New year, new you

Darian Graivshark
Coffee from Willa Jean in New Orleans.

Many of us see the new year as an opportunity to better some aspect of our lives.

Me? I’m definitely one of those people. Although, I do try to make changes for the better throughout the year. A new year, though, gives way for more motivation in achieving it. However, my resolutions don’t typically include working out, as I feel most resolutions do. One thing that I am trying to focus on is increasing my water intake.

As a heavy coffee drinker, that’s something I seriously should consider. Coffee tends to dehydrate the body. I started working on this already, actually, and have seen some difference. Since mid December, I’ve made it a point to refill a container I have that holds three cups of water. I try to refill it three times a day. At the beginning, I wasn’t very good at drinking even two refills, or six cups. Now, I typically drink the nine cups or more. Little things like chugging a cup right after you wake up can really make a difference. They say it takes about 21 days to break a bad habit, so remind yourself of that when you feel like you can’t achieve something anymore.

Another resolution I have is to read more books. This is mostly because I like to learn, and I do tend to read non-fiction books. These will typically include biographies or something related to science. Why do I do this? Because I love to learn new things. Reading is also a really great way to expand your vocabulary. One thing I recommend when someone is reading a book is to highlight something that you may not fully know about, research it, then make notes inside of the book to refer to at a later time. It serves well as a means of sharing fun facts with friends, because who doesn’t love fun facts?

Something challenging for me, which I also plan on working on during the new year, is decreasing my use of social media. Social media has become this big thing that many of us feel we have to rely on in our day-to-day lives now. I talk to my friends a lot about how grateful I am to have had a childhood without all of that. No cell phones (early on, at least), no app to check every 2 minutes . . . Just the outside world and my imagination. It was easier to make connections with people, too. We weren’t all looking down at our phones while waiting in line for something. The world has become pretty reserved and selective because of phones. I try to look at the people I’m passing by in public, now, and give them a smile. You never know how much that can change a person's day.

Some of us may use social media as just a means of connecting to other people like a relative or friend that is trekking the globe right now. Although, for some of us that’s a way to compare our lives to another person’s life. Instead of wishing I was backpacking through Europe while seeing these photos of friends, I should be focusing on enjoying my life as it is. Of course, it’s amazing to see where they are going and what they are doing, but it is not my time to do those things, and I have to learn to be alright with that.

Lastly, I plan on decluttering my life. That drawer in your home that is filled with random objects with no real purpose? Declutter it. That top that I only wore once two years ago? I plan on donating it. It tends to be difficult to let go of some of these things, though, because of memories. How is one supposed to create and make room for new memories if we aren’t willing to let go of the old? I can admit that I don’t need to hold on to a pencil that I kept from an event years ago. The pencil was just one of those things that I threw into my junk drawer with the possibility that I may use it in the future. Many years later, it has still yet to be used. It has just followed me ever since, because of the word “maybe.” If something like that hasn’t been used, it’s something that we don’t actually need. It only adds to the clutter in our lives. I like to live by the idea that experiences are always better than materialistic things.

Resolutions may not be for everyone. Some may even swear against them, saying they don’t need a new year to make better changes in their lives. For me, though, it’s a sort of motive. No, maybe I won’t be able to start reading more books like I want to. Life may start to do it’s own thing and stop me from doing that. I could become too busy to read and learn from books. This is the same for any resolution. Life happens so quickly, and we may need to make changes to our goals as that happens. Resolutions that are attainable are the biggest key, though. You can’t climb Mount Everest in 24 hours.

Share ideas with family or friends. Get their opinion on your goals, if you’re willing to share them, and see if they feel as though you could achieve them.

Follow Darian on Twitter @dariangshark.