2013 New Year Resolutions

2013 NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS

Yes, I know this is cliche and it gets old quickly, almost as quickly as the resolutions are broken.  However, I think I have a handle on it now. Rather than say “lose weight, spend less money, call an old friend, visit an old relative” etc… I think I an definitely tackle and keep these resolutions this year.  Lots of these are just based on common sense and regarding my own personal lifestyle, and I know from experience, its the way to go.

1. Throw away things no longer needed and donate things others can use:  I don’t need my cell phone bills or credit card statements from the previous century or even decade.  Sure, I am afraid to throw them out because they contain personal information, but the fact is, those credit card numbers can’t be used and/or attached to my name, since they are so far long expired.  I will attempt to burn or shred them, otherwise, I just need to throw them out.  All those computer cords of outdated equipment, drinking glasses, coffee mugs and shirts I thought were cool?  Well, if I can use them, I will donate them to a local church, veterans and/or Salvation Army type organization.

2.  Eat more vegetables and less meat as a main course:  Honestly, I never really ate a lot of meat.  I loved fish, pasta, but too much fish means increase in mercury intake, and too much pasta or bread or even white rice is not good either.  Lots of grilled vegetables and salads can fill you up just as much and also be satisfying. This isn’t even a health issue, but a financial one.  With the price of select cuts of meat over $10/lb, why wouldn’t I just go to a diner or restaurant and get the same meal only have it served and with 2 sides of vegetables?  They get it cheaper, and they can serve it cheaper, and even with service and tip, its still the same price, or cheaper, for a bachelor like myself.

3. Cook more, and learn to save/freeze the portions I don’t cook/eat: I love to cook.  I saw a great cooking show on PBS today for pot roast.  I never make pot roast because it feeds enough for at least 4 people, but since I am single, thats 2 portions that might go to waste since I don’t really like leftovers.  I have to find a way to divide the portions, share them and/or re-use them in a new, different dish, even if I have to freeze the piece of meat.

4. Credit Cards for EMERGENCY ONLY: If I don’t have the money in the bank, I am not going to buy it.  I will use cash or a debit card.  If the car breaks down and I don’t have the money, only then will I use a credit card.  Sure, I want a new TV for the den, a new coffee and espresso maker and even equipment to make my own wine next year. But, I am only going to do it if I have the money saved.  I am tired of giving it to the bank.  If its something that I must have/must use for work breaks and need to replace it, then I might have to use a credit card, rather than sacrifice income.  Otherwise, even when traveling, I will use cash or debit card.  Using plastic I have found does NOT give me consumer protection.  I no longer carry/pay American Express $100/year for their “rewards” and “consumer protection” when one of their merchants KNOWN to be a fraudulent merchant used my credit card on record to charge me 6-7 times over the course of 2 months to the tune of $2,000 in cheeseburgers.  Yes, I disputed the charges, but why did I have to call and have the same fight every month with AMEX? When in my 20 year history did I ever spend $2,000 in one month on food, let alone cheeseburgers from the same place?  It made my life hell for 5 months to clear up, and they attempted to charge me late fees.  Next time, I pay cash, and there is no credit card number for them to steal to keep charging week after week.

5.  Eliminate negativity and/or people who are toxic:  We all get in bad moods, have a bad day, and there is tons to be depressed about these days, but there is so much we still have to be grateful for.  Those people who spew venom at everything from the government on down need to be avoided anywhere and everywhere possible.  Its hard when you work with these people, but you always have the choice to nod and/or listen but not comment or feed into their negativity.  Those who are friends (no matter how old or long), and are bringing you down, you just need to stray away from them.  No, not abandon them, but put them on the back shelf until they work out whatever it they need to work out if they cannot benefit from your friendly and positive advice/support.  Miserly loves company, don’t give it company.  For every downsided situation, find the positive, move on.

6. Stop Wasting: There is a lot of “greenwashing” going on about how we need to conserve and buy products that are “green”.  However, let’s start with the basics.  Those jars you have, use them for leftovers, same as those plastic containers you got from takeout.  Don’t discard, don’t even recycle, wash, reuse and store anything and everything from rice to pasta to leftover soup rather than discard the food or the container.  Stale bread?  Make french toast; chop into squares and add to tomato salad and/or make croutons for soups or salads.  Turn that mini-fridge off in the guest bedroom; turn off that water cooler in the winter when you don’t need ice cold water;  turn off the icemaker in the freezer in the winter; turn off the lights you don’t use; use lightbulbs with lower wattage; those water bottles you drink from? Wash and refill with fresh water, stop spending money on travel bottles of water and refill with spring water from the larger jugs.  Lastly, buy a thermostat for your home that you can control from your smart home.  This way, when you are not home, you can turn the heat down, and turn it up 2 hours before you get home from your iPhone so you are still comfortable while not wasting energy (and money).

7. Be nice:  So much of this world has become so selfish and nasty.  So why not be nice.   Hold the door open for the person behind you even if they are only 20′ away.  Yield to cars on side streets that have large SUVs parked on both sides where only on vehicle can get through.  Remember, a lot of these favors might never be repaid, but you are starting a trend we hope will catch on.

8. Be considerate in public:  Put your cell phone on vibrate whether it be the office, church, restaurant, place of worship, even the mall.  Why shouldn’t your phone be on vibrate all the time?  You can still hear it, why does EVERYONE need to hear it?  Can’t hear it vibrate at night when you go to sleep? Then put it on ring, for whoever might call you while you are sleeping.  Especially while at dinner with a friend or with family, turn it off or put it on vibrate. Nothing is so urgent that it can’t wait 15 minutes for you to respond, if it is, they should call 911 emergency services instead.

9. Take alone time each day: Whether its an hour , 2 or even 3 hours.  Take time out for you, from work, even form family or a relationship to go walking, sit in a park, or in a chair reading a book with the phone off.  I like to go for a 1.5 mile walk.  Sure, I take the phone with me, but I need to clear my head, all calls go to voicemail, and at dinner time, I turn the phone off so I can relax, cook, eat dinner, watch some TV then turn the phone back on.

10. Take your vacation:  If you are fortunate to get vacation time, TAKE IT! If not, TAKE IT.  The world and work will be there when you return.  Everyone needs to recharge and even if its 4-5 days away from work to clear/cleanse your mind, take it. You are not doing your employer or yourself or your family any favors by working without taking a break.  Your family will suffer from your absence; your employer will not learn how to cope without you for a week; you will not get more satisfaction from working than taking that deserved vacation; and some people will actually appreciate your NOT being around for a week.  Its a win-win situation all the way around.  Reduce stress, let go, go on vacation.  If you feel your job is in jeopardy, just don’t go away for too long, take 2 short vacations instead of one long 2-week vacations.

BONUS RESOLUTIONS:

11. Drink less:  Whether it be coffee, soda, wine, beer or cocktails, have one less per day, and that $2-5 at the end of the month will save you $30 or more so you can eat out, help fill your gas tank, help buy those foods not in the budget from the grocery store, or even help you put toward savings for a vacation.  $400 at the end of the year is, at the very least, a weekend getaway if you just curb your beverage consumption just a tiny bit?  If water gets boring, add lemon or lime.

12.  Walk more: Too cold? Too Hot?  Make it a point to walk around your local mall 2-3 times each day if you can’t do it in your own neighborhood.  Burn the calories, get the exercise, just avoid the food court or sales.

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