Start the New Year off Right

Two Young Women in Front of the Computer TalkingWhile it’s tempting to use the start of a new year to make lots of plans and resolutions, this approach is often doomed to disappointment. By February you are no longer going to the gym once a week, let alone three times, and those healthful meals you planned have given way to fast food at least once a week. So what can you do to celebrate 2015 that you can actually accomplish? Here are a few suggestions.

Take care of the little things. Do you find yourself frustrated because you can’t find anything in your kitchen junk drawer or you are tired of tripping over the boxes of giveaway items you haven’t taken the time to bring to your favorite charity? Those small unfinished projects can bother you several times a day but hardly seem worth the time to complete. However over time getting those projects off your to-do list frees up time and space and reduces stress. Plan to finish one lingering little project a week. You may find you have more time and energy for the more important things.

Change one thing for the better. Maybe it’s eating an apple a day, or walking up the stairs instead of taking the elevator one day a week. You might consider switching sodas for water or serving your family fruit for dessert several times a week. You may want to make major changes, but one simple change is easier to make a part of your life. You can always add other changes later.

Speak with kindness. Like someone’s hair or blouse? Tell them. Say thank you for unexpected consideration from others. Write Thank-you notes. It’s easy to get caught up in your day, ignoring the thoughtful gestures of other people. Pay attention. Did your daughter clean her room, or your son take out the garbage without being prompted? Recognize these small efforts with a compliment or some acknowledgement.

So let go of the big resolutions and plans for 2015. Instead, commit to gradual and easy changes that you can accomplish. And have a lovely new year.


Set Resolutions for your Home in the New Year

10254941_SWhen you consider resolutions for the New Year, how about making some for your home?

Most people have things that they want to fix, change or add to their homes, so you could make 2014 the year that some of those dreams turn into reality. Here are a few examples.

Small maintenance tasks: A dripping faucet, weeds in the yard or even light bulbs that are burned out are easy to ignore but can be a constant irritant. Plan a day to fix those little frustrations that always seem to be postponed. Getting those done will make your home more relaxing.

Safety checks: Have you replaced the batteries in your smoke alarms? Do you have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen? How about a complete first-aid kit? Are some rugs or cords tripping hazards? It won’t take long to make sure your home is as safe as you can make it. You can find tips for keeping your home hazard free on the Internet.

Organization: Don’t feel obliged to get the entire house whipped into shape. Instead focus on a few areas that are particularly challenging. Maybe you empty and sort-out your junk drawer, or get your gardening tools organized in the garage. It could be time to dispose of all of those old cleansers and unsatisfactory cleaning products under the sink that you never use. Every place you make more functional will add to your pleasure in your home.

Special touches: Have you wanted to add scented candles to your guest bathroom? Maybe one wall is begging for some art. Pick out one or two areas that feel unfinished in your home and resolve to add those items that will make it look and feel the way you want.

If you include your home in your resolutions for 2014, your home will see improvement and you will find yourself happier living there.

Set Resolutions You Can Keep

5501054_SSome people make the same resolutions year after year, never sticking to them after the first week or so. If you visit a gym in January, for example, it is crowded with people vowing to get into shape. By March, at least half of them are gone.

If you want to make resolutions this year that you can keep, here are some suggestions to help you on your way.

Prioritize: Every one of the resolutions on the list above involves a big lifestyle change. No one can make that many changes all at once. So choose just one or two areas of your life that you want to improve.

Be specific: Instead of just saying, “Eat Healthy,” resolve to eat a salad for at least three lunches a week. In place of “Get a better job,” decide to update your resume. These are manageable and measurable goals.

Make a plan: If you want to start exercising, take a look at your schedule to determine where you can make the time. Consider working with a personal trainer to kick-start your efforts. Find a friend or two who want to add walking to their days and set up a walking group. The more steps you lay out the easier it is to get started.

Include rewards: Everyone can be more committed to making a change if a good bribe is involved. If you want that Kate Spade handbag, a day at a spa, or a haircut from the new expensive salon, or maybe just a Saturday afternoon with a good book, build in treats when you meet your goals.

Don’t limit resolutions to January 1st. Any time is a good time to make changes to improve your life. Start with one or two now and add others later. You can accomplish a lot one step at a time.

Create Luck in 2013 with these Traditions

Many people know about eating black-eyed peas for luck on New Year’s Day, and in the U.S. we often toast with champagne and kiss each other as the clock hits midnight. But there are a number of other traditions across the world to celebrate the coming of the New Year. Here are a few fun ones.

Lucky yellow: In a number of countries in Latin America, it’s seen as lucky to wear yellow underwear. Some say that if you receive it as a gift it’s even luckier. Could this story have been spread by underwear manufacturers?

Bang the walls with…bread? Some people in Ireland will hit walls and doors with a loaf of Christmas bread at midnight. This is said to bring abundance during the New Year. It’s also supposed to scare away evil spirits, but I don’t think they would be afraid of bread!

Take your luggage for a walk: In Columbia and Mexico some people believe that if you carry a suitcase around the block at midnight, you ensure that the next year will be filled with travel and adventure. The suitcase can be empty, so maybe the adventure will involve losing your luggage?

Chair leaping and dish throwing: Danes celebrate the coming of a new year by leaping off furniture. They also throw china plates at the doors of their friends – breaking them to ensure good luck. The people with the most broken crockery are seen as having many friends. They’d also better have a large dustpan and sturdy broom!

However you celebrate the coming of the New Year, here at Fulton we hope 2013 is a wonderful year for you and your family!