New Year’s resolutions get a lot of hype, and for the first week of January, sometimes they even get momentum. But after the holidays die down and life returns to its usual pace, it can be hard to keep up with those aggressive day by day or week by week goals to get perfectly fit, eat totally healthy or learn to speak fluent Japanese. We’re all busy, and sometimes you just can’t stick to a routine that is too rigorous in the chaos of keeping job, social life, personal life, family, friends, pets, and self balanced. New Year aspirations are the way to go for busy women: goals, hopes, and plans that you can absolutely achieve in a year without exhausting yourself on a day to day basis. You’ve got eleven and a half months to do it your way, but if you need some inspiration, here are a few things you could do (easily!) with that time:
1. Learn a New, and Lucrative, Craft
Sewing your own clothes is becoming very popular again, and it can be a fantastic way to save money once you get the hang of it. Sure, it seems intimidating, but the resources online for patterns, tutorials, and tips and tricks are endless, and if you can learn to master one basic that you know you’ll always use — a circle skirt, a simple dress pattern or just a pillow — the possibilities open up tremendously. Better yet, pick up a craft you’re interested in like candle or soap making, knitting, beading, silk screening, print or t-shirt design, etc., and practice in your free time until you’re great, and then start an Etsy store. Even if you don’t make any money, you’ll have mastered a great standby for gifts or party favors.
2. (Casually) Pick Up a Language
Let’s face it: learning fluent Portuguese in a year is a bit of a lofty goal. But there’s no reason you can’t pick up enough of any language to make yourself at least somewhat understood. The app Duolingo is a great starting point for everything from Spanish to Dutch, and you can choose how much time you’re comfortable committing to each day. It also helps you determine a jumping-off point, in case you can still brush off a few years of high school French and don’t want to start from the very beginning. Practicing another language can be a perfect first step toward your travel goals, too.
3. Write Something (Anything)
Writing a novel is not for everyone — but maybe it is for you. If not, try writing a blog, or a journal, a memoir, or even just a letter or a recipe. Pick something you’re passionate about or good at and write about it, whether that’s lipstick, politics, cooking, movies or books, and start writing down what you know and think. Whether you’re comfortable sharing immediately or not, you can find a way to make your expertise useful to other people somewhere, and you may make connections that can help you out, as well. Don’t make goals you know will be very difficult to meet, but don’t be afraid to challenge yourself, either. In a world where texting and emailing is easy and convenient, keep your communication and writing skills sharp — not because formal writing is the fastest or most useful means, but because it has to most potential for meaning and connection.
4. Stop Trying to Tell Yourself What ‘Counts’
We’re all guilty of trying to guilt ourselves, because we live in a world that makes money off of our self-doubt and self-discipline. It will be better for your wallet, your sanity and your health when you can stop rigorously determining what ‘counts’ toward your goals: last night doesn’t count as going out, because I only went to the movies with my best friend. Today’s workout doesn’t count, it wasn’t long enough. This purchase doesn’t count. This achievement doesn’t count. Start appreciating things as they are, even if they’re small measurements toward larger goals. Recognize your personal circumstances and accept that you have to be flexible and forgiving when things happen unexpectedly. It also means you can’t demand desires, goals, or feelings of yourself because you think you’re ‘supposed‘ to have them.