Monday, December 30, 2013

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How To: Carry Out Your New Year's Resolutions

             Ladies, gentlemen, it's that time of the year where you go to your family reunion, or hang out with your friends, and you see everybody screaming their resolutions to the world, because, of course, if you say it to everybody you might as well do it, huh? Well, here are some of the most common resolutions, according to Time Magazine, and here's how you actually do them. 

10: "I want to lose weight and get fit!"

           Sure you do, lady. Last year you went on five diets which somehow didn't work and you're ready to up the ante again and make a sacrifice for a couple of weeks. Maybe you'll even hit the gym and as a reward drink a light mocha, with whipped cream, of course. 

            Here's how you do it. Move your head sideways. Do this every time you're offered food. Of course, you can't refuse food all the time, you'll die. Just measure your portions and count your calories, at least in the beginning. Then, it becomes natural. Of course, try eating less portion of fattening foods and you should be good. Also, try exercising at least once every two days. It's better than nothing. 

9: "I want to quit smoking!"

             This might be one of the harder ones, and if food can become an addiction for some, this habit could be more difficult to quit. What many do is try to gradually lower their cigs by the day. This might work, but you must be careful not to binge smoke when you've made progress. If you're going to shock your way out of it, then make sure you go to a sauna or exercise a lot; that way, you'll sweat the nicotine quicker.

8: "I want to learn something new!"

Delve into the art of extreme violin.
            I still don't understand how people can fail this one in a whole year. It's really simple. Pick up a book about whatever it is you want to read. Sign in for lessons, be it some instrument, language, or maybe even a college course, online or physically. This is, fortunately, one of the easier resolutions to keep. 

7: "I want to eat healthier and diet!"

            If you're going out almost on the daily, than this one can be a tough habit to kick, but try going to the supermarket more often and cook your own meals. This one does work better if you take it gradually. It also helps if you spend some time surfing websites with healthy and delicious food recipes (Trust me, they exist and they aren't all greens).

6: "I want to get out of debt and save money!"

          Everybody kind of likes spending money. Hell, I'm guilty as charged. But there are simple ways to go about this one. Either you get a better job, a promotion (Discuss it with your boss, be assertive) or spend less, and pay your bills. Don't donate money, don't eat out (It's a lot cheaper to cook your own meals) try printing coupons or searching for promotions online, there's always something, and just make it all a habit.

5: "I'm going to spend more time with my family!"

           This one's really difficult if you're the man of the household and you're busting your ass with more than one job, or working overtime to be able to feed those hungry mouths. Kudos to you. If possible, try taking some errands home, and at least you can work while you spend time with your family. Granted, it's not the best choice, but it's better than nothing. If that's not the case, and you're fully capable of spending time go visit them, then just do it. Designate some time to visit them, after all, your friends should be able to give you a couple of hours.

4: "I want to travel to new places!"

           If you're struggling with number six, then I suggest you hold this one off until the next year. If not, then fret not, just make sure you get vacation time (If you have a family, make sure it coincides with everybody's vacation time) and travel somewhere you've never gone before. It could be a road trip, a cruise ship, a faraway country, a nearby country, hell, a neighboring state, the world's full of wonderful places and you'll be missing out if you're not keeping up with this resolution. 

3: "I want to be less stressed!"

              I'll give you this one, the world's full of stupid people. They stress me out a lot, but remember, most of them don't give a shit about you and neither should you give a rat's ass about them. If you've got a problem, and you can fix it, don't worry. If you can't fix it, don't worry. You control 100% of the shit that you can control so don't fret about everything else and just take a breather and remember that. Hakuna Matata or whatever works for you. 

2: "I want to volunteer!"

            This one can be simple. You could take a couple of hours every weekend and find out how your community needs help, whether it's a wandering orphan who could have his day made with a sandwich or a dog that can be taken to a rescue center. If you're looking for something more organized, ask around, chances are your friends are in some cause you could help in. Granted, this is simpler in high school or college, but it wouldn't hurt to ask your work buds either.

1: "I want to drink less!"

            Ah, alcohol, liquid ecstasy from the gods. If you can manage only!? a glass of wine or (good) beer a day then you're managing pretty well. There's always going to be an ocassional party and hell, almost everybody binges once or twice. If you're doing more than that, then yes, you've got a problem, but it can be fixed. This is going to piss off health junkies but try changing beers into sodas. For cocktails, you can gradually lower the alcoholic content and then change to lemonades or kool-aids. The idea is to get used to other beverages instead of alcohol. If the objective isn't to cut it out completely, this could do. If it is, then get help with the AA, bud. 

        In the end, getting your resolutions actually done amounts to gritting your teeth and actually doing something to change whatever you're doing. If you're feeling discomfort, then it's good, because it's a catalyst of change. Good luck with the next year, everybody, and I hope you'll actually work for your wishes. This time. For real. 


Thursday, December 5, 2013

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Admirable People: Nelson Mandela

         Today is one of the most tragic days I've lived to witness. The South African peace advocate, Nelson Mandela, known to many as Madiba, has just passed away after passing five months in a critical health condition. His life serves as an inspiration to those who want to improve the world through peace instead of force. 

        He took upon the task of eliminating the legacy of apartheid from social and political life in South Africa, and went on to become the first black president of the country. 27 years of his life were spent in prison, where, around the world, he became known as a bringer of peace. There was an international campaign which lobbied for his release, which was granted in 1990. 

         What's admirable is that even in the face of adversity, he prevented the use of violence. He was inspired by figures such as Mohandas Gandhi and Karl Marx, which provoked criticism from Right-Wing politicians and supporters. During his revolutionary acts, which were completely peaceful, and unsuccessful at first, he had to betray his principles and request arms to make a statement, which goes to show that even the best have to get their hands dirty sometimes. In fact, as soon as he found out that the resistance was creating violence, he set out to negotiate with the government to end it.

           Then, in 1994, after having gone through hell, he became president, and although he had gained many friends he felt alone. He was a simple man, donating one third of his earnings to the Nelson Mandela Children's fund. He also took upon the task of national reconciliation and increased welfare spending a few times. Although the country isn't perfect, he certainly improved it to a great extent. 

           He was known for criticizing the greater powers, for example, the intervention in Kosovo or the war in Iraq; he didn't think it was in those countries' rights to police the rest of the world. He is a man whose legacy will forever be remembered, among the ranks of great pacifists like Gandhi, Luther King, and all those who have come before him advocating for the use of reason and not force to solve problems. 

         I see him great in the sense that Ernesto Guevara was great, the sense that education is something that can change the world for the better, as, these men knew, those who are educated cannot be manipulated as easily as others. This is important to prevent a government from becoming totalitarian or otherwise oppressive. 

Madiba, may you rest in peace and may the world follow your example.