Let’s resolve to rid our lives of what doesn’t serve us well, and embrace some simple enhancements.
DETOX YOUR HOME
It isn’t as easy as picking up a green juice—no, deep cleaning is in order here. No matter how neat you are, there are corners (and drawers, and even rooms) that get neglected by everyone but the dust bunnies. Hire some help, or set a goal to complete several tasks each day for a week, because this is not a job for one afternoon. Some common candidates for deep cleaning are the basement, garage, freezer, deck, attic, gutters, home office, and anywhere else that you know you’ve been avoiding. In fact, we can think of several places as we write these words—so, roll up your sleeves, grab a helper, and get to it, because your home environment has a huge impact on your attitude, productivity, and ability to feel at peace in what should be a healthy haven for you and your family.
There are a few things we use so often we sometimes fail to notice when they’re worn out or need to be exchanged.
BEDROOM: Your mattress should be renewed at least every eight years, and pillows even more frequently. Fresh sheets and mattress pads can make it feel like you have a whole new bed.
KITCHEN: Old cutting boards can harbor bacteria in the deep grooves, as can dish racks. Replace these annually, along with dish towels.
BATH: New bath mats and towels can give your bathroom a different look without having to reach for a bucket of paint.
LIVING ROOM: Furniture is made to endure, but most of the little accessories aren’t supposed to last a lifetime.
Do this at your own pace and budget, and know that you may be the only one in the house who appreciates or even notices the tiny changes. But that’s okay—you deserve it.
LET GO OF CLUTTER
While you’re cleaning the garage or the coat closet, take the opportunity to organize. All the stuff that accumulates only to be forgotten and unused is just a waste of space and resources. If you haven’t used it in the past two years, it’s time to say goodbye. This is a great time for a Goodwill run or a yard sale. The more you can clear out of your past, the more room you’ll have for wonderful new things that you want or need. It’ll welcome in a burst of positive energy to your home, too.
We call it the past for a reason—we are supposed to leave it there. While it can be tempting to hold onto a grudge, a bad experience, a breakup, a loss, or another of life’s inevitable shakeups, this negative energy will do nothing but attract more of the same. Take a moment alone to say aloud what’s upsetting you, even scream it out if you have to. In some cases, you may need to talk to someone about something that’s come between you. This is the time to do it. Have a meltdown moment, and then move on.
INVITE A VEGETABLE TO DINNER
When you shop for groceries, look for a piece of produce that you haven’t tried or want to give a second chance. Your childhood distaste for artichokes might be a thing of the past if you try them in a new and interesting recipe. Pick up a bunch of broccoli rabe, or conquer your fear of fennel. Toss a head of romesco into your cart, and bag up that hunk of jicama peering out at you from behind the mist. Cooking with new vegetables will not only broaden your culinary horizons, but also provide your body with a unique collection of nutrients that can’t be replicated in processed foods.
COMMIT TO YOUR CAREER
Think about all the positive things in your job. Skills, technologies, teamwork, projects, and anything that you’ve learned from being there are all valuable lessons. Convince yourself to be the best at whatever you do, because when you do your work to the best of your ability, it will make you a stronger person. There is nothing courageous about griping, water cooler gossip, or taking advantage of your position. Keep your performance up and your conduct aboveboard, so you can go home at the end of the day with your head high and be honestly proud of your contribution to the workplace. Take opportunities for more responsibility when they arise. In being great at what you do, you’ll likely make yourself irreplaceable and appreciated.
TAKE SOME CLOSET TIME
That’s right, just you and your closet, one-on-one. Yes, we all have a section of two-sizes-too-small clothing from our past, another section of just-barely-can’t-fit-in-it pieces that we still dream of wearing one day, and the realistic section of a few classic outfits we dutifully don like a uniform. The goal of shopping shouldn’t be a guilt-trip to squeeze into styles of the past—it should be to find what suits your body and makes you comfortable with your appearance. Likewise, things that have fallen out of fashion or wouldn’t fit your current style are just taking up valuable real estate on the rack. When in doubt, try it on. If something makes you smile back at your reflection, it’s in. If it isn’t doing anything for you, donate it.