CultureSkills

The New Year has come! It’s time for… New Year’s resolutions. Yikes. For some, this means eating healthy. For others, it means going to the gym more. It can be saving money, getting better grades, cutting down on the caffeine, or even finally cleaning out your closet!

But there are some unique resolutions that you might not have thought of that can be pretty fun!

Alphabet Book Checklist

Read a book with the title starting with each letter of the alphabet. Twenty six books, 12 months, about two books a month. You never know what you may find. Make a checklist of the things you’ve been wanting to read (romance novels, nonfiction short stories, poetry, anything!) and go to your local bookstore. It’s a low key resolution, no stress, just a small thing you can do for yourself.

Eat the Rainbow

No, not Skittles. I mean, eat each color of the rainbow. This might be kind of silly, but it’ll make you eat a variety of foods. There’s probably a health thing out there somewhere, but for you, it should be something that’s fun! You can try to eat the rainbow every day, or maybe split it up to make it a weekly goal. Fruits, leafy greens, meats (or not, if you’re a vegetarian), grains. For more challenging colors like blues and purples, you can say browns, like bread. I never ate quinoa (pronounced kinwa) but once I tried it, I discovered how yummy it was!

Stand Up Straight

Yes. You heard right. Stand up straight! I never realized how much I slouched until I started wearing heels. Then I realized that my balance was way off, and it was evident in the way my back and chest hurt from being pushed back into its original upright position. Commit to standing up straight when you’re waiting for the bus, when you’re in line at the grocery store, even when you’re showering. Do the Superwoman stance, with your hands on your hips and head facing forward. Over time, your body and your mind will develop and strengthen. Think about how confident you feel now, and how much more confident you will feel after you learn to hold your head up high. At the very least, this will sort out your backaches.

These are a few low-key resolutions you can take on. Read a bit more, eat better, try new things, boost your confidence. Whatever you’re comfortable with, do. Whatever scares you a little, try. Whatever makes you happy, go for it! Have a great new year!

Image: sanazmy97

CultureSkills

The New Year is about resolution, new beginnings, and fresh starts. However, many times, our wish to take on these new goals and challenges are paused by last year’s mistakes. Forget last year – it is long gone. The only things left of it are what lie in our memories. Okay, and maybe all of the ‘Facebook Year in Reviews’ that have infested all of our newsfeeds. Here are a few things that we must remember and forget about last year:

1. Breakups

A friend once told me, “Relationships aren’t necessarily all about love – they’re about learning about yourself and what you value in any relationship.” Her words stuck like glue. I’ve always been a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and relationships, be it a romantic or friendly, all have their reasons for happening. People are put in our lives for us to learn and grow. If people bring positivity into your life, you will learn and likewise, if people bring negativity in your life, you are also bound to learn something. Sometimes, breakups just mean you have learned what you need to learn from that person and it is time to move on to the next chapter in your life. Other times, breakups serve as reminders to make sure you are surrounding yourself by people that inspire, surround you with positivity, and push you to become the best you can ever be.

2. Last Year’s Failed Resolutions

We all have that New Year’s Resolution that we have thought of since November. Perhaps we want to get healthy, read that book that always seems to be referenced in important conversations, or learn to acquire more patience. And we also all have that disappointing New Year’s Resolution that seems to be every year’s repeated resolution. Cut the cycle. Take the initiative of not waiting around until New Years and start now. In addition, your failures last year will not be your failures this year. Time is ongoing and does not repeat itself. There is always a chance for new beginnings.

3. The Little Voice

We may be fearless, fierce, and fabulous when it comes to pursuing our dreams, but who doesn’t have that little voice of doubt in the back of their heads? When in the midst of determination and motivation, it is absolutely vital that you do not give into the small voice that has the power to hold you back. Perhaps this happened in 2014, 2013, or even in 2012, but not in 2015. The mind is most powerful – bury that voice in a place you can’t retrieve. Smother it with positive thinking and remember to always believe in yourself!

4. Grades and Job Disappointments

It’s understood that GPA’s are cumulative therefore, that impossible course where even passing, or the absolute taste of glory, last semester will forever be factored in it. However, thankfully that course last semester will forever be left in long gone notebooks. This semester is a new term composed of new courses taught by new professors. Do not assume all math courses will be impossible or all philosophy professors will be a dreadful walk through the underworld. Each semester brings new opportunity to improve your grades and learn from last year’s mistakes. Likewise, we all know that jobs that may have not worked out last year bring their burdens – be them financial or personal. However, it is important to take what you learned from these mistakes in order to not repeat them in future professional endeavors. Learning and growing from these mistakes and keeping a determined and positive outlook are key to any new beginning.

5. Habit Downturns

It’s possible your overall health this past year has gone downhill. Diets were broken with that 1:00 a.m. pizza craving, exercise habits interrupted by finals week, and eating habits completely totaled by just living on campus. It’s possible you began biting your nails or gone back to smoking cigarettes. There’s a chance you discovered habits of shopping until you drop or even a seriously undesirable Netflix addiction. It happens. But habits can always be shifted and changed.  Do not be discouraged by last year’s mishaps.

New Year’s is called “New Year’s” for a reason. It is out with the old and in with the new. What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Forget last year’s mistakes and take only what you’ve learned from them. Anything is possible this year – find it inside of you to conquer these goals!

Image: Time Management Ninja

CultureSkills

As soon as we put down the turkey leg and finished off our apple pie, we blinked and December was here. Even though we’re approaching the 2014 finish line, don’t let that slow you down. The last month of the year can be a new beginning for many different things – goals, activities, habits, skills, and adventures. The holiday season may present a packed calendar with parties, trips, and work to finish up, but don’t wait until 2015 to make resolutions, start something new, or to make self-improvements.

Here are some successful ways to wrap up 2014:

1. Tie up loose ends.

Finish up the remaining items on your to-do list, schedule those doctor appointments, and complete any lingering projects. This way, you can enjoy the holidays and have a fun time ringing in the New Year. Don’t bring unwanted baggage into 2015.

2. Spend quality time with friends and family.

Make time for loved ones. When the New Year begins, everyone will get busy and it’ll be a challenge to find time to spend together.

3. Say thank you.

Write thank you cards, make a phone call to express your gratitude, or mail a small gift to those who were there for you in 2014. If there are people who were influential in your personal or professional life, let them know how appreciative you are.

4. Accomplish resolutions from the beginning of 2014.

What resolutions did you make at the beginning of 2014 that have yet to be accomplished? Do them. We may only have one more month, but there is still plenty of time!

5. Learn a new skill.

You’ve got a month to learn a new skill. Perhaps you’d like to learn how to ski, improve your language skills, or learn how to efficiently use Excel. There’s no better time than now.

6. Take a weekend trip.

You may not have the time or funds to take a big trip this holiday season, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a quick weekend escape. Sneak in one last adventure before the New Year.

7. Look forward.

Are major changes on the horizon? If not, do you want there to be changes? Think about what you hope to accomplish and start making adjustments in your habits and routine to make those changes a reality. Spend some time thinking about where you’d like to see yourself in 2015 and you’ll be setting yourself up for a great future.

8. Read one more book.

Don’t push off your reading list for 2015. Start now. Tomorrow you’ll be glad you did. In a reading rut? Here are some tips for how to make time to read.

9. Organize your life.

While ‘organizing your life’ is a great resolution for January, why not start getting things in order now? Organizing – whether it’s your physical space, your routine, or your overall organizational ‘system’ – can be a huge undertaking. Start small and pace yourself.

10. Give back to your community.

While it’s important to be involved in your community every month of the year, you may feel more inclined to give back during the holiday season. Don’t wait any longer to help and make a difference.

11. Improve your culinary skills.

There are a lot of delicious holiday-themed recipes and hearty meals that you can make for the cold winter months. Experiment with new ingredients, attempt a challenging recipe, and improve your cooking or baking skills so you can do more cooking at home in 2015.

12. Scrapbook or journal.

Before saying goodbye to 2014, print out photographs from special events that happened throughout the year and create a memory book. Write about how those events shaped you and why they are memorable. This is a great way to remember everything that you have accomplished during the year.

13. Develop good habits.

Trying to wake up earlier, exercise more, or spend less time on social media? Start forming good habits this month, and if any improvements need to be made later, that sounds like a pretty good 2015 resolution.

14. Take time to reflect.

Before the craziness of the holidays and the New Year begin, take some time for yourself. Revisit events that made you laugh and cry, remember the times when you felt hopeful, and meditate on the moments that were more challenging. Contemplate your successes, failures, goals, and accomplishments from 2014. Take pride in what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown, and think about what you want to take with you into 2015.

How are you wrapping up 2014?

*This article can be found on The Huffington Post.

Image: mt 23

CultureInspirationSkills

Happy 2014! When we think of the new year, we think of how we can improve and make the next year even better. Some call these improvements resolutions, some call them goals. Either way, thinking about how you want to spend the next 365 days can be very beneficial for making the most of your time. Instead of just writing down what it is you want to do, also write down how you are going to reach your goals. When you give yourself a goal and action item combo, you’re setting yourself up for success.

Share your resolutions and goals with your friends, write them down, and say them out loud – you’re more likely to keep your resolutions when they aren’t just hanging out in your mind. Since we love working on self-improvement here at Carpe Juvenis, we wanted to share our 2014 resolutions…

1. Improve our finance knowledge.

We will read books on finance and the economy to understand how the two work together. An online class will definitely help us gain a better understanding of finance.

2. Read (at least) one book each month.

We will read every day. That’s right – every single day. Even if it is just for five minutes on the bus to school or work, a couple of pages before falling asleep, or for 20 minutes each morning. A little bit goes a long way, and the consistent reading of a few pages will accumulate to an entire novel before you know it. We will first tackle our Winter Reading List

3. Make each day count.

Academically, career-wise, and personally. Whether you want to make each day count by completing your to-do list, tackling a difficult assignment, waking up early and going for a sunrise run, or spending quality time with family and friends, make each day of 2014 count – you only get 365 of them!

4. Worry less.

Sometimes we just can’t help but worry, and then worry some more. But this year we want to be conscious of our worries and remember that we can only worry about what is in our control. Let go of the rest and let things unfold as they happen.

5. Give back more.

We will get involved in an organization for an issue that we care deeply about. If you have extra change, donate. If you have a couple of hours each month to volunteer, do it. This year we would like to give back more with our time and energy by attending organization meetings, getting involved in fundraisers/events, and by spreading awareness. 

6. Laugh (more) every day.

We laugh a lot as it is, but you can never have too many laughs in a day. We vow to laugh more, to laugh harder, and to make others laugh. 

What are your 2014 resolutions and goals?

 

Skills

As 2013 comes to an end, it is a great time to start reflecting on lessons you have learned in the past  year. Maybe you learned something new each day, or perhaps certain situations taught you invaluable lessons. Were you inspired by an interesting fact, a funny joke, a tidbit about your best friend, or deeply impacted by a major personal life lesson? Did you accomplish any major goals? Through your experiences in the past 365 days, what did you learn about yourself?

Taking some time to think about what 2013 taught you is great for a couple of reasons. First of all, you have gone through many experiences and most likely have grown in certain areas of your life. By recognizing these changes, you can feel proud of what you have gone through, identify what you have improved upon, and strategize ways to exceed what you have already accomplished.

Secondly, you can pinpoint strengths and weaknesses from the past year. This allows you to determine what weaknesses you want to work on in 2014 and what strengths you want to maintain.

This exercise varies for many people. It might be easy for some to think back on the year and recognize what they have learned, but for others, important lessons may be less obvious. If you fall into the latter group, make a list of things you have done and emotions you remember feeling in 2013. All of the days start to blur when you look at them as a whole, so picking out specific situations may trigger certain memories and lessons.

We’d love to know – what did 2013 teach you?

Skills

Now that finals are coming to an end, you finally have time to start enjoying the holiday season. You can think about gifts and decorating now that you have a break from all of your schoolwork. As you add people to your gift list and think of ideas for Christmas Eve or New Years Eve, the cost of gifts and celebration plans may start quickly rising. If you are trying to avoid an expensive holiday season, there are many ways you can celebrate on a budget. Don’t let the holidays put you in debt or stress you out in the new year. You can save a bunch of money while having a great time!

1. Determine your budget.
The very first thing you’ll want to do is set a limit on how much you want to spend. You can do this in terms of the total amount you will spend, or based on how much you want to spend per person. Keep in mind, you do not need to buy gifts for every single friend or family member. A heartfelt card is more than enough for those you don’t necessarily want to buy presents for.

Let’s say you set a budget of $75-100 for presents and holiday events. You now have a number to work with, which enables you to allocate your funds appropriately to each person and event on your list. Write down everyone’s names and jot down ideas for gifts, along with a ballpark cost. Having all of the names and costs will help you visualize whether you will be able to stay within budget. If it looks like you are going over budget, adjust your gift ideas or think of something else to give (see below).

2. DIY gifts.
If you’ve ever been on Pinterest, you’ll know that we are becoming a very do-it-yourself world. DIY gifts are not only an inexpensive way to show someone you care, but these types of gifts are often very thoughtful because they take time to make.

DIY gift ideas:

*Knit a scarf
*Make a set of greeting cards to give as a bundle
*Bake cookies
*Write a poem
*Make a picture frame and frame a special photo
*Create a scrapbook of memories
*Make soap or candles
*Make a homemade snowglobe
*Design cork coasters
*Paint wooden utensils
*Make a homemade card with a special handwritten note

3. Experience gifts.
Instead of purchasing or making a gift for someone, take him or her out for an experience gift. Sometimes there’s no better gift than time, and by treating someone to a fun afternoon is a very special present. You may have to pay for tickets or food, but this can be done on a low budget.

Experience gift ideas:
*Take someone out to lunch or to see a movie
*Visit the zoo
*Spend the day at an amusement park
*Walk around your local botanical gardens
*Go ice skating
*Hike in the morning and watch the sunrise
*Bake a cake or cook a meal together

4. Coupon gifts.
If you aren’t interested in purchasing, DIY, or experience gifts, giving coupons might be a unique twist on your usual holiday presents. Many people love favors, and giving a little book of coupons to your Mom, Dad, siblings, or friends will not go unappreciated. All you’ll need is a piece of paper, a pen, scissors, and a stapler. Of course, you can make your coupon book look fancier, but this is a quick, easy, and cheap way to offer something nice to someone. Get creative!

Coupon gift ideas:

*Wash the car, inside and out
*Clean a room for someone
*Pick up the groceries
*Cook dinner
*Wash and fold laundry
*Making the bed every day for a week
*Favor of your choice

5. Limit gifts and spending total.
Before you and your friends or family buy presents for each other, have a discussion about how many presents you will get for one another or about how much you want to spend. 1 present and 1 stocking stuffer is typically a good limit for family, whereas friends can differ based on who you are buying presents for. By being transparent about your budget and limit, you and your family and friends can unload that stress and just concentrate on finding the perfect gift.

6. Make dinner and rent a movie.
When it comes time for the actual celebrations, there is no need to buy a new dress, suit, or shoes to attend a festive party. There are inexpensive (and fun!) ways to spend Christmas Eve or New Years Eve, such as making a home cooked meal and renting a movie. You can even just order pizza and watch a Christmas special. The time spent together with people you like being around is all you really need for the holidays.

7. Host a cookie decorating party.
What better way to get in the holiday spirit than to decorate (and eat) cookies? Spend your days off icing cookies with family and friends. The time will fly when you are rolling dough, listening to holiday tunes, and icing cookies with every color of the rainbow.

8. Volunteer.
Give the gift of time! Volunteer at your local food bank or animal shelter, or make blankets and collect toys. The options are endless and it may just be the best gift you give all season.

9. Secret Santa.
When you and your family or friends decide to do Secret Santa, your costs are seriously cut since you only have to buy one present! Set a maximum limit so that everyone stays within that price range. Get a group of people together, draw names from a (Santa) hat, don’t tell anyone whose name you have, and then purchase a special present that will be exchanged later. It’s so much fun to surprise someone with a funny, novelty gift.