The new year is around the corner and it always makes me reflect on what is working and what is not in both my business and personal life. Last year I have learned a lot and thought it sharing what I have learned might help someone else. Please keep in mind that I am not an expert and am still a work-in-progress on most of my own suggestions. Here are my twelve tips for having a perfect new year.
1. Try a new hobby. We can fall into stagnant and boring lives by doing the same thing over and over again. A new hobby is a great way to shake your self out of the normal and sometimes set us on a new and even better path. It can also help relieve stress. I speak from experience. I am a science teacher who wanted to learn to paint furniture. If you are thinking, "Boy, I would really like to learn..." Do it. No matter how silly. It might be your next new path.
2. Paint it whatever color YOU want. I am talking about walls, furniture, anything. My personal pet peeve is when people ask me what color they should paint something. Ugh. I am not you. I do not have your tastes. I have not lived your life. I can tell you if it made with redwood and you want an easy way to not have bleed-through from the wood go with a darker color or if you are committed to white use spray shellac, but please, please paint things what you like. Not sure what you like? Then that is a problem. Go on Pinterest. Get tons of ideas. Get inspired. Go to your favorite store and shop and notice the colors they use. Still not sure? Pick one color and just start painting. Get rid of the blank canvas effect. If you hate it, repaint it. It is only paint. Need some more ideas? Check out my post, 3 Tips to Pick the Perfect Paint Color.
My DIY Paint display in my booth at Plaza Antiques & Collectibles Mall in Lincoln Park, MI
3. Follow YOUR style. We all have style even when we don't know it. When you are walking through a store or in my case a thrift store and a crazy patterned bedspread with fringe is just making your heart sing that is your style. (Okay that is my style, but you get my point.) Go with your gut. When you bring it all home you will be amazed at how well things will go together. How is this possible? Because you chose them all and even if you don't realize it you have a color palette you like. You have a taste all your own. I call my style ornate naturalist. I like bold colors and patterns found in nature with a little ornate glitz and glam. What is yours? If you buy what you love it will all blend. Trust me.
4. Splurge a little. I am not talking about a trip to Paris. Well, you could, but start small. For example, I love to have hot oatmeal when I am on vacation with all the dried fruit and walnuts and almonds. I just realized that I could have that every morning at home. Why not? Fancy oatmeal shouldn't just be reserved for vacation. I also have been drooling over a Moroccan lamp fixture for my dining room for over two years and finally bought it for myself as a birthday present. The joy I get from the lamp (and fancy oatmeal) every day just makes me a happier all-around person. Do you want that fancy candle that smells amazing? Do you love a special brand of coffee? Little splurges give you something to look forward to and help you live a happier life.
My Moroccan light
5. If it bugs you FIX IT. In my silverware drawer is an organizer to hold all the knives, forks, and spoons and it was dirty. Every time I opened the drawer it bugged me. Yuck, it is dirty. I really needed to clean it. Then one day I realized all the negativity I experienced from that messy drawer every time I opened it. I stopped making breakfast and took a few moments and cleaned out the organizer. It only took a few minutes and yet every day I spent a ton of time getting upset about how yucky it was. My advice is if it bugs you to stop, fix it, clean it, replace it, or hire someone to help you make it right. Your home needs to be a place where you can destress and be energized. You do not need a silver drawer organizer bringing you down daily
My silverware drawer - all clean.
6. Find your tribe. Find the people that get you and support you. Maybe you will find them in a new hobby. Maybe you need to reconnect with those old friends of yours. Your friends should get you and understand you. They should be excited about your stuff and push you to be your best. I was reminded of this during my latest trip to Zanesville where I met a bunch of other DIY Paint ladies. Many were artists and shop/booth owners just like me. All were excited about what I was excited about. These ladies had the same fears and many had great advice because they had been there. I remember thinking, "These ladies are my kind of people." You should have that.
Creative-U in Zanesville, OH at Girl Upcycled Studio. (Picture courtesy of The Turquoise Iris)
7. Do something scary every day. The best advice I ever heard, especially for business. (I do not remember where I heard it from or I would cite the source, but it was great advice.) I am not talking dangerous, life-threatening scary. I am talking about pushing yourself. Maybe you are afraid to wear heels because you are so tall, but you love heels. Wear heels. Maybe you always wanted to cook a French recipe, but you thought you could never do that. Cook the French recipe. Maybe you want to be a member of your child's school board. Put your name in the ring. Every time you push yourself a little you will realize how more amazing you are and how much more you are capable of. Maybe don't do something every day. Start small. Maybe once a month. You will be amazed by all that you are capable of.
8. Be healthy in small ways. It will all add up. I try to drink a green spinach packed smoothie every morning. At least I know I am getting my healthy greens in at one part of the day. I also take my vitamins. I also am trying to move more and drink water. I am not perfect but I am trying. Each little thing that I can do makes me feel better. Start small. Pick one thing and don't be hard on yourself if you forget or skip it. What one thing can you start? Make it simple and easy.
9. Take time for you. Okay, I am not always good with this one, but I keep trying. Listen to your body. If it wants to binge-watch shows on Netflix for a while do it. You need to recharge and rest once in a while. If you like hot baths take one once a week or more. Reward yourself with getting the grocery shopping done with a hot bath. You need little perks to help feed your soul and keep you happy.
10. Fewer excuses. I was going to write "no excuses", but they will happen, Be real. When you want to be healthy or do something scary try to ignore that little voice in your head. You know the one that tries to talk you out of jumping on elliptical in the morning or eating healthy. When you hear the voice remind yourself it is sabotaging you. That voice is not helping you. On the mornings I work out I have everything set and ready the night before. I sleep in leggings and a top that I can work out in. I put my workout shoes close. I do all this so that I can to outrun that little voice that tells me, "Oh skip a day." "You should have a little more sleep."
11. No negative talk. I am around a lot of creatives and I hear so many of them talk down their skills and talents. If you just touch a paintbrush then you are an artist. Really. Don't make apologies for what you create. Don't say, "Well, I am not that great." We all go through a process. You have begun your process. Celebrate what you have done. Edit out all those negative statements. Admire what you have done. Find beauty. I am guilty of this, too, but I am working on it daily.
12. Enjoy the moments. Usually, the best stuff is the unplanned and free moments that just happen. My daughter and I had the best time on a recent road trip just singing to the soundtrack from Frozen II. Those are the moments to savor and make sure you make time for in your busy year.
All of the tips above are things that I have learned and am actively working on myself. I believe that these are the simple keys to having a great year. I hope that you can find one or two things (or more) that can help you be better in the new year. Wishing you and your family a very Happy New Year!