Five Famously Unsuccessful New Year’s Resolutions, and Some Attainable Alternatives

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In honour of the dawn of 2015 (which I realise was over three weeks ago, but as long as we’re in January I feel this is still relevant) I did a little google search to find out what some of the most frequently unsuccessful New Year’s resolutions are. The results were unsurprising, so I decided to share my thoughts on why these resolutions usually end in failure. Below are five of the most famously unsuccessful New Year’s resolutions, plus some more effective (and attainable) alternatives:

1. Lose Weight

Is there a more pointless and consistently unsuccessful resolution in existence? Resolving to lose weight is a one-way ticket to self-loathing (ETA January 6th). Spoiler alert: being thinner won’t automatically make you happier, healthier or more successful. It’ll just make you thinner. What will make you happier, healthier and more successful is to learn to accept yourself exactly as you are right now.

Alternative: I resolve to respect and appreciate my body regardless of its shape and size.

2. Get Organised

Although I love the concept of becoming a more organized human being, this resolution is just too vague to ever be successful. Additionally, we need to remember that individual personalities thrive in different environments – what constitutes organization for one person may look like absolute chaos to another. Define what organization means to you, and the steps that’ll get you there.

Alternative: I resolve to always fold and pack my clothes away as soon as they are clean and dry.

3. Spend Less, Save More

This is an admirable goal, but without a more specific plan of action, it’s not likely to be realised. Take a critical look at your spending habits, and find an area where you can realistically cut back. Have a plan for the money you’ll save.

Alternative: I resolve to cut out one costly habit (smoking, drinking, daily latte, etc.), and to put the money I would’ve spent on said habit into a savings account. This money will go towards my child’s college fund.

4. Get Fit and Healthy

I believe that one of the main reasons why most resolutions fail is because they focus on the desired results rather than the necessary steps that will lead to those results. Rather than making a vague pledge to get healthy, choose to cultivate one habit that’ll have a positive impact on your health.

Alternative: I resolve to go for at least one half-hour walk outside every week.

5. Enjoy Life to the Fullest

Everyone wants to enjoy life more, but making an ambiguous resolution like this really isn’t the way to get there. Think about what changes you need to make in order to have a more joyful experience on this earth, and commit to practicing one consistently in the coming year.

Alternative: I resolve to keep a journal listing one thing I am grateful for every single day for the coming year.

I hope you all have a wonderful, prosperous 2015, and that you achieve all your goals for the coming year!

What are your New Year’s resolutions? Share in the comments!

I Want YOU To Be In My Next Music Video!

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Starting Today Music Video

Starting Today is a song I wrote for as a wedding gift for two friends of mine. Now I want YOU to be a part of the official lyric video! First, take a listen to the song:

Want to feature in the video? Here’s how!

If you want the chance to appear in the video, there are two ways to get involved:

1. Email your favourite wedding photo to bookings@malikorsten.com

OR

2. Post your favourite wedding photo to Instagram with the hashtag #StartingTodayMusicVideo

All entries must be submitted by 28th February 2015. Please include contact details for your photographer, so that I can get their permission.

I’ve already received some beautiful pictures, and can’t wait to see yours!

Got questions? Post them in the comments!

Photo by Andre Pretorius.

My Favourite Things From Around The Web This Week (8th-14th September)

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It’s been a busy week here at Korsten HQ, but not too busy to spend spend some hours browsing l’internet. Here are the posts that stuck with me:

1. How to Write a Book: 5-Draft Method by Jeff Goins (Goins, Writer). Jeff Goins’ blog is an invaluable resource for writers – especially those who are choosing to be proactive in building their writing careers. If you want to write a book but don’t know how to see the process through to completion, this post is for you!

2. When We Come Alive by Jon Foreman (Huffington Post). It’s no secret that I’m pretty crazy about everything that this man writes. His blogposts, like his songs, never fail to be insightful, thought-provoking and poetic. This article raises the question of what it means to be truly alive. If you love wrestling with existential issues, you’ll love this post.

3. Love People, Not Things by Joshua Becker (Becoming Minimalist). There is so much truth contained in this post. I recommend it to anyone and everyone who needs a reminder as to what it really means to love selflessly (and if you’re already clear on that but could do with some encouragement, I recommend it to you, too!).

So there you have it – my favourite things from around the web this week! It’s not a very long list, but I think you’ll agree that quality is more important quantity!

 

Photo courtesy of duncan c on Flickr.

Word-Loving Wednesday: Invective

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On Wednesdays, I show some love to relatively unknown, underused or under-appreciated words. This week’s word is:

Invective

(Noun)

Definition:
Insulting, abusive or highly critical language.
Example: A torrent of invective spewed forth from her lips.
Pronunciation: in-VEK-tiv

I love nouns that sound like adjectives! This word originated in late Middle English, where it was used as an adjective – meaning abusive or reviling. I kind of hope that none of you have need of this word in your day-to-day lives (it’s not really fun to be on either end of a stream of invective), but I think it would work wonderfully in a written format. It has an inherent harshness that correlates beautifully with its meaning.

Will you join me in attempting to use the word “invective” in conversation or writing at least once this week? Be sure to report back here regarding the context in which you used it! And if you’d like to nominate a word for Word-Loving Wednesday, simply post it in the comments section below!

Photo courtesy of Trevor on Flickr.

Ten Ways to Increase Productivity When You Work From Home

Working from home is awesome, but it can also present many challenges which, if not addressed and overcome, will hamper productivity. Here are ten tips for maximising your output and avoiding common pitfalls:

1. Make your bed. Start your day as you mean to continue. If you make your bed as soon as you get up, you’ve accomplished something before you’ve even had your morning coffee! This will have a powerful effect on your self-belief and will leave you feeling more motivated and able to conquer the tasks you’ve set for yourself.

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2. Get out of your pyjamas. When you work from home, it’s super tempting to allow a dressing gown and slippers to become your daily uniform. But in my experience, this makes work extremely hard. PJs and the like make you feel relaxed and cosy in a way that is not conducive to getting stuff done. Get dressed in the morning will make you feel good about yourself (which is conducive to getting stuff done) and is a great way of reminding yourself that you mean business.

3. Don’t put off completing quick yet important tasks. If I leave dirty dishes in my sink, I can pretty much guarantee I’m going to have an unproductive day. Why? Because washing the dishes is a quick and important job that I feel should be taken care of before I get stuck into anything else. So, if I delay washing the dishes, I tend to delay everything else too. Keeping on top of them throughout the day frees me up to focus on other things without being distracted by the nagging knowledge that there’s a sink full of dirty plates waiting for me. If there are simple chores that you know will weigh on your mind, commit to getting them done as early in the day as possible.

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4. Plan your days. Having a daily schedule can help keep you from slipping into unhelpful habits such as spending three hours on breakfast, getting sucked into YouTube marathons, forgetting to eat, etc. It’ll also help you to stay accountable to steps 1-3. Decide in advance how much time you will dedicate each day to different activities (including breaks and leisure time), and stick to that plan as closely as possible.

5. Have a To-Do List. So simple, yet so effective. When I have a clear outline of the things I want to achieve each day, I am so much more productive. Having a to-do list will help you to prioritise the more pressing tasks, whilst remembering to make time for the jobs that might be less urgent but still important. Being able to see the day’s goals at a glance will make it harder to procrastinate, and the satisfaction of being able to tick a completed task off the list will serve as extra motivation. (I use the Wunderlist app to manage my to-do list.)

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6. Log out of Facebook and Twitter. Because let’s face it, it’s just too tempting to scroll mindlessly for hours on end. Instead, schedule your social media time and leave yourself signed out the rest of the time. (Obviously if you’re a social media manager or something then this doesn’t apply to you. Just be sure to log out of any accounts that aren’t relevant to the specific job at hand.)

7. Have a designated work space and use it. The bed and couch are really not great places to get work done. Not only is it harder to motivate yourself when you’re sitting in a space intended for relaxation and sleep, but it’ll make relaxation and sleep harder if you’re constantly bringing work into those spaces. If you don’t have the luxury of a home office, a small desk and chair will do the trick, and can be set up in any room. The important thing is to create an element of separation between work and leisure.

8. Schedule outdoor time. Not leaving the house for days on end is surprisingly easy when you work from home, but it’s not the smart choice for your mental or physical health (both of which are important factors in productivity). Whether it’s going for a walk, playing with your dog, or just having breakfast on the porch, resolve to spending a minimum of 30 minutes outside each day.

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9. Down tools at a designated time every day. The boundary lines between work time and personal time can get seriously blurred when you’re self-employed and/or working from home. Without a pre-determined end-time for your work day, you’re more likely to fall into bad habits such as postponing tasks, working late into the night, and over-working (which will lead to burnout). Decide in advance what your working hours will be and stick to that.

10. Wind down. Make sure you allow yourself enough time each evening to relax and disconnect from work. Have a bath, read a non-work-related book – whatever helps you shift into sleep-mode. I cannot over-emphasise the importance of a good night’s sleep. You simply cannot function optimally in any area of your life if you’re chronically tired and under-slept. Make sleep a priority, and do whatever it takes to get quality shut-eye every night.

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Do you work from home? What are your tips for greater productivity? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

 

Photo Credits:
“New Furniture” courtesy of Becky McKimmy
“dishes” courtesy of Olga
“5/4/2010: To-Do List” courtesy of john.schultz
“99/365: Relax” courtesy of Andrés Nieto Porras
“Gidleigh Park spa suite 2″ courtesy of Victoria Winters