5 Easy Resolutions that Will Pay Off in Time

Typically, we're all trying to lose or gain fifteen pounds depending on whether we're trying to look like barbie or GI Joe when the new year comes around. That, or there's a cluttered pantry that we'll definitely, definitely start clearing out 10am sharp on Jan. 1st. In essence, we're trying to become this guy:

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Typically, these resolutions crash and burn, or maybe they just burn if they never get any lift off to begin with. To avoid any disheartening failure, I think we need to think smaller--Rome was not, as you might know, built in a day.

Here's a list of lofty, admirable, and maybe unrealistic New Year's resolutions, and their moderate, small-beginnings-ish, appropriate counterparts.

1. LOSE OR GAIN TWENTY POUNDS TO LOOK LIKE BARBIE AND/OR GI JOE.

1a. Instead of fitting into clothes you think you're supposed to fit in, buy things that fit you. Health is important, yes, but in acknowledging that we don't need narrow hips to survive, know that you're probably closer to perfect than you think. Spend some cash on an outfit that caresses your body instead of strangling it.

2. READ THAT NOVEL RIGHT NOW BEFORE ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD ESCAPES ME.

2a. Chill, baby. Your schedule might get crazy, and some days will be a non-stop trajectory from the car to the office to the car and back to bed, but time offers itself in doses. While you're lying in bed thinking about what to eat tomorrow, what project you need to finish, or why we're even here at all (!!) take that dusty book off the shelf and read for fifteen minutes. Don't get crazy and commit whole hours at first. Start with bits of time, and if the book is good, add a few more minutes to the clock if you want. If it isn't good, you can at least say you tried.

3. THE HOUSE SHALL BE CLEAN HENCEFORTH.

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3a. I understand wanting a home that doesn't stick to you or look like a crime scene. Cleaning the whole house twice a week is an admirable goal, but oh my stars it is taxing. If you're not used to doing it, you'll likely burn out if you try to do it too many times a week.

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If you want your house to be cleaner, and not despise the site of bleach, you can start by taking your shoes off before you walk in. Eventually your floor will seem a little cleaner. I find that most of the dirt on my floor is what I track in--not to mention, it's kind of nice to leave shoes at the door--a kind of symbolic departure from the stresses of the day.

4. TAKE-OUT IS FOR THE WEAK. I WILL LEARN TO COOK AND EAT LIKE A KING.

4a. Easy your lordship, no need to get all uppity. My uncle and friends all had the same advice for me when I shouted this from atop the dining room tables at several Christmas parties (there was wine). They all said, get down, and that if I wanted to cook, all I needed for now was three dishes: A soup, a stir-fry, and meat entre (chicken breast, steak tips, roasted goose, etc.). Whole menus are for the folks commonly known as chefs, and really motivated parents.

5. WE WILL HAVE THE GREATEST NEW YEAR'S PARTY EVER KNOWN.

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5a. You can ask anyone what he or she did for New Year's and usually the answers are laced with disappointment. NYE is a weird kind of holiday--kind of soon after xmas, not really something family are obligated to do together, no solid traditions (besides a kiss at midnight, and obnoxious hats) to guide a celebration--and we never plan the parties until the very end of December. 

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It might seem odd, but maybe you could start preparing for New Year's at the beginning of the New Year. Want to do something epic next year? Save up slowly. Put away small amounts, like $1--$5 every day. Come New Year's Eve, wherever you are, you'll have at least $365 to spend on ringing in the new year. That's plenty of cash to have good food at a good restaurant, or go somewhere different. Patience will be your friend in this case.

There, now you can blaze into 2013 with a little less stress. Go reward all your hard work this year with a latte or a foot bath. You've earned it.

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