We’re just over a week into the New Year and nearly everyone I know has broken at least one resolution, if not all of them. Which can be either extremely depressing or extremely empowering depending on how you look at it.
It can be an incredible amount of pressure to set one calendar date each year and hope to eliminate all of your faults and foibles while simultaneously embracing only the positive. Instead, I’ve decided to be gentler on myself this year. Sure, I’d like to work out more and eat healthier and spend less time on social media and… well… you get the picture. But instead of trying and failing to change all of my bad habits at once, I’m going to try to ease into the good ones instead.
I offer you my partial list of examples of smarter resolutions:
1. Monetize the Clutter: I’m not going to pretend to know just how many pairs of black shoes I have (way too many). But I do know that I really want to reclaim some of my closet space. So instead of waiting until spring to clear things out, I’m going to take a different tactic this year. Along with the pile of clothing that I’m going to give away to either friends or donate to charity, I’m going to get rid of some of the things that I’ve never worn but feel too guilty to get rid of. I love the idea of online consignment shop ThredUp.com. It’s a pretty simple process: order a postage-paid bag and fill it with only clothing that still has tags or looks barely worn. You’ll be paid for your stuff as soon as it’s received. And you can use the credit you receive to shop for an incredible selection of designer clothing and basics. I used a gift certificate for the site to buy a Dana Buchman jacket—with the original price tag of $328.00 still on it—for only $46.00.
2. Smarter Slacking: If you spend way too much time playing Candy Crush, perhaps now is the time to find a way to combine it with something beneficial? I’ve been reading a lot about people who are switching to stand up desks or who have treadmill desks so that they’re moving while working. I’m trying to use my FitDesk (a cool hybrid desk/compact exercise bike) while answering email. So perhaps instead of just diving into the cute kitten pictures on Tumblr or catching up with the latest food pics on Facebook, you can set a timer for yourself to use the exercise bike or treadmill while catching up on your guiltiest pleasures.
3. Find Indulgent Ways to Escape the Ordinary: Over the past few years there’s been a movement toward “staycations”: stay-at-home vacations. And I love the idea of finding ways to pamper yourself at home. But sometimes a bubble bath or mug full of tea doesn’t feel like enough. And if you can’t go on a full-fledged vacation but need to escape, it’s a fun idea to try to find something that transports you on another level. I recently experienced the Turkish Hammam treatment at the Spa at Trump Soho in NYC, and it truly felt like being immersed in another culture. In a nutshell, I stripped down to paper skivvies and was led into a gorgeous, intricately tiled room with a giant heated marble slab in the center. By turns I was slathered with extremely hot water, then exfoliated, then doused with thousands of teeny tiny bubbles that were sifted through a specially prepared cloth pillowcase (for lack of a better word). I wish that I had proper words to describe the sensation of having my entire body (except for my head) smothered in bubbles. I felt weightless and really weird and it was hard to concentrate on anything other than feeling amazing. Then I flipped over and the process was repeated on my front. Then there was more hot water and then ice cold water to regulate my body temperature. I screamed, I laughed, I forgot where I was, and—more than that—I forgot all of my problems for a few hours. While it isn’t a cheap treatment, it was a fraction of the price of a vacation. It was also impossible to concentrate on anything other than feeling amazing. Most of us work really hard and can’t just hop on a plane to escape our troubles. But I’m making a vow to discover more international experiences closer to home. Whether it’s a ramen burger or unusual spa treatment, I’d like to add a bit of the exotic to my ordinary days.
4. Hibernation Liberation: Much of the country is going through an incredible cold snap. Which means that not only is it harder to get out and exercise, it’s a lot easier to sneak into the kitchen for a snack. I haven’t made any strong and fast fitness commitments this year; I simply want to move more than I do now. So I’ve been trying to take the stairs instead of the elevator, and setting really small immediate goals. Five minutes of exercise to combat each hour spent sitting feels doable instead of overwhelming. It isn’t a triathlon, but it’s something tangible and hopefully achievable. I’m also trying to come up with a music playlist that makes me feel like moving instead of climbing back under the covers until spring.
And here’s where I have a pretty amazing announcement: since I love doing giveaways, and I figured that everyone needs a lift, I’ve partnered with Bowflex on giving away their newest product—the red-hot Bowflex MAX Trainer M5, with an approximate value of $1,599. How cool is that? Get the full details on how to enter here.
Rachel Weingarten is a noted and quoted style expert and former celebrity makeup artist. She’s the style director of becausestyle.com, author of Career and Corporate Cool and Hello Gorgeous! Beauty Products in America ’40s-’60s, and the forthcoming Ancient Prayer: Channeling Your Faith 365 Days of the Year. Tweet with her @rachelcw or like her new page on Facebook for exclusive giveaways and content. Need help style stalking your favorite celebrity looks? Write to Rachel at [email protected]