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A few years ago, my New Year's resolutions were to drink more champagne and go on more adventures. That year turned out pretty awesome, so I decided to do an annual "resolutions that don't suck" post. This is one of my favorite posts to do every year. If you want to check out 2015 or 2016 for even more ideas, there's something there for everyone!
You won't find any " floss more" or "eat less cheese" on this list. While flossing more is probably a good idea for most of us, it's not what this list is all about, and I certainly can't recommend eating less cheese! Whithout futher ado, here are 17 New Year's resolutions for a 2017 that doesn't suck!
1. Say no more
A lot of resolutions posts will tell you to say yes more. "Say yes to life, to taking chances...!" Saying yes is nice in theory, but saying no is also nice. So often we commit to doing things we don't want to do out of obligation or just because we don't know how to say no. Say it with me now, "No!" If you don't have to do something, and don't want to do it, strongly consider saying "no". You are essentially giving up time of your life that you're never ever going to get back. Is this task something that is worth that much to you? If you weren't doing that task, would you be doing something else that would make you happier? Then, you know what you need to do.
2. Find something you're passionate about
This could be anything. It could be saving whales, making the perfect taco, mastering crow pose...it does't matter what it is as long as you're passionate about it and make time for it. "Life is either a dairing adventure or nothing at all"-Helen Keller. Go out, find your passion, and live life. Anything less would be a waste.
3. Pay attention to your body
This isn't necessarily "work out more", but more of a "give your body what it needs". If you want to be out there adventuring and living life to fullest, you need to be healthy. Stretch more, drink more water, eat more fruit, go on walks on the beach, take more naps...I don't know what you need, but chances are, you do. Make yourself a priority, and take care of yourself.
4. Eat good food
When it comes to food, I'm a big believer in quality over quantity, and I'm not just talking about healthy vs unhealthy. I would rather eat one super delicous cookie, than 12 kind of ok cookies. Food is such a central part of our daily lives, why not put an emphasis on delicious, quality ingredients, and cut out the cheep, overly processed ones? It doesn't have to be every day, but strive for a least once a week, making yourself a meal/dessert/snack out of something truely delicous and mouthwatering. Spring for that fancy cheese, the local handmade pasta, high end chocolate, or the nicer cut of meat. Your tastbuds will thank you. If I'm going to splurge on calories, I want them to be extra amazing!
5. Join a group/club
Have you moved to a new town, or found that a lot of your old friends have moved away? It can be really hard to make friends as an adult. Everyone's paired off, has kids, or have an established network of friends. It's not like when we were kids, and we had a scheduled recess to go out and make new friends. But, that's no reason you can't make meeting new cool people a part of your life. Join a running club, dodgeball league, hiking group, book club, or just ask people you know that have similar intrests, if they'd like to hang out and go (fill in your awesome hobby here) this weekend.
6. Unfollow pages and people that stress you out
2016 has been a pretty crazy year. With all of that, comes a lot of strong opinions that make it onto our feeds. If someone is constately posting things that you're rolling your eyes at and gets you frustrated, unfollow them! You don't need to unfriend them if you don't wan to, but cut out that daily reminder of the chaos in the world that just doesn't make sense. No one needs to subject themselves to racism/hatred/drama for no reason. Cut it out of your life, and leave social media to the things that bring you joy and happiness. We've already go the news to bum us out.
7. Use your vacation days
I referenced in a post about time keeping us from traveling, that Americans leave 175 million days of vacation unused every year! That's crazy, considering that we get less than many other nations. Use your vacation days, and don't spend the whole time on your phone answering emails. The office can survive without you for a few days, and you'll feel a whole lot better!
8. Unplug more often
While we're at it, you should try and unplug more often in general. Evenings, weekends, turn your ringer off, and go for a walk, talk to your family during dinner, actually watch a movie without also being on your phone thoughout the whole thing. You'll be shocked how much better you feel when you're not staring at a screen all day.
9. Learn something new
It can be anything. It could be learning a new language, how to make macaroons (on my list), or it could be something silly, like how to solve a rubix cube, which I did this year. I always thought it was one of those things that only geniuses could figure out. Nope. If I can do it, so can you. You could learn karate, or ballet, or how to make your favorite cocktail. Pick something fun and a little challenging, and amaze yourself with the possibilities.
10. Take a leap
This can be in your personal life, or your professional one. If there's been something you've been wanting to do, but you've been a bit afraid to do it. Now's the year to consider it. Sometimes we have something that just naws at us. We can't stop thinking about "what if I did..." if there's something like that for you. Stop worrying about if things go wrong, and go for it. It's cliched, but we do always regret the things we didn't do more than the things we do. And so what if things don't work out 100% like we plan. What ever really does?
11. Use less plastic
In a report I recently read, it said that by 2050, there will be more pieces of plastic in the ocean than fish. I've been taking little baby steps at this this year. Instead of buying plastic tupperware I buy glass, using reusable water bottles like hydro flasks instead of bottled water, not using as many produce bags at the grocerry store, and always using tote bags or paper bags at the store. I definitely haven't elimenated all the plastic in my life, but between these steps and recycling what I can, it's a step in the right direction.
Maybe using less plastic seems daunting, pick something else like walking or biking short distances instead of driving, composting, or buying products with more environmentally friendly packaging. There are lots of ways we can help keep this beautiful planet beautiful and lots of those steps also help declutter and help us live healthier lives too...it's a win-win!
12. Explore more
So often we wait until we're on vacation to go and explore something new. Commit to finding time to explore more every week. Chances are there are TONS of things within a couple hours drive of you to explore. It could be a new trail to hike, restraraunts to eat, concert venue, neighborhoods to explore. You never know what you'll discover. It could just be going out for a drive until you find a cute ice cream place to stop at. Sometimes it totally doesn't go as planned. I once jumped in the car, drove over two hours south to California with the plan to enjoy the view, get ice cream, and turn around. Would you believe it that I got all the way there and there wasn't an ice cream shop in the whole town! I did enjoy the view though, and I felt refreshed when I got back, even without ice cream. No matter what you find, it will be worth it!
13. Improve your surroundings
This will look a lot different for each person. It could mean cleaning out all the junk in your house so it's not so cluttered. It could be finally putting up some pictures and art from your travels on the walls so your space feels more like you, it could be getting some house plants, or planting a mini herb garden. Take a look around your space (any space that you spend a lot of time in) and think about what would make it feel better. Sometimes it's helpful to take a picture of the space, because things stand out more that way. Your attention will be drawn to the pile of mail, or that glaringly blank wall. Sprusing up your space, even in tiny ways, will make every day a little sunnier.
14. Burn the nice candles
So, this is also one of those, "use it as it applies to you" recommendations. For years I had really nice candles that we never used because they were our "fancy candles". I can't tell you how many times we moved those candles from place to place, and kept them cooped up in a closet. I only realized how crazy I was, because Pat finally brought it up. The point is, burn the nice candles, use the nice linens, wear the fancy perfume, (all things I never did). Every day can be a special day, we're alive afterall! So, stop waiting your whole life to break out the fancy stuff. Make everyday an occaison to feel special.
15. Dance More
Simple as that. It's good for you and makes you feel good. Dance in your kitchen, dance in the grocery store, dance in the car. Just dance!
16. Go outside more
Sit in the sun and drink your morning coffee, read a book on a lazy afternoon, dine alfresco. Feel the wind on your face, sun on your skin, breath in the trees and the flowers, and listen to nature all around you. If you sit at a desk all day, and then go home and sit inside all night, you could use some outside time. I would even encourage you to try it without headphones on. Get all of your senses experiencing the beautiful outside world. Hear the crunch of leaves under your feet, birds singing, kids playing. Trust me, you'll feel good.
17. Be fearless
And last but not least, be fearless! Don't let another year just pass you by. Start doing the things you want, even if, no, especially if, they scare you. Make this the year you want it to be, and commit to making it so. While I believe that good things come to those who wait, you actually have to put in the work while you're waiting. Grab 2017 head on and dance the whole year through because of your awesomness!
OK! I want to know, what are your 2017 resolutions?! Let us know in the comments.
Make 2017 the best year ever!
A quick glance through travel posts and you'll find an endless list of suggestions on how to make travel more affordable. Take advantage of air miles, only pack a carry-on, couch surf....etc. There really are amazing ways to make travel very affordable and to work it into your budget if that's what you're passionate about.
What I find is more difficult than budgeting money for a trip is budgeting time for it. I'm sure I'm not alone in this. This article on America's War on Vacation shows the startling difference between the vacation time that American workers get compared to other developed nations in the world. The average American has 8.1 vacation days per year after their first year on the job. Compare this to France (the global leader in vacation days) who has 30 required vacation days a year.
What is even more startling is that despite the very few days we get as Americans, there are 175 million unused vacation days in a typical year! That's 479,452 YEARS worth of vacation days.
Why do we not take the little time that we do get? The reasons are probably endless, from busy family schedules, to the fear of taking time off impacting your ability to get that big promotion/project/raise, to just being so busy that you haven't taken the time to actually plan a vacation.
What makes these numbers even more depressing is the number of people who work while they are on vacation. 77 percent of people in a recent poll said that they worked while on vacation. I'll admit it, I'm terrible about this. I work on vacation, on weekends, in the middle of the night. I can't tell you how many times Pat said "are you working?" while we were in Aruba...what's wrong with me?!
To add on to this, many vacation policies stop accruing days or wipe out to zero at the end of the year or when you reach your max. Which means, you're essentially losing out on a huge benefit.
So, I want to issue a challenge. Take a look at how many unused vacation days you have and start planning. If you only earn a few days a year, and are thinking to yourself "I don't actually earn enough days to take a real vacation", there are plenty of strategies to make the most of it.
Time is a luxury, don't waste it, and no matter where you go, don't forget to travel happy!
Hey there Happy Travelers! I'm excited to bring you a guest post from Sean Tolliver, that's all about booking a sailing trip for your honeymoon. Which, to be honest, sounds amazing! Pat and I took a sailing course last year, and I've been dying to go on a sailing trip ever since.
Sean is a personal trainer turned freelance writer and traveler with an affinity for sailing and scuba diving, always on the lookout for new destinations to visit. An adventurous Californian, he prefers a nautical lifestyle, but when he's on dry land, you'll find him typing or planning his next big fishing trip, probably with a freshly brewed cup of coffee by his side.
Now, without further ado, I'll turn it over to Sean!
A cruise is awesome, but a private sailing trip for your honeymoon is unforgettable.
Newlyweds who are planning their honeymoon often include a dinner cruise or staying at a travel resort in their itinerary. And sure, you'll spend a lot of time outside, at a unique destination. Although there are a number of adventures to enjoy, sailing is a unique experience that is romantic and offers beautiful panoramic views while spending time on the water. Taking a sailboat out on the clear waters will allow you to gaze at a bright blue sky by day and stargaze while taking the boat out at night. When renting a sailboat on your honeymoon, I've got a couple of tips on how to select your route, book your trip, and pack.
First and most important tip: do your research! Seriously, Google everything, every question you might have, and look for others who have gone on a sailing trip for their honeymoon and see what they have to say.
Book a chartered yacht and just enjoy yourselves.
Take a fully-equipped yacht on the ocean where you can spend the day and night on your vessel in a secluded location. Many yachts come with quality bed linens, towels, and sunbathing platforms for plenty of luxury that can be enjoyed for several days out on the water. You can explore different destinations while traveling on the yacht for beautiful sites that make for an exciting trip. You'll get the chance to visit remote locations and wake up in a pristine bay each morning to enjoy water activities that include snorkeling, scuba diving, and swimming.
My suggestions? You can travel far away, but you don't have to, especially if you have a budget to think of. Sail across the Pacific or Atlantic Coast if you're in the States, and don't forget lakes as an option as well. Of course, there are amazing international destinations, such as France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Croatia, to name a few.
Give into hedonism. Treat yourselves!
There are additional honeymoon services available, such as fine wines and spirits provided onboard, beauty and spa treatments, and a full-time hostess and a full-time skipper to prepare meals. You can enjoy a high level of privacy while visiting different islands and can feel accommodated with a full-time staff that has separate living quarters on the sailboat and will respect your time alone as a couple. The crew will also offer their advice on the best scuba diving location or beach to visit while navigating the waters.
Don't pack too much. On a boat, pack light.
It's important to pack light while sailing on your honeymoon to avoid weighing down the boat and making it difficult to maneuver. Don't pack clothes that you'll maybe wear, pack what you definitely need. Be practical. Pack clothes that are warm to stay comfortable at night when the temperatures drop. You'll also need a few rain garments that will make it easier to stay dry in wet weather or storms that arrive. And like I said before, do your research, check out what kind of clothes you really need on your sailing trip.
It might not seem super important, but sailing is good for your health.
You can feel relaxed and rejuvenated during your honeymoon while taking a sailboat to different destinations due to the long list of health benefits that are associated with the activity. The salt that is in the air while out at sea contains ions that can increase the body's ability to absorb oxygen, which will balance serotonin levels to boost your mood throughout the day. You'll also have reduced stress levels due to the rhythmic movements of the boat, which can make it easier to sleep during the night for added rest.
Although taking a sailboat out on the water for your honeymoon will make it easy to relax and enjoy plenty of alone time, it's also a great way to stay physically active. Navigating a sailboat can reduce the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular health because it requires the hoisting of sails to direct the boat in different directions throughout the day. This can increase your muscle strength and make it easy to stay physically fit while spending several days away from land.
The bonds between the two of you will grow stronger.
Your communication skills will also improve as a couple while out at sea for a great way to kickstart your marriage. Sailing can make it easy to work as a team by discussing how to maneuver the boat in different types of weather. Both of you can have important roles on the boat while sailing to your desired destination. Yup, sailing is great for couples!
While sailing, you can increase your agility levels by pulling lines and hoisting each sail frequently, which is proven to improve motor skills and increase hand-eye coordination. The activity will also make it easy to learn how to increase your ability to rely on your instincts and limit your reliance on technology to make decisions. Basically, you'll rely on each other.
Sailing could quickly become your favorite hobby.
Those who choose to spend their honeymoon on a sailboat can adopt the activity as a newfound hobby that can be enjoyed for many years to come – I've seen this happen, as I've been a crew member on such sailing trips. It becomes a mutual hobby, and couples continue to go sailing for years and years. Although, I have to mention this, many people are intimidated by the idea of navigating a vessel, but it doesn't have to be a complicated activity. Beginner sailing schools can make it easy to become experienced before the honeymoon to ensure that you feel comfortable hoisting the sails and evaluating the weather conditions.
Couples can stay mentally and physically fit because it's an active hobby that requires plenty of concentration and movement. Sailing can increase cognitive function with age and will reduce the risk of dementia. It is even known to boost confidence levels and make it easier to become more independent because it requires plenty of self-reliance. It's another topic, but I've seen business people become office leaders after group sailing excursions.
Those who choose to partake in sailing as a hobby will also have the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the boat. From the port to the starboard, there are a number of parts of a sailboat that are quickly learned while spending your honeymoon on the water.
Should it be just the two of you, or should you hire a crew?
Short answer: Hire a crew. Those who are inexperienced should rent a chartered boat with crew members. That way, newlyweds can learn how to sail without taking any risks, the crew is there to keep everyone safe. Okay, if one of you is a sailing expert, then you’re good, but keep in mind that you also need time for romance! You don't need a huge crew, but two experts would indeed help you out a lot, and wouldn't affect your privacy. Professionals know when they're needed, and when they should get out of the way.
Remember, it's supposed to be fun!
Sailing is a lot of fun. Sure, it can be dangerous, but that's why you have to be prepared. It's adventurous, sometimes risky. Actually, it's a lot like marriage. The most important thing is, know what you're getting into before actually doing it. Take a course, hire a crew, see if it's something that both of you would enjoy. If it is, you're in for a journey of a lifetime, and your sailing honeymoon could very well be the
I want to give a big thank you to Sean for sharing this post with us and for sparking some great ideas for you soon to be honeymooners! I think honeymoon or not, a sailing trip would be an incredible adventure for anyone.
What about you? What's your idea of an ideal romantic adventure?
No matter, where you're off to, don't forget to travel happy!
Hi there! I'm Skeeter. I grew up moving a lot and that makes me a bit restless for travel and exploration. I started this blog with my husband Pat when we decided to backpack New Zealand for a year. We are always looking for the next adventure and are loving life. We're just your average couple with two sassy dogs and a love for travel. We're sharing our travels and the tips we pick up along the way.
Hello! I'm Liz. Blogging is very new to me, but I'm so excited to finally write as much as I talk!
"Don't forget to travel happy"-Skeeter & Liz