Ready to recharge your routine in the new year? Here's how to make the most of every day between Monday and Saturday.
Monday: Take back the morning
6:30 a.m. While most of us are hitting snooze, then stumbling out of bed clamoring for coffee, Carrie Sloan is bobbing in San Francisco Bay in her tank suit, goggles, and chin-strap cap. The 33-year-old belongs to the Dolphin Club-a swimming and boating club dating back to 1877-where the unwritten law, even in 50° water, is no wetsuits. Starting the day with a swim is a way to reboot her mind, get inspired, and play before sitting down at her desk. It's sort of like carving out a reverse happy hour. But swap the margarita for sea lions and views of Alcatraz.
- Lengthen the a.m. : An early start can "make you feel the exhilaration of your own aliveness," Sloan says.
- Use MAPS: MAPS (that is, meaning, authenticity, purpose, strengths) activities help develop inner contentment, says Aymee Coget, CEO of the American Happiness Association. Swim, learn a language, or join a cause.
- Give it time: Most habits, including getting up early, form within 21 to 30 days, Coget states, but give yourself 90 days. Once a habit is formed, you could respond like Sloan: "Days I don't swim, I feel I've been cheated."
Tuesday: Call it the new Saturday
Folks place too much importance on waiting until the weekend for get-togethers, says Ivy Entrekin, a personal chef in Portland. So midweek, Entrekin organizes "block dinners," aka potlucks, with neighbors. Some contribute homegrown produce instead of cooking; others bring simple foods like freshly picked blackberries or chocolate bars. Four days is such a long stretch to wait for a friend's meal, she says. "Having something to look forward to midweek gives me a little more momentum to push on through. It's a necessary exhale that we sometimes forget to take." Mingle on work nights. It can be as simple as ordering a pizza and making a salad, but Entrekin has other tactics for pulling off a dinner party.
- Choose a theme: It's fun and it gives people a starting point. With a "rainbow potluck," everyone brings a dish in an assigned color; a chocolate-themed potluck relies on dishes both sweet (one-bowl brownies) and savory (three-bean chili with cocoa).
- Serve buffet-style: Those stuck in the commute can feel at ease if they arrive late.
- Share cleanup tasks: Have guests wash their own plates as they leave.
- Make your dish on Sunday or Monday before the party: Entrekin's favorite do-ahead dessert: fruit crisp started in a slow-cooker in the morning and finished under the broiler to crisp the topping. Add scoops of ice cream.
See more ways to reboot your work week
The West's best wellness retreats
10 ways to eat healthier this year
15 fresh ways to display your art
How to live without waste
DIY yard makeover