Off The Wall

December 28, 2012
BY Maayan Jaffe

End of the year or a new beginning?

That is the question many of us will ask ourselves next week when the clock strikes midnight and the year 2013 commences.

In the past, like many in American society, I would make New Year’s resolutions.

“This year, I am going to spend more time with family.”

“This year, I am going to spend more time helping others.”

Great goals. Too lofty.

I have actually stopped making New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I take baby steps toward achieving a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life.

This was my husband’s idea. He wanted to lose weight, but he couldn’t force himself to diet. Instead, he stopped eating dessert in August. In September, he dropped chips and other salty-crunchy snacks. One month, he added in biking for five minutes a day.

He encouraged me to get started, too.

Weight is not my issue, but I have plenty of ways I can improve.

The first month, I went easy on myself. I reduced the number of Sweet’N Low packets I put in my coffee from two to one. This month, I stopped skipping breakfast and lunch and grabbing energy bars (or yogurt, or pastries or coffee) from 7-Eleven. I bring my lunch — homemade salads and fat-free yogurts and bananas — every day now. I feel better, and I am saving a lot of money, too.

The baby-steps concept has worked its way into the physical walls of my house. Last week, I painted a backsplash wall in my living room … orange. Not just any orange, but a vibrant, deep and inviting orange. I love it.

My family and close friends were a little taken aback by the whole process; I’ve always preached neutral colors like tan and white and cream. Indistinct colors blend into the background, are proper. But I decided I want my personality to be better reflected in my house. I want to arrive home after a long day at the office and be newly inspired by my surroundings.

According to WikiAnswers, orange means passion, energy, happiness, enthusiasm, fascination, creativity, determination, attraction, success and stimulation. It can also mean you are independent and ambitious and ready to tackle a challenge.

I am orange — or at least that is what I strive to be. By painting my wall orange (and by purchasing several months ago — in orange — a couch and a large mirror that hangs above my fireplace), I am being true to myself.

The rest of my house, of course, is still painted in the same, uniform, neutral cream. All other furniture is brown.  And I use way too much creamer in my coffee (have you ever read the ingredients?!).
But I know I can improve.

In January, I think I’ll start taking yoga again — doing one small thing for myself. In February, I will focus on drinking eight ounces of water per day … and maybe I will paint my playroom walls with whiteboard paint so my children can immerse themselves in enormous creativity. And I won’t even erase their drawings at the end of the day!

I want to take these small steps now, so that on Jan. 1, 2014, New Year’s is not a beginning or an end, but simply a continuation of a life well lived.