Your New Year To-Do

2014 is fast approaching, and with it come seemingly inevitable, although certainly avoidable, desires to do more, or at least do better.Since I'm all about growth through mindful self-care, I thought I'd share 14 ways you can make 2014 the best year yet.

Your New Year To-Do

1. Detox. Give your body and mind a big-deal break by a) detoxing your overworked liver with a simple to implement, maintain, and complete three-day cleanse, and b) detoxing your muddled mind with a no-nonsense social media cleanse that involves removing toxic (negative, offensive) associates from your Twitter feed, your Facebook friends (use the "unfollow" option instead of unfriending, if necessary), etc.2. Pare. Get real about your blog feeds and inbox subscriptions. We know you want to honor all those who honor you, but not all blogs and subscriptions offer up what you need/want in your life. It may be they used to, and you\'ve changed. That happens. It's okay - really, it is! - to pare down your blog and inbox feeds so that what's there reflects not only what you want to read, but what you realistically will read.3. Minimize. Clean out your closets. Dig out your drawers. Throw out the things that are no longer wearable (by anyone), and sell or donate the things you no longer wear, for whatever reason. Bonus: you'll feel great about helping others who need good, inexpensive or free, clothing.4. Learn. Exercise your brain. Whether it's a language, or a formal course of study, or an informal course of study you design through books, or podcasts, or free webinars, or YouTube, or a combination of any or all of the methods listed, commit to learning something new this year, and increasing your brain power... and your aptitude for Jeopardy. ;-)5. Connect. Make a point of connecting with your loved ones offline. It may seem old fashioned, but I personally don't think meeting at a kitchen table for a cup of coffee and conversation will ever go out of style. Maybe resurrect game night! Stay away from the Wii and the Xbox in favor of old-school Yahtzee, Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, poker, Twister, charades, and more.6. Reserve. Get serious about setting aside funds, every week, toward end-of-year spending - whatever that may look like. Use a handy-dandy chart to guide you, as suggested by 52-Week Money Challenge.And if you're wondering what's mindful about saving money, consider how it will draw your attention, with positive intention, to your spending habits.7. Pay it forward. Feeling blessed for all you have, even though it may not be a whole heck of a lot in the big scheme of things? Pay it forward by donating time, and/or money, if you have it, to a local charity. Whether it's helping out at a food bank, soup kitchen, or animal shelter, your time and energy will be greatly appreciated, and your personal rewards will be limitless.8. Invest in spirituality. This isn't about monetary investment, this is about self investment. Devote 20 minutes, or more, of your day to spiritual practice. Whether it's meditation, prayer, Reiki, or Yoga, you will reap near-immediate benefits not only at the spirit level, but also at the mind and body levels. Can you afford 20 minutes a day? Better question: Can you afford not to invest 20 minutes a day in you?9. Hydrate. Make a commitment to drinking the amount of water your own body needs to function optimally. What's your amount? It's half your weight, in ounces of water. For example: If you weigh 128 pounds, your body needs 64 ounces of water each day. Easy, right? Drink up!10. Nourish. Make it a point to nourish your body with good food. Keep it simple by being mindful of eating a serving of fruits and vegetables with every meal - including snacks.11. Relax. Make a weekly, if not daily, appointment with yourself to do absobloominlutely nothing for a set period of time. Become one with a couch, or easy chair, or lawn chair, or hammock - with or without a book/Kindle - for as little as thirty minutes, and you'll feel like a new person.12. Inspire/Motivate. When we're inspired and/or motivated, it becomes possible to inspire and/or motivate others. To that end, consider a day-by-day calendar that offers up daily doses of encouragement.13. Simplify. Start preparing for the 2014 holiday season now with an eye toward keeping it simple. Encourage loved ones to lower their gift-receiving expectations (see the three-gift approach, for instance), and return the celebration of Christmas, etc. to its more refined - and meaningful - roots.14. Go Prime. Get ahead - way ahead - of yourself in a super-smart way by joining Amazon Prime. Why? You get free two-day shipping, access to Amazon's ever-growing collection of videos, and access to the Kindle Lending Library. If you purchase items with any sort of regularity from Amazon, and if you watch movies and TV shows online with any sort of frequency, you'll cover the yearly fee (after a 30-day free trial) in no time flat.How is this mindful? How will Amazon Prime enhance your new year? By creating ease and saving you time and money. Prime is the equivalent of combining Netflix with a carte blanche free-shipping coupon and a digital library card. Feel that "aahhh?"That's it!

Self-Care and Vegan Corn Chowder

Spirit of the Season