Capture the "New Year New You" energy of this time of year! Us humans love NEW, it fascinates and engages us so go ahead and lean into it! Buy journals, new pens, and stockpile all of those lists about New Habits, New Nutrition, New Self-Care, and then dole them out to yourself over the course of 2024 because...
It's okay if a new plan works for a month and then you stop sticking to it...
you can try a new one at the start of the next month: New Month New Me!
You haven't failed at a year-long resolution, you've enjoyed a month-long success! Now you're onto the next one! You will find some things that will stick because you like them and they're do-able, AND you can keep searching for new healthy habits that work for you. I'm going to stockpile my list here, starting with the New York Times's Six-Day Energy Challenge, which incorporates mindfulness, exercise, nutrition, relationships, 'flow state,' and motivation.
Definitely listen to Dan Harris's Ten Percent Happier podcast on The Science of Making — and Keeping — New Year’s Resolutions with Hal Hershfield, full of great ideas and tools for making changes. Bonus: Dan refers to an earlier podcast with Katy Milkman on fresh starts -- just what we're talking about! -- check that out here.
Ten Percent Happier is also offering a free 14 day Imperfect Meditation Challenge -- a great way to start a meditation practice!
Here is Time Magazine's Nine Mental Health Resolutions from therapists. My favorite suggestion, and one I make to clients repeatedly: schedule time into your day for the activities you want to undertake. Free time rarely falls into our laps, so we have got to carve out time on the calendar for 5 minute refresh breaks, or 10 minute walks, or one hour per week for continuing education.
I'm taking this DailyOm course, A Year to Clear What Is Holding You Back! and am appreciating instructor Stephanie Bennett Vogt's daily "slow drip" practice -- just little bits to reflect on daily. That feels do-able, rather than a huge weekend project which I don't have the time or energy for right now! (Maybe I will later, after finishing the Times challenge!)
Essential reading for meeting people and making friends in the Globe: But have you tried volunteering? How to make friends in a virtual age (text of this paywall article copied below)
I'll keep adding the good stuff as I find it because we have 11 more months for
New Month New Me!
Boston’s online social groups facilitate real-life meetups so you don’t have to join a book group or do yoga
to make friends.
By Kajsa Kedefors Globe Correspondent,Updated January 4, 2024, 10:00 a.m.
Let’s be blunt: Making new friends as an adult is hard. The plethora of books and online guides seeking to solve your social woes tells all. Even GoodRx, the company that helps Americans save on prescriptions, has a guide to making friends. It’s a health thing, it argues. Everyone needs a gang.
But more often than not, the advice is less than revelatory: Join a yoga class, or maybe a book club. Have you tried volunteering?
For the most part, people know where to meet people. The real challenge is actually going out and meeting them.
In a post-COVID landscape, the world has turned online. By 2025, an estimated 32.6 million employees in the United States, or 22 percent of the workforce, will work remotely, according to Forbes. This uniquely 21st-century form of isolation has left a hole in which, with some irony, internet social groups on Facebook and Meetup can flourish.
While the prospect of leaving your house alone to meet strangers at a bar might be intimidating, Boston’s social group organizers say it’s less scary than you think.
“I usually have at least one person every weekend asking if it’s OK to surf solo [at events] and yes, most people do,” said Lucian Gerardi, 30, who spoke to the Globe from Las Vegas.
Gerardi, an accountant and an unofficial kingpin in the Boston online friend-making scene, has a hand in multiple groups across platforms, each with thousands of members, including “Make Friends After College (Boston, Somerville, Cambridge, Etc) 20′s-30′s” on Facebook, “It’s a Vibe Tribe 20′s, 30′s 40′s” on Meetup, and “F*ck it I’m Social BOSTON - Meet New 20s/30s EVERY WEEKEND,” also on Meetup. Gerardi plugs events in Discord channels as well.
He helps organize nights out to bars and clubs such as Moxy, Nash Bar & Stage, ICON Nightclub, and Royale. Other coordinators have hosted events such as karaoke at Stage Karaoke, arcade night at Roxy’s Arcade, and a recent ugly sweater party at The Liberty Hotel.
Gerardi says the events, attended by roughly 30 to 100 people depending on the season, are split “half and half” between people attending with friends, and those who come alone. And he advises the solo fliers to get there early.
“Don’t show up right before we leave for a nightclub,” he said. The beginning of the evening, when the group meets at a bar before heading to the club, he noted, is when people form connections.
Selena Hamilton, 25, lives with her husband in Hyde Park. A member of Gerardi’s Facebook group, Hamilton said in her introduction post, “I can’t just walk up to a stranger at the store and be like, ‘I like your shirt. Want to hang out?’ So this [group] is such a cool thing.”
"Boston Babes," a Facebook group with over 3.6k members organizes gatherings such as nights out, picnics, book club meets, parties and brunches.
Rebekah King, 25, who lives in Brighton, founded the Facebook social group “Boston Babes” last November after she moved to the area from Arizona. King was searching for roommates online. After meeting a slew of women from Facebook housing groups also new to Boston, she thought, ‘Why don’t we just be friends?’
King puts in three to five hours per week organizing events for “Boston Babes,” which has more than 3,900 members. Past events have included a night out at the Prudential rooftop, house parties, hiking, professional development, and networking with cocktails.
Over the summer, they picnicked every weekend at the Public Garden and the Esplanade, and played card games such as “We’re Not Really Strangers.”
Depending on the event, the turnout is typically 10 to 50 women. Even when King doesn’t have an event planned for the evening, she said, “Girls in the group will always be like, ‘I want to go on a boat cruise, I’m going on Friday, want to come?’ Like five girls will go out and do that.
“I think there’s a lot of people that feel like the world is hopeless. Like they’re just stuck and alone and sad. But I’ve been out of that rut ever since I’ve been doing events like this because every time I go out, I’m reminded of how amazing people are.”
Joann Lautenbach, an organizer for Meetup’s “Boston Professionals Social Group” (BPSG), laughs when asked how old she is. She says she doesn’t answer that question, but that she’s over 65.
“Sitzundjibers,” a private social club with a $250 annual membership, sponsors the free BPSG Meetup group for active, single Boston-area residents over 45, which hosts at least two events per month. In August, the group traveled to Ipswich for a kayaking trip. They frequent live music events, and throw annual Super Bowl bashes. Last spring, members organized a three-week trip to Vietnam.
For those wary of the term “singles group,” Lautenbach says not to worry. “It’s not a dating group.”
Groups of roughly 30 to 50 who attend events are a mix of entrepreneurs, realtors, retirees, and people who work in finance, management and marketing, among other fields. People attend events from as far as Rhode Island and New Hampshire, and the most active members are in their 50s and 60s, though many are older.
“Everybody really is active [and] likes to do things,” said Lautenbach. ”I’m pretty social. I don’t want to sit at home by myself.”
The Brookline resident says she’s built strong friendships during her time with the group. “Sometimes you have a medical issue or something, [and] your family doesn’t live in the area. There’s always people you can count on.”
Despite their age differences, most of the social coordinators agreed on one thing: Connection isn’t easy.
“I know there are a lot of articles now about being lonely and not getting out. Well, you have to work at it,” said Lautenbach.
“It’s a lot of work to make friends in Boston as an adult,” she said. “Stick with it. Keep it up, and you’ll find your people.”