Savannah Marie searches for the best restaurants, wildlife and attractions that Harrisburg has to offer.
With the start of the new year, it's natural to take stock of life and look for areas for improvement or new beginnings. However, many people - myself included - make New Year's resolutions about health, happiness and relationships, only to see those commitments fade by February.
So how can we break the cycle of repeatedly dashed New Year's resolutions? Instead of vague, unrealistic goals like "lose weight" or "be happier," we can make simple but satisfying changes throughout the year to achieve our goals. Here are some examples of small lifestyle changes that have a big impact.
The most popular New Year's promises usually have to do with losing weight or healthy living. Instead of focusing on the scale, make small changes to the way you eat or shop for food. Be honest with yourself and identify areas of improvement. If eating out is more common than eating in, commit to going out for dinner only once a week. Instead of trying to revamp your entire diet, promise to cut out fried foods. These singular small changes will build momentum for more healthy decisions later.
Taking down the glowing, cozy Christmas decorations can make a home seem empty and bare, as well as draw attention to those areas you've always wanted to change. An extreme home makeover probably isn't within budget, and who has time for that?
A few tweaks to decor, rather than a total makeover, can achieve a new look without much time or money. Designer wall decals are affordable and can be changed seasonally. Switching out the accents in a room - think throw pillows, lamps and wall art - can create a new look without a large price tag.
"I'll be happier in 2015." That resolution is so vague and undefined that it sets us up for sure failure. Instead, spend time in quiet thought, meditation or prayer thinking about the things in life that cause you the most stress and anxiety. How can those specific obstacles to happiness be addressed?
If the dissatisfaction comes from work, commit to attending professional development classes, schedule a time to talk with your boss about changes to your responsibilities or make the leap and start a job search. If the unhappiness comes from feeling jealousy or envy about what others have or do, start a gratefulness journal in which you write down at least one thing every day for which you are thankful. You'll be on your way to happiness in no time.
One of the greatest obstacles to happiness is money. Worries about money. Fights with the family about money. Anxiety about if we'll have enough or jealousy that others have more. However, saying "I'll be better with money in 2015" is one of those goals that is so vague it is unattainable.
Have you ever sat down and worked out a budget? Thanks to new programs like Mint, it's never been easier. Instead of facing the daunting task of filling out spreadsheets and number-crunching on your own, Mint walks users through the process in a visual and easy-to-understand way. Set goals for yourself like "pay off student loans" and Mint will help you achieve it.
Perhaps the most rewarding and satisfying parts of our lives are the people we share it with. They can also be the most frustrating. If one relationship in particular causes friction, maybe a sister or father-in-law, promise that you will try to do something to further that relationship once a month. Invite them over for coffee, include them in the kids' activities or send a note with an update.
However, not all relationships are salvageable. If there is an on-again, off-again love interest or an overbearing mother-in-law in your life, now may be the time to distance yourself from negative influences so that you can focus more on yourself and your other relationships.
As you can see, seemingly small behavioral modifications can make a big difference to your health, home and outlook. By focusing on simple but satisfying life changes instead of vague or grand statements, 2015 can be your best year yet.