by Lisette Mejia)
*Blogger's note: I am throwing in a comment at the end, I will put it in Italics so you know it is me. Just wanted you to know this was not in the original article. Also I just posted about making resolutions for the New Year. These are great and easy!
Let's be honest: not all of us have the time, money, or motivation to join a gym or volunteer on a regular basis like we'd like to. But that doesn't mean we can't make meaningful resolutions in the New Year and stick to them. Indeed, we might have better chances of doing good if we start small than if we put ourselves up to an unrealistic challenge. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Send handwritten notes: There's something really meaningful about receiving a handwritten note just because, and that's even truer in today's tech-centric world. Whether you do it once a month or more often, put a smile on someone's face by sending them a card to say hi and that you're thinking about them. I will write my friends and tell them about the books that I have read. I actually have a friend who has no computer!
Donate spare change: Know all that spare change that's collecting dust in a jar on your desk? Gather it up every once in a while and commit to donating it to others. That can mean giving money to a charity or treating your friend to lunch — either way, you'll be helping someone else out. Try to save money for a charity that involves books.
Say "thank you": Sure, most of us say thank you on a regular basis and think of it as a given part of our day. But there are times when we can make the extra effort to show our appreciation, even if it means going out of our way. For example, we don't often think of leaving a note for the office cleaning lady who empties out our trash every day, but we can certainly start. I hope to say thank you when the clerk tells me to have a nice day when I go to Barnes & Noble with my two $25.00 gift certificates I got for Christmas.
Use fewer plastic bags: They might be convenient when we go to the corner store, but the negative effects of plastic bags on the environment outweigh their benefits. Keep reusable bags in the car, in your purse, or stored next to your coupons so you remember to grab them the next time you go grocery shopping. When you buy your books, bring a fabric bag!
Be grateful: If we could all count a couple of reasons why we're grateful just once a day, it would make a world of difference in our outlook. Aside from being thankful for having basic necessities like a home, it's important to appreciate the little things in life, like having a close friend who lives nearby. Be grateful for your books of course. And be grateful that you know how to read. A lot of people are illiterate.
Put the phone away: OK, it would be impossible to hide your phone all the time, but make a conscious effort to keep it away when it matters most. Dinner with the family? Getting to know someone you just met? Focus on the people in front of you; you can always check your email later. Put it next to your favorite book so you remember where you put it!
Clean your inbox: At the end of every day (or at least every week), take just a few minutes to delete the messages that you don't need anymore. If you do this on a regular basis, you'll feel much better every morning about starting your day with a clean slate. Go through all your book blog emails and if you are on book mailing lists make sure you clean them up. New year starting and new newsletters and blogs to come in. If it has been a long time, maybe think about deleting older emails.
Make instead of buy: Most of us often buy food and drinks we could easily make ourselves. Do coffee and salads come to mind? By making these yourself, you'll not only save money, but it will most likely be a healthier alternative. You cannot make a book. You can try to write one..give it a shot! There are tons of places I am finding on the website that give a prize to a person or people who write short stories or novellas.
Spend 10 minutes a day outside: It's hard to realize, but between work and home life, some of us might not even spend more than 10 minutes a day outside. Make it a point to go for a walk or sit at a park bench reading from a book. Your emotional health will thank you. I was just talking to my husband about this today. This year I am going to sit out on our patio with a book.
Make an appointment: When was the last time you visited a doctor or a dentist for a routine checkup? Many of us either dread it or only go when a pressing issue comes up. Even if this is something you only do once this year, pick up the phone and set a date. Knowing your health is in a good shape or where you can improve is priceless. This is serious. As an RN, it is better to catch things early. If I missed all of my endocrinologist appointments, they would not have found the cancer at its early stage. But bring a book because some doctors make you wait forever!