10 Must-Do Mid-Year Resolutions to Get You Back on Track
We all make New Year's resolutions (for better or worse), and by now we've all broken them — many of us six months ago, in fact. That's why this is the perfect time to get back on track with a few mid-year resolutions. To help you drum up the motivation to improve your life in the thick of summer, here are a few ideas. (See also: 5 Ways to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions)
1. Get Back in the Gym
At the top of everyone's New Year's resolutions list is exercising more and losing weight. It's an admirable goal, but it's totally misplaced. Who wants to start a new workout routine and hit the gym in the dead of winter? Not this guy — and I bet you don't either. There are so many things wrong with this particular resolution at the beginning of the year, but what stands out the most to me is having to take off three layers of clothing just to put them back on an hour later, and fighting over a treadmill because everybody and their brother is trying to shed the pie weight starting January 3.
So cut yourself some lack, don't worry if you hibernated for a while, and hit the gym when the weather's right for it. Start now and stick to it, and you'll go into the holidays a little lighter, allowing you to indulge without beating yourself up about it.
2. Learn to Cook Healthier
I don't know about you, but I eat lighter in the summer. Partly because there's so much fresh produce available, but also because it's just too darn hot to dive into a heavy dish.
If you're a slave to comfort food, take this opportunity to use the abundance of nature's goodies that are available right now and incorporate them into your diet. It's not hard, and it's not expensive either.
For instance, tonight I'm making grilled chicken paired with sauteed grape tomatoes and a side salad. Totally healthy, and it'll take me less than 15 minutes total cooking time from start to finish. You can do this yourself if you stick with a no-fuss menu the entire week: grilled meat (broiler if you don't have a grill), roasted or sauteed veggie, side salad. Those are the essentials, and you can whip these up even if you don't know how to cook that well. Try it and surprise yourself. That's what mid-year resolutions are all about, right?
3. Organize Your Work Life
A lot of companies have summer hours these days — sometimes it's an early closing on Fridays, but in some cases employees get every Friday off from Memorial Day to Labor Day. If you're blessed with the latter, you've got a great job.
Nonetheless, these summer hours are the perfect time to organize your work life — from cleaning your desk to organizing your files to throwing your moldy lunches in the trash and clearing your email inbox. There's no excuse either. Out of the three months' worth of summer hours, you can use two of those off-work hours to get your stuff together. You're not going to the beach every weekend, are you? I didn't think so. There's time to do this. Alas, if you are going to the beach every weekend, you can contact Wise Bread for my address to make sure my invitation gets where it's going.
4. Schedule More Family Time
This is another biggie for New Year's resolutions, but it's hard to implement it and stick to it when the weather is poor. Of course, let's not discount the fact that you've spent several long meals with your family over the holidays, so you may have soured on the idea of "family time" by New Year's Eve.
But this is summertime — the weather is great and you've had a six-month recovery period from the inevitable bickering, one-upping, and general disgust of breaking bread with your brothers, sisters, uncles, and aunts multiple times in a month. Why not invite them over for a cookout, then? People are much more laid back when the sun is shining and they're wearing shorts than they are in the throes of winter. The dynamic of family time is completely different during this time of year — and you might actually enjoy it.
5. Make Home Improvements
There's a small window of opportunity during the winter months when the weather is good enough to make home improvements (at least on the outside), but even if you're a trooper, have you ever smacked your hand with a hammer when it's freezing cold out? If you have, you know what I'm talking about — and there's absolutely no room in my life for that nonsense.
Thus, what I didn't do then, I plan to do now. Join me. Rip off that shirt, put on some sunscreen, and make those home improvements that you've been putting off for far too long.
6. Spend More Time on Yourself
If you're doing the holidays right, you're all about the other people. It's the season of giving, after all. But that can take its toll — especially if you don't get much for it in return. It happens.
Put that out of your mind right now and concentrate on you. You deserve it. Take a private vacation, book a massage, lock yourself in the house for a weekend… do whatever you'd like to do to get back to you. If you have trouble doing that, think about this: The holidays will be here in four months. Remember last year? That should be motivation enough.
7. Adopt a Pet
If you've been thinking about adopting a dog, now is the time to do it. I'm not an expert, but I do have two dogs in New York City that I have to take out for walks at least twice a day. Take it from me, it's much easier trying to potty train a dog in the summertime than it is in the winter. Plus, you'll also get a head start on socializing your new best friend with other dogs since everyone is out and about. By the time winter rolls around, you'll both be settled in with your new life together, which means ample cuddle time when the deep freeze hits.
8. Learn a New Skill
One of the problems people have when making "learn a new skill" a resolution is that they overestimate themselves; they try to learn something that sometimes they're not capable of. Not everybody can do everything, after all. That's why summertime is ideal for learning a new skill because there are a lot of fun "skills" you can learn that are actually achievable. Water skiing, for instance. Or kayaking. Or rock climbing. None of these are ideal during the winter, and they definitely require a level of skill to be proficient. You'll have a great time doing it and squeeze in some exercise, too. No reason not to get started right now.
9. Start Lookin' for Love
There are two reasons why starting a search for a mate is a perfect mid-year resolution opposed to a New Year's resolution: 1) Presumably you look and feel better than you do in the winter — perhaps you've shed a few pounds and your skin is definitely looking fresher; and 2) there's an abundance of get-to-know-you better activities in the summer than there are in the winter. If you've been thinking about getting back in the game, there's never been a better time.
10. Relax: It's Still Summer Time!
While mid-year resolutions are a great way to get back on track, prepare for the coming months, and set yourself up for success, rest assured that the new year is coming. If you can't be bothered with this right now, just relax. You'll have plenty of time to make and break your annual resolutions in just a little while.
Do you have ideas for mid-year resolutions? Let me know in the comments below.
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