December 30, 2011

New Year Resolutions: Read, Travel, Be Good

I love how right before the New Year's Eve every media outlet starts to reflect on the past year, talking about "the best photos of 2011", "the best events that changed the world 2011", "the best technology of 2011", "the best fashion trends 2011" and so on. Everyone seems to be reflecting on the ending year of 2011 and making predictions and wishes for 2012. This includes, of course, New Year's resolutions - a traditional list of things to do and accomplish in the new year - especially popular to do in USA.

Growing up in a different country, we didn't make those lists. Yes, we reflected, remembered and talked about certain accomplishments and wishes for the new year, but they were not lists. Not in every country people make lists. Personally, I don't make lists. I don't believe in lists. I call them 'mental notes' - I make 'mental notes'... I believe in living one day at a time and just be better at it at the most of my capabilities. In my own experience, setting a goal tends to usually put too much pressure on fulfilling it. However, that's said, I do have a few wishes for myself.

Here's my unofficial 'list'...

5 books I want to read in the next year:

The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - because I absolutely loved his The Shadow Of The Wind (amazing story-teller!)

Snuff (S.N.U.F.F.) by Viktor Pelevine - this author writes about time and age so familiar to me.

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner - I'm seriously about five years late to read this book.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - I've been wanting to read this book that brought Marquez his Noble Prize in 1982 forever now, and I'm ashamed that I haven't read it yet. 2012 would change it!

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex by John Gray - yes, shameful to admit to all my girlfriends, I still haven't read this 'ultimate classic to understanding the differences between men and women' book! I promise, I will read it in 2012!

And just overall - I want to try to read more books next year, because I've been so consumed with all the press that concerns my profession and hobbies that I've been putting aside quite a few amazing books. I also want to re-read John Updike, something tells me that I'd rediscover many new nuances that I haven't noticed before...For the same reason it probably makes sense to re-read Fyodr Dostoyevsky, but winter time is not the best season to do so.

4 places I want to visit next year: 

1. Revisit London (I've been to London before - it was a tour-bus trip my parents and I took, while living in Germany in 1994, which means - I had no alone time to experience London, neither I experienced it as an adult woman...) The time has arrived to revisit it, especially now that I have a few friends living there...
2. Thailand - I've been wanting to go to Thailand for the past five years and kept postponing it due to many factors like: my ongoing obsession for Paris/France, which I visited at least five times in the past 10 years, and the absence of a travel buddy who would make the trip for all it's worth it!
3. Brazil - Rio de Janero has been calling my name...
4. Prague - this locale I've been postponing due to the fact that I keep hearing from my friends that it's one of the most romantic cities in the world and that it's no point to visit it alone, friends and/or with a family. It's got to be with someone special...So, once I find that one 'special', I'm booking my seat on the Czech Airlines!

4 goals I’m currently working on:
1. To become a better professional in my profession - I love what I do because it always evolves, every day something new comes up in the field of social media...
2. To become a better photographer - now that I have my new camera (Thanks Santa!), Canon T3i, I want to master it!
3. To become a better daughter - there's always room to improve in the ways you treat your family...
4. To be better at health and fitness - I'm slowly succumbing to the idea that it's no longer pleasant to run and work out outside (the winter has arrived!) and that it's time to sign up for a gym...

Every end of the year, I try to answer a question - what is my proudest achievement(s) to date? 

This year, I'd say - finally braving myself to give up certain life comfort and professional standing to move back to the city I love so much, New York City AND getting the job I really wanted and love! Also -  having financial independence and certain financial freedom. Sounds silly but nothing made me happier than graduating college and being able to stand on my own two feet 100%. I have my parents to thank for that – they made sure I understood that making it in the world was up to me. I also consider my 'victories' to date - [for very different reasons and ways I've achieved them] - my involvement with the charities, new great friends and my cat...

My cat from Moscow, Russia...
Thank you 2011 for great new friends who feel more as 'old' than 'new' friends now...

It's never easy to admit to yourself, what you were bad at in the last year, and - what you were good at (depending on your level of modesty)...But here are 5 Keys to Making and Keeping Your New Year Resolutions.

So your goals may be to finally give up a bad habit, lose a little weight, broaden your intellectual horizon, or even commit to be more generous. Whatever your resolutions for a new year are, here are a few keys that will help you be successful in making and keeping them.

1. Define the Win - be specific at what you want to achieve. Don't just say, I want to loose weight, tell yourself - I want to loose 20 pounds by Thanksgiving...

2. Make smaller goals along the way and celebrate when you’ve reached them. 

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Things like quitting smoking and/or loosing weight might require help from the others, be it health specialists and/or close friends.

4. Make the goal with a friend or group of friends. This one is tough for me, personally, because I like 'achieving' my goals independently. However, for many people out there, it helps to have someone who both supports their goals and/or have similar ones. (I do prefer to work out at a gym by myself though, unless it's an aerobics class...)

5. Evaluate your results. Set an end date and set aside time to evaluate how you did throughout the year towards your goal. Take the time to measure how far you have come.

Happy 2012 Year to you!

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