shani - the new year plan

The New Year Plan

By Shani Petroff

It seems whenever I make a New Year’s resolution, I don’t stick with it for long. For a few years, I didn’t even bother making one because I knew I would forget about it shortly afterward — and then get annoyed with myself later. But this year, I’m making one — to be a better me. I’ve come up with a plan of what I’m going to do to make this happen:

Compliment myself. I will sometimes look at online dating sites and come across a profile that looks interesting, but then I think, “he wouldn’t like someone like me.” That thinking needs to stop. So now when I have a negative thought, I acknowledge it, tell myself to knock it off, and compliment myself instead. And it’s not just about my appearance. It’s all aspects of my life. Sometimes I have to remind myself of my professional and personal successes.  

Be kind to others. I like to think I’m a kind person. I try to treat everyone with courtesy and respect. But like anyone, I have my off days. I have moments where my temper gets the better of me. But I want to treat others how I’d like to be treated. You never know what someone is going through. So when I want to snap, I’m going to try and take a deep breath instead. When I want to turn away from a coworker who drives me crazy, I’m going to try and practice my patience. And I’m going to smile more. The other day, I got on the bus after work, and I said hello to the driver and asked him how he was doing. He looked at me like I was crazy. After, I checked to see if there was anything in my teeth! When I was leaving and thanked him, he told me I was the first person who spoke to him all day. It reminded me that we are all in our own little worlds sometimes, and little things like saying hello or smiling can make a difference in someone else’s day. And I do believe what we put out there, affects what we get back.

Sticker time. When I was little, I loved stickers, especially when I got them on school papers for a good job. So I decided why not apply the same practice now? I have a day planner (I prefer the paper ones to online ones), and I just ordered a bunch of shiny star stickers. Starting January 1st, when I meet a daily goal, I get a sticker. One color for exercising, another for sticking to my SmartPoints® budget, and another for every 1,000 words I write on my next book project. I’ll be able to look and see how my week, month, and year is shaping up (similar to the calendar feature on the Weight Watchers app) when it comes to these three things that are very important to me.

Just say no. Being kind to others doesn’t mean being a pushover. And it also doesn’t mean I have to always say yes. I need to make myself a priority. So if I can’t do a favor for a coworker or don’t have time to meet a friend for lunch or don’t have the money to attend an event, I’m not going to let myself feel pressured to do it. I am going to say no. I will do it nicely, but I will do what is right for me.

Me time. Sleep in, cook, relax, read a book — they are all things I don’t seem to have enough time to do. Well, in my planner, the same one in which I am going to be doling out stars, I am going to schedule all of these activities. I find I waste a lot of time, usually when I am procrastinating. I end up feeling guilty about it, and it becomes a stressful time rather than a relaxing or enjoyable one. So I’m going to give myself the time to unwind. And hopefully as a result, I will also work when I need to work.

Have a wonderful holiday. May 2017 be the best year yet for all of us!

I’d love to hear from you. You can find me on Connect at @shani!  

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