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by Cristina Filipescu

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. Mostly because they put an unnecessary pressure on becoming this “new person”, doing all of these “new things” which is why a lot of people fall off the wagon in the first place. I am constantly striving to be a better person and I strongly believe self improving is an outgoing project. As a matter of fact, our biggest project is ourselves. Goals are better. And this is what I’m going to talk about: small goals I’ve set up over the years.

Learning how to play an instrument. Learning how to play the bass was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It opened up a whole new world for me. Unlike playing brain games, playing an instrument is a rich and complex experience. Music stimulates the brain in a powerful way as it’s integrating information from vision, hearing and touch. Playing made me have an easier bond with people, it created friendships. It’s a stress reliever and it makes me happy.

Learning a new language. I’ve never been to Brazil. I hear great stories about growing up there, dancing and going to the Rio Carnival every year from one of my best friends, Leila – who’s originally from Brazil and I promised myself I’m going to surprise her one day and start speaking to her in Portuguese. I’ve been trying to learn it for the past 6 months (on and off, it’s true), so this year I’m planning to spend more time training my brain and less time watching the always tempting Netflix.

Self-care matters. It’s so important to make sure you take good care of your body, mind, and soul every day, not just when you get sick. Practicing self-care isn’t always easy. Most of us are busy, have stressful jobs, or are too consumed with technology to make time for ourselves. For me, actual me-time is usually last on the agenda.

Take up dance lessons. This has been on my to-do list for the past 5 years. I’ve taken it off my list and then put it back on for so many times, it got tiring. I’ve tried to find so many excuses from my lack of spare time to not being fit enough. But truth is I was scared. Scared to be uncomfortable. Scared to fail. So I’m going to embrace my fear and take up salsa lessons.

Getting a cat has been another great decision I’ve made. There’s a reason why there is so much scientifically proven research about how having a pet can reduce stress and anxiety levels. And let me tell you – it’s all true.

So if you’re like me too and don’t make New Year’s resolutions I’m here to tell you: it’s okay. You don’t have to. A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there. Take baby steps and try to improve your life one day at a time.

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