On the morning of New Year’s Day, the Grand Canyon received a perfect dusting of crisp snow, transforming the already-gorgeous park into a wintry paradise. National Park Service staff members captured stunning photos of the snowstorm’s aftermath including panorama shots, which you can see more of here. What a magical start to the year! [Neatorama] [Images via Grand Canyon National Park]
I was surrounded by wonderful people and lots of champagne this New Year’s Eve, but I wasn’t really in the New Year’s spirit as the clock struck midnight. This year included some not-so-great stuff that I should’ve been thrilled to say goodbye to (and so many wonderful moments too), but something about 2014 didn’t feel over yet. I wasn’t ready to let it go. The end of the year snuck up on me, and as it would happen, even midnight itself arrived with no warning as the neighborhood celebration we’d gathered at forgot to start a countdown in time. Seeing the excited faces around me in the first minutes of the year made me happy too, but I wasn’t as energized for a fresh start as I usually am. The idea that I could scrub clean the hard times and losses of loved ones this year and wake up on the 1st having pushed a reset button just seemed ridiculous. But life keeps moving forward whether we want it to or not, and we should seize every opportunity we can even when we don’t feel ready for them — maybe even especially when we don’t. I have a lot to be grateful for, and even the most seemingly arbitrary new beginnings are a gift. I want to be as full of joy as I can be in 2015, and I want the same for you. Here are some teeny tiny ways to put an extra spring in your step, in January and every other month of the year.
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Gallup’s annual worldwide End Of Year survey interviewed over 64,000 people from 65 countries and asked them, among other things, whether they were happy with their lives. Despite how terribly world events played out in 2014, the world was 10 percent happier than in 2013, with 70 percent of participants reporting that they’re pleased with their lives! This week I’d been feeling less optimistic than usual about the whole New Year’s shebang, and news like this is exactly what I needed to hear to feel a bit brighter about 2015. Even more awesome is that only six percent of participants said they were unhappy with their lives, which is an improvement from the 12 percent who said so last year. The survey also discovered the happiest and unhappiest countries in the world. I’d assumed the happiest country would be someplace like Sweden or Denmark that always seems to rank high in well-being studies. As it would happen, the answer is even more obvious than that — paradise!
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I don’t like the concept of New Year’s resolutions for the obvious reasons: they make us feel terrible about ourselves, they’re unrealistic, they allow fitness/diet/beauty companies to encroach on our insecurity and suck the life out of us, and they imply that the only time you can change your life is when a new year begins. They’re way too all-or-nothing and presume that if you slip up three days into your “new life plan” you’re a huge failure who will never have a better life. No thanks. I think most of us spend enough time beating ourselves up already, so there’s no need for an annual cultural tradition dedicated to more of that. I’m all about personal improvement, on January 1 or any other day of the year, so I think it’s more the “resolution” label that bugs me than the act of setting goals itself. What I can handle instead of resolutions is the idea of setting intentions. Intentions are more abstract and have more to do with the attitude you carry with you every day than setting distinct cold-turkey goals, and even if your intention is a concrete goal, referring to it as something other than a dreaded resolution has to be better for the psyche somehow, right? I have lots of random goals for 2015, but my biggest intention is to be more emotionally honest. I’m not referring to honesty in terms of a tendency to lie to people’s faces about literal facts or dropping hurtful truthbombs in their faces, though that’s probably not an ideal life choice either – not that I’m judging! What I need more of in my life is honesty with myself and others about how I really feel about things and what I really want.
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So, you want to get your stuff organized in 2015 but you have no idea where to start? I feel you. I’m the kind of person who has a tendency to look at a mess, start panicking, and then ignore it so that I can just stop panicking. It takes every iota of strength I have to just put my stuff away sometimes.
That being said, it really is a worthy resolution. Having a home or workspace (or in my case, both) that’s tidy, efficient, and streamlined saves time and emotional output. Once you have your spaces organized, it’s easier to find the things you need, it’s easier to put things back where they belong, and it’s easier to relax and enjoy your life, knowing that there isn’t a pile of junk six feet to your left that you really should be taking care of. Life moves freely and faster when you don’t have messes to jump over. Keep reading »
Whether you’re being dragged out on the town this New Year’s when you’d rather be on the couch or are hosting a big bash, it’s good fashion karma (that’s a thing right?) to ring in 2015 in an outfit you love. Click through for 12 budget-friendly New Year’s dresses…