a home pro­ject you’ve been mean­ing to tackle — and it doesn’t have to be a big one. Even some­thing as sim­ple as paint­ing a room, or just a wall, can freshen up your space. Who knows, you might just be in­spired to do more.

Put your phone down

We know, we know. You mean to look at your phone less. You want to stop check­ing Face­book. This is the year you ditch In­sta­gram. Here’s an idea: Spend an hour with­out your phone ev­ery day. Maybe that’s a long walk; maybe it’s work­ing in a part of the of­fice where your phone isn’t right next to you. If you must have it with you, turn it off and put it face down. Or con­sider putting your phone down any time you’re in front of an­other screen. Ac­tu­ally pay at­ten­tion to that movie. No one needs two screens.

Cook one new recipe per week

If you’re like many of us, a res­o­lu­tion of­ten in­cludes learn­ing to cook or im­prov­ing one realm of your cook­ing, bak­ing or cock­tail-mak­ing skills. Use this much more spe­cific mantra in­stead, and pick one recipe a week to try, ei­ther from your Pin­ter­est se­lec­tion, brows­ing the web on the way to the store or fi­nally crack­ing open that cook­book. An­other pos­si­ble source of in­spi­ra­tion: Start a cook­books club.

Read the books on your shelves

That’s right, the ones you al­ready own and have had great in­ten­tions for years to read. Maybe you weren’t in the mood, maybe “In­fi­nite Jest” seemed way too long. But it’s a great time to re-eval­u­ate your book­shelf and com­mit to get­ting through the books you al­ready own. Plus, it’s free!


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