So how’s it coming?
The diet? The work out routine? The new project? If you’re like a lot of us, by now those well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions have started to wane a bit. According to recent research, by the time February rolls around, more than a third of us have broken those promises we made to ourselves amid the confetti and champagne.
I resolved to never resolve again. Instead, the goal for me is BALANCE.
Last month amid all the renewed focus on a hunkering down, digging in and getting it done, I didn’t do anything. I headed to Florida and for weeks just vegged. I slept. I read and I ate. Crispy fried chicken wings, triple chocolate Krispy Crème donuts, strawberry cheesecake and chocolate-vanilla twist waffle cones. I had one of those a day. I eventually started asking for the cone in a cup with a splash of hot fudge. Towards the end of my vacation, I caught a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror as I was getting out of the shower. My waistline rivaled that of the Pillsbury Doughboy. Enough.
I packed up and headed home to snowy Minnesota and hit the treadmill 5 days a week. I did push ups, planks, lunges and burpees, ate spinach and kale, and in two weeks time I had my body back. What’s the point? A little bit of this, and a little bit of that equals balance (okay a whole lot of that when you consider the waffle cones). In my book, Pockets of Joy: Deciding to Be Happy, Choosing to Be Free, I describe balance as “a little bit of a lot of the things we love.” I have found through out my life, this is what helps me achieve a consistent state of contentment. A little bit of a lot helps balance out the peaks and valleys and over time, creates a life of joy.
I enjoy being fit and I so love chocolate. So I skipped the Super Bowl chicken wings, and maybe I’ll have a Valentine’s Day truffle…or two. A little bit of a lot of the things that make me happy equals a balanced, contented and happy life.
I know you’ve heard about how important it is to get organized, but rather than hunting for keys or matching socks think about how much time getting organized will add to your life to do the things you really want to do, like sleeping in for an extra 15 minutes. Start small, with the junk drawer in the kitchen or the glove compartment in your car. Taking time to create an orderly life gives you more time for a life of joy.
Why do we save the good dishes for special occasions? Or wait for someone to buy us flowers? Take a moment to enjoy a beautiful sunrise, or sip tea from your favorite china cup. Adding a little beauty here and there balances out the daily monotony, and it just might make you smile.
Okay this is a biggy. The yield traffic sign allows others to pass. Do we always have to be right or get our way? Arguments and disagreements are stressful and make us feel miserable. Being a little bit more willing to do our part to smooth over conflict, and yes, sometimes compromise, especially with the small stuff, can help us reduce stress, and breathe a little easier…which leads me to my next point.
Consider the feelings of others. Be bold enough to make somebody else’s day. Sometimes it’s just not all about you. Research shows that helping others produces a sense of joy even greater than doing things for ourselves.
Even it’s just for five minutes. Meditation, prayer, candles and a bubble bath. Whatever it is, make sure to take time for you this year.
Define your absolutes. What will and what will you not do? Everybody wants a piece of your time. Define what really matters, what really makes you happy, what aligns with your values and priorities, then stick to it. You’ll soon find yourself a little happier as you spend more time doing a little bit of a lot of the things you love.
This article was written by Roxanne Battle and originally appeared on MariaShriver.com