New year's resolutions

New Year's-the time for renewal, refresh, and restarting. The New Year also prompts us to want to get things done, and a few habits changed. It seems that everyone is always ready to go with changes when the New Year hits, but they soon die out once the spring is here. I always try to keep the best goals, and the easiest goals, so that I don't fall back on bad habits. We are working on keeping some of the resolutions we made New Year's night. Of course, it is still January and easy to keep those resolutions so far, but we are doing well so far and I feel these new resolutions are worth keeping in order to be better for us and the environment.

1. Buy a new calendar and keep track of goals. I'm liking these from Orange Circle Studios this year, or pick up the same one The Bean is using this year from Just Seeds.

2. Walk 10-30 minutes every day (stairs, mailbox, grocery store, library-we are within walking distance of them all).

3. Meditate 15 minutes, yoga 15 minutes, and weight resistance 15 minutes-three times a week.

4. Stop hate. Start by not saying the word.

5. Drink more filtered water and green tea.

6. Track calories in and calories out. Modify if needed. (Eat a big breakfast-8:00 a.m., a medium luncheon-12:00 p.m., and a small dinner-5:00 p.m.).

7. Eat more foods grown on plants and less foods manufactured in plants-good start: blueberries, broccoli, almonds, and walnuts.

8. Purge old habits: Leaving shoes in the doorway, glasses on the nightstand, dirty clothes on the floor, wet towels on the bed, getting upset over the past, snacking mindlessly, skipping exercise, comparing anything to anyone, eating dinner late, settling, etc.

9. Make bed every day.

10. Shop more frugal and cut waste. Plastic is the goal-find ways to cut the dependency on plastics. Buy in bulk, use glass instead, and recycle what can be recycled in plastics that do come through the door. And for crying out loud make more fruit leathers and freezer pops!

Things to purge in January:

In order to keep from having piles of anything it's best to purge a few things at the beginning of the new year. Here are the things we purge in January in the SNS house. If any of the items on this list raise a red flag to you, it's best to hang onto them until you are sure they can be thrown away.

• Insurance policies from the year before: Auto/Health/House/Renters' Insurance/etc. It's a good idea to update your insurance policies each year just to make sure you are getting the coverage you need and the savings you deserve. If something in your life, auto, or living situation has changed be sure to inform your insurer so they can get you the best rate possible. Never go without insurance on your car, your home/rent, or life. It's not worth the risk.

• Warranty papers: If the start of the new year means a warranty or contract has expired toss it. There's no need to keep expired paperwork laying around. If it can't be renewed, or updated, then get rid of it.

• Paid bills in paper form: Any bill that was paid, even monthly utilities, can be tosses in the trash at the start of the new year. Don't throw away current bills that are due for the month, and the best way to avoid paper with this is to go paperless and get your monthly bills emailed to you. Some companies even have a way to set up text reminders when your bill is due, or if you're late on a bill.

• Paycheck stubs: Once you file your taxes and see that your W-2 numbers are correct you can toss these in the trash each year. Keeping all of your pay stubs until you file taxes is a great way to check that the numbers match up and your defense when you receive your W-2 from your employer.

• Old to-do lists: If you are a list maker make January the month that you get caught up on all of our to-dos. If you have a lot of them, start with the biggest one and work your way down to the smallest to-do. Work through the entire list for the month and get it done. If it's something that isn't that important to do then mark it off.

• Clothes you haven't worn all last year: Trust me on this, if you didn't wear it in a year you aren't going to wear it in another year. Just donate it and let someone else enjoy the threads. Here's what we do in our house. We turn hangers around and face them backwards so the hook part of the hanger is facing you. We hang every piece of clothing we own, t-shirts, pants, etc. The only items not hanging in our closets are delicate sweaters, undies, socks, and sleeping wear. As far as the closet goes, once you wear something turn the hanger around the right way. At the end of the year you get to see what you've worn and what you haven't worn. Also, if you keep to a certain number of items, say 20 hanging clothes, if you purge five items in January that leaves you five spaces to fill with something new throughout the year. It's a pretty good method and works well in our home-still working on the hats with the boys though.

• Dishes, appliance, or utensils: If you didn't use the large platter the entire year, or a small crock pot, chances are you aren't going to use it again. Donate it. We have a lot of things we either get as gifts, or buy thinking we are going to use them regularly and we use them once then there they sit. I bought a small white crock pot, similar to this one, and I thought I would make small meals in it during the day for The Bean and me, but I didn't. I used it for corn at Thanksgiving, but that was it. It's a cute item and would work great with someone that does small meals, or entertains a lot, but that just isn't us. So I donated it and I don't miss it.

• Purge old habits: Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Invest our energy in the positive, the present moment, and the little things that make life wonderful. Spend your moments with people that build you up and less time with those that tear you down. And do the same for others. Remember, life isn't always fair, but it is good and most of us forget that we live a pretty privileged life. Don't waste your time hating anyone-life is too short for this. When you hate someone you give them control over you. Move past the hate, forgive and move on. You aren't so important that you have to win every argument. And don't take yourself so seriously, believe it or not, no one else does.

• A few more items: Donate these items!
-Board games you didn't play.
-Playing cards you didn't use.
-Sheets and pillow cases not used.
-Blankets not used.
-Makeup that's expired.
-Lotions/creams not used, or expired.
-Books not read.(unless you add them to this year's resolutions)
-Flower pots not filled.
-Gardening tools not used.
-Pet supplies not used.
-Coats and jackets not worn all year.
-Pens, pencils, markers, crayons not used all year.
-Household cleaners not used all year. (check with local laws to make sure you can dispose of these safety. The best way to avoid having chemicals like this on hand is to use greener cleaners-vinegar, baking soda, castile soaps, essential oils, etc.)
-Old paints. Donate to a local Habitat for Humanity, or other similar facility. If no facility is available in your area, allow the paint to dry with the lid off and dispose of in trash cans. (Which I find disturbing, so be sure to use water-based, nontoxic paints. White, flat paint goes a long way when giving a fresh coat to walls, or furniture. To avoid having excessive leftover paint, never buy more than you need for a project.)

Happy New Year!

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