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30 New Year’s Resolutions to Rock Your 2015

30 New Year’s Resolutions to Rock Your 2015
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New Year’s resolutions: many of us make them each January, and then by March they are long forgotten. Some of the most common broken resolutions are to lose weight, quit smoking, get out of debt, volunteer, and be less stressed. In fact, around 45% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, according to a University of Scranton survey published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, and yet only 8% will accomplish them.

One of the reasons we fail to follow through with our resolutions is because we set lofty goals that are nearly impossible to reach. Many of us haven’t yet become the type of person that is capable of achieving our biggest goals.

Fret not– there is hope! This year, let’s work on the tangible actions that will get us closer to successfully achieving our New Year’s resolutions once and for all!

Here’s a list of 30 action-packed resolutions we can start today to transform us each into that person who is capable of making their dreams come true:

1. Make a new friend a month

new year resolution friendship

    Friends increase our well-being, no matter what our personality type. We can make it a point to get to know a co-worker’s family, a couple from your church, a friend’s friend, or join a meet-up group for a hobby that we’re interested in. Social connection with others is one of the most important aspects of being human.

    2. Send a letter or card each week to a loved one

    Most people only communicate through text messages, e-mail and social media these days. Sometimes people call each other, but nothing is as rare as receiving a letter in the regular mail. It’s nice to let our loved ones really know that we took the time – and effort – to think about them.

    3. Do something nice for others every day

    Be the person that makes others feel special. It can be something small like giving a compliment, or something great like donating blood. By knowing we are making a difference, we will also indirectly increase our own happiness and sense of achievement.

    4. Get rid of “frenemies”

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    new year resolution frenemies

      Life is too short to continue to hold on to people who secretly despise us, and everything that we do. Let’s go ahead and drop those people that constantly pick fights with us. It’s not worth the stress and drama.

      5. Strengthen relationships with family members

      We might have a great family or a really messed up one – either way, they’re our family. We ought to do what we can to make them a bigger part of our lives – even if it just means a bi-weekly phone call to our sister.

      6. Be more forgiving

      When we forgive, we let go of resentment, anger, and any other bad feelings that may be holding us back from being happy. Forgiveness is a great gift to ourselves.

      7. Let go of the need to be right

      Practicing humility is a great way to change our need to prove others wrong. We can all learn something from opening our minds and genuinely listening to what others may have to offer. It does not mean that we have to accept their ideas and beliefs. When we are confident in our own choices, we don’t have to prove anything.

      8. Be more aware of the negative sh*t we post on social media

      new year resolution facebook

        Even though we all have them, our negative judgments and pet peeves shared on social media make us look like horrible people. Let’s stop and think before we post something offensive or mean-spirited from now on.

        9. Stop being so shallow

        Appearances are almost always deceiving. When we judge a person by what they look like, we are depriving ourselves of getting to know a lot of great people.

        10. Free yourself from blaming anyone for anything

        We need to be responsible for our own lives. Allowing ourselves to play the role of a victim is not empowering. Circumstances are not always favorable, but we always have a choice to change things or remain the same.

        11. Try a new food each week

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        new year resolution food

          Instead of cutting foods out of our diet in the hopes of losing weight, we can add new, interesting foods instead. Adding variety will ultimately limit how much bad foods we eat on a regular basis. Check out rutabagas, plantains, and green garbanzo beans, to name just a few.

          12. Save just a little more

          It’s a scary fact that most Americans don’t have a retirement fund or a substantial amount of money in their savings accounts. A small step can be made to remedy this problem – make automatic investments. When we are paid each pay period, let’s make sure that a portion of our pay is deposited into a savings account and/or retirement fund. When we receive a pay increase or bonus, we can also put that money into your savings. It’s easier to part with the money when it’s automatically taken out and we don’t have to remember or worry about it.

          13. Change your retail therapy habit

          Shopping is difficult to give up for many of us. Instead, we ought to look at where we are spending the most money and limit our shopping trips. When purchasing, go for quality over price. A good quality item lasts longer and will not need to be replaced as frequently. Other ideas that are great include using coupons or discount codes and go thrift and consignment shopping.

          14. Shop locally, eat locally and acknowledge where your money is going

          new year resolution local

            We all vote with our wallet. Because consumers control the economy, it’s important to support businesses in our neighborhoods and surround areas. We can visit our local food co-op for groceries instead of Wal-Mart and shop at boutiques and consignment stores rather than big retail chains.

            15. Start a new routine

            We typically do the same thing every day. Boring! What can you add to your routine to make it new and interesting? It doesn’t have to be something drastic. It can be something as simple as changing the route we drive to work each day or reading five pages of a book each morning after we wake up.

            16. Avoid rabbit holes

            If we wish to have a more productive 2015, we can start by putting away our cellphones and closing the internet browser on our work computers. Most text messages, phone calls, e-mails, and social media can wait. This discipline will get us focused on our important tasks and limit tendency towards procrastination.

            17.Turn off the smartphone

            new year resolution cellphone

              It’s a wise idea to turn off our phones while we are sleeping, while at important meetings, while spending quality time with someone, or when trying to focus on being productive. Our phones are a bigger distraction than we will ever admit to. While we’re play on our phones, life is passing us by.

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              18. Cross something off the bucket list

              If we can do just one new thing each year of our lives from this year until the day we die, we will have lived an extremely fulfilled life. Let’s prepare to climb that mountain to the summit, go skydiving, scuba dive with tropical fish, or mentor an at-risk kid.

              19. Take selfies in interesting places

              It doesn’t have to be a photo in a foreign land to be interesting. Exploring our own city is good enough. This is our chance to get creative. We can post them on Instagram, or just keep them for our own collections.

              20. Learn something new

              new year resolution learn

                If we aren’t already busy learning in school, we could take a continuing education class, join a hobby group, read a college text book, or join the creativelive.com community. Let’s be life-long learners!

                21. Find freedom from the fear of the unknown

                The foggy path will reveal itself one small step at a time. But we have to find the courage to take the first step. Relinquish control. Rest assured that everything always turns out okay in the end.

                22. Quit your job (if you hate it)

                If what we do for a living does not create happiness or give our life a sense of purpose, we can start working on updating our resumes. We can take a risk and apply for a job that sounds really awesome…even if we don’t think there is any way that we could get it the job.

                23. Start journaling

                We all have thoughts, feelings, and things that make us really happy – but so many of us make the mistake of sharing it all on Facebook. The more appropriate thing to do would be to start a journal. It’s private, it’s easy to re-read and reflect, and it doesn’t offer bad, unsolicited advice for our problems.

                24. Cry

                new year resolution cry

                  There is nothing more healing to our soul than letting our emotions out to play once in a while. Strength and growth comes from allowing this to take place. Weakness is locking feelings away.

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                  25. Address depression or mental illness

                  If we’ve been feeling ‘off’ for awhile and every day feels like a struggle, we shouldn’t ignore it. It may be a warning sign. Reach out for help – it’s okay.

                  26. Stop beating yourself up for skipping on exercise

                  It really doesn’t get us anywhere by crippling our self-worth with negative talk for skipping workouts. The more critical we are of ourselves for failing to exercise, the less likely we will be to start working out again. When we do finish a workout, let’s focus on how great it made us feel and praise ourselves instead.

                  27. Trust that struggles and obstacles are part of a plan

                  new year resolution struggle

                    Life isn’t easy – and for good reason. The challenges we have to overcome in life assist us in personal growth. Each experience we have to go through shapes us into a stronger, more resilient human being. Instead of resisting and trying to control the order of life, let’s trust that what we’re going through is part of a bigger plan.

                    28. Speak kindly to yourself

                    Can we try to be our own best friends each day? Let’s give ourselves empowering compliments. The next time we think a negative thought about ourselves, let’s take a moment to think about what our friends would say about us. When we learn to treat and speak to ourselves more kindly, we become better partners too!

                    29. Get to really know yourself

                    What qualities do we show when we are being the best version of ourselves? What about the worst? What brings out the best and worst in us? What can we do to limit situations that bring out not-so-great qualities? We can even take a few personality tests online and see how our character traits are best used for success.

                    30. Realize that you have something the world needs

                    new year resolution awesome

                      There is a gift inside each of us that needs to be shared. Focus on unwrapping the layers within yourself so that you can present it to the world.

                      Featured photo credit: Christina on the top of the world!/David De Clercq via world-adventurer.com

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                      Last Updated on July 20, 2021

                      How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

                      How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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                      You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

                      Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

                      Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

                      Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

                      1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

                      According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

                      “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

                      Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

                      Warming up

                      If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

                      If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

                      Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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                      1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
                      2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
                      3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

                      Stay hydrated

                      Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

                      To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

                      Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

                      Meditate

                      Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

                      Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

                      Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

                      Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

                      2. Focus on your goal

                      One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

                      Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

                      Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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                      Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

                      If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

                      3. Convert negativity to positivity

                      There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

                      ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

                      It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

                      Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

                      Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

                      Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

                      4. Understand your content

                      Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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                      However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

                      “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

                      Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

                      Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

                      One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

                      5. Practice makes perfect

                      Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

                      In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

                      Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

                      6. Be authentic

                      There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

                      Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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                      Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

                      To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

                      With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

                      Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

                      7. Post speech evaluation

                      Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

                      Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

                      We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

                      You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

                      Improve your next speech

                      As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

                      Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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                      • How did I do?
                      • Are there any areas for improvement?
                      • Did I sound or look stressed?
                      • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
                      • Was I saying “um” too often?
                      • How was the flow of the speech?

                      Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

                      If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

                      Reference

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