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This And That: Happy New Year!

This And That: Happy New Year!

Happy new year! 

Do you make new year's resolutions?

I do, but since I'm half-Persian and Jewish, I celebrate a new year every few months -- once in January, again in March for Persian New Year, and again in September during Rosh Hashanah. Over the years, Jan. 1 has become more of a deadline than the day I resolve to begin anything new.

My resolutions start when my family celebrates Nowruz, the Persian New Year. Growing up, my mom would set up a traditional Nowruz table, called a Haft Seen, with foods and flowers symbolizing rebirth and the start of spring. I always thought it made sense to celebrate new beginnings in March when trees regrow their leaves. So I make new year's resolutions then, even though it's not really part of the celebration. I use Rosh Hashanah and New Year's Day as deadlines to check in on my progress, and then reevaluate the whole situation by the time March rolls around again.

But I always keep things light. In 2016, I resolved to wake up weekday mornings at 7 a.m. with the intention of becoming a morning person. As of my Jan. 1 check-in, I can tell you with certainty that becoming an early riser is never going to happen, ever. So in 2017, I'm probably going to resolve to embrace the fact that I hate waking up before 9 a.m. See? Light. 

That's because the action of making new year's resolutions is a surface-level attempt for self-improvement. Our brains love the idea of a clean slate, according to a Popular Science piece I read in my weekly Apple News email. And nothing makes us feel more immediately gratified than deciding to change something for the better without having to actually get up and do anything in the moment. But putting those decisions into actions and actually changing behaviors or accomplishing goals is difficult and probably requires more time than one year. Regardless, I still enjoy setting new ~intentions~ (see immediate gratification part above), no matter how small or frivolous they may be. 

So if you're looking for some inspiration, check out my list below: 

1. Read more. My HuffPost colleague Abigail Williams is a force of nature and actually kept her 2016 resolution to read a book a week. I'm not suggesting you do that, but if you do need any book recommendations, check out Abby's reading list here

2. Plan a trip for yourself to a destination that's not where your friend is getting married or hosting her bachelorette party. Also, books to read when you go.

3. Subscribe to a newspaper.

4. Cook a proper breakfast for yourself and realize once and for all that paying $20 for overdone eggs, mediocre avocado toast and black coffee is a waste of your hard-earned cash. PS - favorite breakfast recipe.

5. Trade grabbing drinks or coffee for going on walks. Also, how walking in nature changes the brain.

6. "Switch from black to navy. Black is chic, but navy is soft." -- this is from London-based writer Dolly Alderton via Cup of Jo, and I couldn't agree more.

7. Donate. Giving money to Planned Parenthood in Mike Pence's name makes for a really lovely birthday, wedding or anniversary present any time of year.

8. Track your time one day. According to this op-ed that's haunting me, we have more free time in our days than we're aware of. 

9. Toss the uncomfortable clothes from your closet. The next four years will not be easy. Let us not overcomplicate matters by wearing pants that are too tight, tops that are itchy or shoes that pinch our toes.

To a healthy and happy 2017. xx

Eating Out: Chowing Down at Chôm Chôm

Eating Out: Chowing Down at Chôm Chôm

This And That: 10 Things I've Learned After 3 Months Living Abroad

This And That: 10 Things I've Learned After 3 Months Living Abroad