It’s time for New Year’s resolutions once again, and we can help you set smart goals with our New Year’s Resolution Tips.
Be realistic while setting resolutions. If you want to start cooking all your meals at home, your first goal should be to eat at home a few times a week, and slowly ramp it up over time.
Be specific. “Losing weight” doesn’t give you something concrete to work toward. Instead say, “I want to lose 15 pounds over the next 6 months.“
If you choose a big goal, like learning another language, break it down into achievable steps, like signing up for a class, buying a tool, or studying vocab each week. And don’t beat yourself up if you’re not fluent at the end of the year.
Make it fun to stick to your goal. If you’re trying to lose weight but love desserts, learn about healthy alternatives and making lighter desserts. If you’re artistic, photograph nature to get moving outdoors.
Set deadlines. Making a plan is the only way you’ll actually get started. Meal plan in advance so you make smart choices at the grocery store or get a planner to schedule gym time.
Make every goal a healthy one. Been wanting to redecorate or remodel? Do things you can yourself, even if that just means painting the walls, and get moving without even noticing.
Reward yourself when you reach milestones. If you save money from each paycheck for 3 months, go do a fun activity you’ve maybe been cutting back on, like going to the movies.
Every year I start out with a new goal. Of course, a healthier lifestyle is always at the top of my list, but I also always make other goals. (Maybe it’s so if I fail at my first goal, I have backups? We’ll discuss that on next year’s January e-column if I succeed!)
Some are big and some are small, but one I know consistently comes back each year is, “how do I get organized?” (I do realize that if this is a consistent goal each year, shouldn’t it be my first goal? Baby steps here…)
I notice each year when I set out to accomplish this goal, I feel the need to take this on alone, and then suddenly, I’m overwhelmed and want to quit immediately. That should be my first red flag.
Asking for help should be the first step in this goal. Whether it’s from a spouse, children, family members, friends, or co-workers, asking for help will always make it easier to get the task done, no matter what you are trying to organize.
Don’t try to do it all at once! We get so wrapped up in trying to accomplish our new goal that we try to do too much at once, and then we fail, because it’s just too much. Start small, work in timed intervals, and most importantly, remember it doesn’t have to be done in one day.
Enjoy the process! Whether you are reminiscing over photos or paperwork or cleaning out the garage, take the time to remember the things you’re going through and share your stories with someone. You never know, someone may want the item as a keepsake to tell the story later.
At Reid Health Alliance, we hold Downsizing and Decluttering educational presentations, and if you know a group that may want some more information in the coming months, please feel free to reach out to me. Even if I never get organized this year, I can help you get organized!
Happy New Year and new goals!
Morgan Gunder is a community and broker liaison for Reid Health Alliance. Born in the South and raised in the Midwest, she is a wife and mother with a passion for traveling, learning, and technology.
Make the most of nice days and get some sunshine. It can help you produce serotonin and also helps relieve seasonal affective disorder, which affects millions of Americans.
Walk away. Taking a walk can have a tranquilizing effect on your brain, lower anxiety, and improve sleep.
Don’t lose your daily routine in the holiday rush. Go to the gym, plan your meals, and schedule “me time.” Don’t squeeze in more than you can handle.
If your family always fights during holidays, think about getting together for your holiday meal at a nice restaurant. Being in public can discourage the fighting.
Abandon customs you don’t love. If the kids are all grown, stop bringing presents for everyone to family gatherings. Hate putting up the tree? Get a little one instead. Find ways to make the holidays work for you.
Know when to say no. Don’t feel bad for missing the holiday office party or not bringing a dish. Your priority should be enjoying the holidays, not perfection!
It’s been a little while since I mentioned a move. Since then, I’ve trotted across a few more states. (Am I actually insane? Perhaps.) After about 9 months in Indiana, my boyfriend and I just made the leap to the Seattle area in June. And moving has been taxing, as always.
I’d love to say that we planned perfectly to move across the country with ease and grace. Unfortunately, when military bases are involved, like they are for my boyfriend, there isn’t always time for perfect planning.
In the span of about 2 weeks, we:
Found an apartment
Packed our old apartment
Rented a truck
Drove across the country
Bought and assembled an apartment’s worth of new IKEA furniture
It was more the whirlwind version of moving.
Moving Your Whole Life Across the Country Recommendations
Get Help Finding an Apartment
Because we were moving to a state we’d never even visited, we did some research about areas we’d like to live, and then we hired a company to help find and show us apartments in those areas.
Between not having to rent a car on our visit and saving time before and during, it more than paid for the day of him driving us around to a bunch of apartments. And he picked the place we chose in the end.
I cannot recommend a service like this more when moving blindly. It made our lives so much easier.
We also loved our guide and are planning a double date with him and his girlfriend, so win-win-win.
Seriously Consider Movers
We did not seriously consider movers, and we are still a little sad about that. After loading the truck in Indiana, picking up my remaining belongings at home in Illinois, and driving over 12 hours a day for 3 days, my back was out when we got to Washington, and needless to say, it was a really rough way to unload a truck.
My mother was kind enough to come on this journey with us and help, but the 3 of us unloading our floppy king-size mattress alone was enough to make it worth hiring movers. I wish I had a video to prove to you that you should never accidentally bring this fate down upon yourselves, but alas, I do not, so instead, I like to think it looked a lot like this:
Combined with the floppiness of this:
And this small child’s linebacker skills:
Seriously, hire movers. We will next time.
Splurge and Take Extra Time Off
I only took off a few days for us to drive across the country, and then I hopped back online on Monday. I really wished I’d taken off the whole week.
Poor Matt assembled almost an entire apartment’s worth of IKEA furniture without much help from me while I was working. And it took a lot longer to have any functioning TVs or food in our fridge because I wasn’t available to help.
You will need more time than you thought you would to unpack and settle in a move across the country compared to a state or even just a few miles away. Trust me.
Plan to Grocery Shop
We didn’t plan time to grocery shop early on, and while our kitchen was the first thing unpacked, we couldn’t really use it for about 5 days. We’re lucky to have a grocery store, Starbucks, Panera, Chipotle, and more across the street, so we didn’t live off just fried food for days. But it was still not fun or good for us.
When you eat every meal out for 8 days in a row, you’ll understand that it’s expensive and exhausting. Plus, you’ll feel really gross by about day 3. So plan to be able to cook or at least throw together cereal or simple salads early.
Protect Your Skin and Hair
Even though our local water board just sent us a report about how great our water is, and I’d been living with extremely hard water in Indiana, better water might still wreak havoc on you.
I’ve had more breakouts in the last 2 months than I did at any point going through puberty or bouts of extreme all-night cramming in college. My normally happy combination skin has taken a full nose-dive into adult acne territory, and my boyfriend’s wasn’t doing too well at first either.
I know it sounds crazy, but Google it. I’m not the only one. Lots of people who have moved across the country or move regularly, like those in the military, have hit this issue.
There are many factors in a move that can take a toll. From the stress of the move, to different water, to adapting to a city without air conditioning and much more sweating than normal (no really, apartments pretty much never have air conditioning in Seattle), to a change in climate, they can all affect your skin. These changes can also be hard on your hair.
My skin’s finally starting to get used to the new digs, but you can save yourself by being prepared. Digging out my normal skincare routine and regularly sticking to it during 2 weeks of moving and unpacking wasn’t high on my list of priorities, and obviously, it should’ve been.
If you don’t take care of yourself during the move, you will regret it later. Wash your face in the morning and before bed, and be prepared to adapt your old routines. You might need a new lotion or conditioner for suddenly dry skin or hair or to change your old products while your skin and hair adapt.
Work on Patience and Understanding
While you’re moving, it’s extremely high stress, and it opens the door to fighting. My mom and I already have the tendency to bicker, but my boyfriend and I are usually very level-headed.
In a twist of fate, my mom and I did a pretty great job, and the bickering mostly bubbled up with my boyfriend, probably partially because we were trying to make serious life decisions on barely any sleep while being completely physically exhausted, all with the added bonus of an extra witness there to see us duke it out.
I’ve had some not-great relationships in the past, which at times made it feel like I had a free pass to be mean if an argument required it. But my current boyfriend is wonderful and one of my oldest friends, and he doesn’t deserve that. As a result, I’ve really had to work on my patience and understanding in the middle of arguments.
One of the best rules I can recommend is don’t fight while you’re exhausted, hungry, or triggered by something else, like work. But when you’re exhausted, hungry, and triggered by moving, which you’re doing all of together, some fights have to bubble up. It’s fate.
Tips to Be More Patient for a Fair Fight
What you can do is be ready. Try to practice patience with some deep breaths, some gratitude for the other person, and maybe just by embracing the uncomfortableness of what’s going on together.
Then, when you can’t avoid that fight, fight fair:
Recognize the other person’s concerns and feelings.
Listen, listen, listen.
Never mix meanness for the sake of meanness or other issues in your relationship into an argument they don’t belong in.
Don’t say things like ultimatums you don’t mean. If what you’re arguing over isn’t a relationship deal breaker, don’t taunt that it is in the heat of the moment.
Know your own and each other’s limits. My boyfriend likes to talk things out right away. I like time to cool off so I don’t lash out. We both know that about each other and try to make arguing work for both of us, even when that’s hard to do.
Pick your battles carefully and get comfortable with compromise. Instead of arguing over a soap dispenser, wait and find one you agree on because it’s just a soap dispenser. If you don’t really care what color that side table is, but your partner really cares, give them the win. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did after the 800th snap decision you have to make in the middle of IKEA.
Always bring it back to a place of love and respect, even while you’re arguing. Never forget that you’re partners in this, even if (when) they’re driving you crazy.
Forgive easily. Moving is too stressful to hold every meltdown against the other person, and with a huge move, there will definitely be some meltdowns.
Take Time to Relax
Luckily for us, we got our big move in right before a big vacation to Hawaii, so we had a built-in break about a month after the move.
Hawaii was gorgeous, and having never been that close to the equator before, a great reminder of the value of sunscreen.
But you should plan time to explore your new home or get away if you need to, even if it’s only for a date night, a weekend, or a massage.
And don’t beat yourself up over the occasional splurge during this time. If there were ever a time to have some real ice cream or a steak, it’s when you’ve just picked up your whole life and dropped it nearly 5,000 miles away.
And for fun, because, Hawaii…
Appreciate Your New Home
After about a month of craziness, hopefully your new home will be in decent shape. At which point, you need to take a step back and give yourselves a big pat on the back.
This will be the second time I’ve moved across the country blindly, once with nothing but a couple suitcases, and this time with everything I own. It’s scary, and stressful, and so worth it. Don’t forget to appreciate what you’ve built.
I’m finally taking a second to admire my gorgeous apartment in a brand-new building, my wonderful puppies, our gorgeous surroundings, my boyfriend who calmly spent about 10 hours in an IKEA with my mom and I and built like 15 pieces of furniture, and the awesome job that let me move across the country and keep working for them remotely, saving me from a frantic job search at the same time. #Blessed, am I right?
And I live about 25 minutes away from this. Seriously, how can you stay burnt out living anywhere this gorgeous!