What to Do with Leftovers

By leftovers, no, I don’t mean the food that’s sitting in your refrigerator after your holiday feasts. I mean the items on your “To Do” list that never got done this year.

To get started, don’t spend the New Year holiday in self-recriminations. Start on a positive note.

I love lists. Checking off items on a list is a very fulfilling feeling. If some items were not completed or checked off, you might be frustrated.

Instead of using that frustration to lure you into snacking or another unhealthful pastime, take that energy you have and channel it into some evaluation.

Start with a fresh paper or computer file.

Close your eyes. Think of the most important item you want to accomplish. When that idea floats to the top, open your eyes and jot that on your page. Then, do that again until you have a few items listed.

Don’t let second-guessing or guilt color your list. Be realistic, but be brave!

-If you’ve been thinking about taking a course, no matter what would be involved, consider that your priority.

-If you’ve been thinking you should call your mom and dad every week, do it!

– If the ever-popular “lose weight” appears on your list, when it comes time to evaluate, be realistic.

My sister-in-law Mindy, who is a dietician, says that it is not productive to weigh yourself daily. If someone is dieting and has gained weight, she says they might develop a “What the heck” attitude and splurge since they feel their efforts aren’t working. If they do lose weight, they may reward themselves with a treat, which is also counterproductive.

My suggestion: Burn the calories with an activity you love. Eat when you feel hungry (only). Eat healthfully. Portion control is everything, says Mindy.

– Take some time for yourself away from the daily grind. Even if it means a bath or reading a book, consider that down time as a way to rejuvenate.

– Do something to help someone or volunteer at an organization that helps others. The glow you’ll feel knowing you’ve helped others is motivating.

Allocate the time for these priorities and “escapes.” People do tend to oversubscribe to projects. Figure out what you can let go and what is truly meaningful to you.

Learning to say “No” can be very powerful. (I used to volunteer for anything I was asked to do. By reevaluating and learning to say no, I now volunteer only for what I can fit in and do well.)

Make sure that family has a place on your list. Children thrive when they have attention. Adults whose parents live elsewhere will develop more meaningful relationships with you if you stay in touch.

There are 527,040 minutes in 2016. (It’s a leap year, so there’s an extra day to enjoy!) Plan wisely. And, have some fun, too!

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