The New York Narrative’s Guide to 2016

Hi Everyone,

Being a good person, and staying a good person, is pretty high on my list of daily priorities. While I love sass and a good sense of snark, nasty people do nothing for me. There’s no need for it and it’s really just a turn off. I don’t care if you’re a smokin’ hot athlete with a 10-pack, if you’re a jabronie, buh-bye.

With a new month and a new year upon us it’s hard not to think of New Year’s resolutions, things you want to improve, and a general reevaluation of everything in your life. Whether you’re a resolutions person or not, a new year is a great excuse to make some personal improvements. Hence the (hopefully) helpful tips and tricks below.

This is not meant to be preach-y or Gwyneth Paltrow-y, but an encouragement to be the best you you can be, doing what’s important and best for you. Something that has always been very important to me is personal wellness both mentally and physically for not only myself but everyone around me. I find a lot of people make January 1st a kickoff of sorts for change but let’s be honest: the month of January is basically 31 days of post-holiday sluggish adjustment and extra lb’s.

On a personal note, 2015 was definitely not my year. It was a tough one, and for reasons I don’t feel the need to elaborating on, just know it was a year of one thing after another. A landslide if you will, but with the help of wonderful friends and family (and a great therapist) I came out the other side just fine if not a bit better of a person.

I hadn’t really felt like the person I knew I was for 26 years. Turning 27 last year didn’t mean much which is unfortunate because I feel pretty accomplished, very lucky, and especially fortunate for everything I have. After a generous amount of of reflection and meditation, I’ve decided I’d like to greet 28, and all of 2016, in the best most positive way possible.

I’ve pulled together a list that I hope will be helpful, inspirational, and if applied to your everyday life will enhance how amazing you really are. It ranges from health, fitness, beauty, all the way to what’s really important in our relationships. There’s no reason 2016 can’t be your year. It’s a fun read, so enjoy!

— Christian

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Peace and love from The New York Narrative

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I have been very, very hesitant to write a post like this in fear of coming off too much like Goop-y herself Gwyneth Paltrow. I figured inserting humor would the be the right approach as it’s so much more me and really my approach to everything. Humorless people bug me.

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I have also been apprehensive about using Gif’s in my posts so not to come off like a Buzzfeed list (I love a Buzzfeed Gif filled list), but seeing as I use a Gif as a general response to most text’s and E-Mails, the time felt right. Everything in moderation.

Whenever I encounter someone who has a New Year’s resolution or a “January 1st goal,” I can’t help but chuckle…it’s not realistic.

People set ridiculous, and generally damaging, resolutions for themselves that make you go, “Oh…okay, yeah…um…sure you can totally do that.”

I, like my role model/favorite Designer/future husband Tom Ford, do not believe in resolutions. Future hubby said it best, “I believe in living life the way that you want to live it every day, and if you do that, you don’t really need to have New Year’s resolutions.”

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Let’s not pretend between the lengthy holiday season, New Years Eve, and this most recent storm Jonas (which was not Nick, Joe, or Kevin) binge eating and drinking didn’t happen. The hibernation aspect of the snow alone prolonged any kind of 2016 goal you set for yourself.

FITNESS

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For some, this is the hardest thing to incorporate into their everyday routine. I personally really like to work out; it gives me energy for the day, it’s the only hour of the day I don’t have to talk to anyone, it lets me enjoy whatever tunes I am into at the moment, and if you work hard enough you see great results.

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I am fortunate enough that I don’t need a trainer as I am a pretty good self motivator (we all have our moments though). If that’s not your bag, try out a trainer or grab a buddy and hit the gym. The trainer thing can be expensive but trying it out for a bit will give you the motivation you need. I also have quite a bit of self motivation because come May I have a Fire Island house with many of the boys featured in both New York Series. Being a single Girl or Gay in this city can be exhausting at times…

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Incorporating something new like Aerial Yoga or joining Classpass is a good way to mix  up your fitness routine. Boredom prevents productive fitness. You can change this.

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Pole dancing also seems really fun, but apparently comes with many a bruise.

Motivating your friends and loved ones around you, especially if you’re as codependent as my friends and I, is just as important. Everyone wants to feel supported and if you’re always around one another this is very, very easy to do.

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Be nice about it though. Everyone’s psyche is a little different and if someone took the yelling approach with me, I may knock them out on the spot. Find your angle, people.

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There’s really no excuse for sheer laziness. Keeping yourself in shape is one of the most important things you can do, and owe, to yourself.

NUTRITION, ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION, GENERALLY EATING BETTER 

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Looking for healthy alternatives can be incredibly frustrating. Things tend to get repetitive—how many times can you have grilled chicken and veggies?—and the thought of a bland lunch makes you want to cry your eyes out. Ask friends what they do when they want to be a bit healthier or just do a little research. There are also so many healthy slow cooker recipes which is also a huge time saver.

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Less Seamless more grocery shopping would do us all a world of good. Frequenting places like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods (granted the latter is not as affordable) is also a great source of inspiration.

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Sometimes it really is hard to eat healthy. Just remember the outcome and how better you’ll feel after you get into a groove. Oh, and you’ll look light-years more confident in a bathing suit. Word to the wise: Summer bodies are made in Winter.

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Don’t forget to take your vitamins, your PrEP, your birth control, whatever: just remember to take your daily “things.” They boost your immunity and protect you, folks.

09bb0167d7c6c94f7f4b03ffb3fb43b8That said, please allow yourself some indulgences every once and a while. A little cheat day never hurt anybody. Your soul and sanity will thank you for it.

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There’s also nothing wrong with a little Friday night happy hour with the Girls and Gays. Just remember, like most Doctors will tell you, clear liquids are totally fine and 100% preferred. Especially with extra lime.

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Blowing off some steam at the end of the week is a basic human right.

FINANCES

Going out and throwing money right out the window leads us to everyone’s least favorite “I need to fix this” of the year: finances. Let’s all be honest, unless you bank all your checks, sit home every night twiddling your thumbs, and are a total recluse, no one is the most responsible person with their money.

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Especially being single with a great friend group in New York City, you’ll be doing this come Monday looking at your bank statement. It never fails: cable, rent, and your credit card bills have all been taken out of your account at the exact time you’ve raged all weekend. Somehow this is never, ever your fault though.

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Some people can budget, I find this to be a geographical exception. If you live in a major city, that is near impossible. Of it you’re just in your twenties—being an adult is rough and unexpected costs always occur. But if you can budget and stick to a budget, seriously applause goes your way. Oh, and way out of control ridiculous rent is always a factor.

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All we can do is our best. Right? That may sound a bit aloof, but if you try to bring lunch over buying, try to stay in until the weekend (this is not easy), and don’t spend like a psychopath, you’re on the right path.

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No matter how hard you try, you’ll be doing what Michelle Tanner is doing here. But if you try your very best you’ll feel a little less guilty scrounging up quarters for happy hour…

REST AND RELAXATION

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There isn’t much else to say here: you need to sleep more, rest more, and relax more. Take a yoga class, do a face mask, get Botox if that’s your thing…whatever you need to do in order to show up Monday morning not looking like a zombie. Appearances aren’t everything, but you don’t want to look like the walking dead.

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If you do this, and drink 10,000 glasses of water throughout your day, you’ll feel and look like a million bucks. Plus you’ll be hydrated and feel much, much better about whatever poor choices you’ve made 24 hours before. No one is perfect, remember that.

Catching up on bad TV and watching that Oscar nominated movie you’ve been putting off since 2002 is also a great way to make yourself chill out. Do not feel guilty about embracing the laziness every once and while. This also keeps you indoors a little— which is hard to do, especially in NYC— and can curb some of your spending. Just try to not eat too much of that pizza and iced cream Lorelai Gilmore is suggesting above.

Above all, make sure you have a work life-balance. Whether you’re a good multitasker or not, this is a difficult fete. Making room for friends, love, hobbies, and sleep is just as important as being employed. It makes you a better employee, in fact. Also: they give you sick days for a reason. If you’re sick, stay home. Do you want to be the jerk who gets your whole office sick? Also, think of all that Netflix and chill you can embrace.

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I don’t know about you, but I can’t get out of my own way in the morning. You’d think I have 4 hours before work to work out, make breakfast, enjoy a french press, watch the news, and pick an outfit out like Cher in “Clueless.” That is not the case. I have about 2 hours to do all that before I have to be in the office and be productive. Being more punctual is something we should all strive for—how annoyed do you get when a date is late? Apply this thinking to everything and you’ll be on time.

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Oh, and patience. We all need more patience. There’s something to slowing down and taking it all in…so I’ve heard…

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But when you do go out, have a great time with great people and great music. There’s no exception here. Enjoy yourself.

UNPLUGGING AND GETTING BACK TO REALITY

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Everyone, and I mean everyone, is guilty of this: we are all glued to our screens. If there’s one thing we all, and I mean all, need to do is to detach from devices. I’d give anything to be the kind of person that doesn’t have to have their phone next to them when they sleep.

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Technology is amazing but it’s also incredibly frustrating especially when Mercury is in Retrograde. Which seems like always. Instagram, Facebook, Bumble, Grindr, Tinder, The New York Narrative, whatever, will be there in an hour. Put your phone down for a little bit. It will not kill you. Promise.

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Also, and this is a lot coming from me, but we don’t have to document everything. There’s no need for ten selfie’s a week. We could all use a little less documentation and a lot less narcissism. Also if you are taking a selfie please make sure your toilet seat is down…

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Remember books? You should read more. I love to read and I 100% choose technology or activities over reading. There’s something to just sitting with a good book, coffee (and/or bourbon), and some tunes playing while you get lost in a good book.

BE THE BEST YOU YOU CAN BE 

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Circling back to the whole New Year’s resolution thing, instead of that, just be the best person you can be for yourself and for the people in your life. Trying new things and stepping out of your comfort zone is incredible important and something we should all do. You won’t excel at everything but you can certainly try.

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I’ve been thinking of enrolling in a sign language class. I used to have this skill when I was younger and because I didn’t keep it up, saying I’m rusty is an understatement. Look, this is something that may not happen this year but it is something I want to do that could help others. If you’re going the “resolution” route, something that helps someone else is a pretty good approach.

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The whole cliche of you being your own toughest critic is true. That is why it’s a cliche. Duh. Sticking with something and doing your best is all you can do. Listen to future Doctor Strange, Benedict Cumberbatch. That’s some seriously good advice.

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Everyone’s busy. There’s not enough hours in the day. Blah, blah, blah. We get it. But donating your time when you can, and just donating in general, is something we should all be doing. Present party included is guilty of not doing enough of that and why not incorporate more of that into your everyday life?

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Stand your ground. Find your moral compass and stick with it. External factors tend to make us second guess and doubt ourselves (especially if it’s a Boy or Girl that breaks our heart). We’re human after all. But finding who you are is one of the most important things you can do. Be a good person. Don’t hurt people. Do the best you can do. Also, make sure you hair is brushed.

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Going hand in hand with standing your ground is sticking up for yourself. There’s a big difference between sticking up for yourself and being a jerk. Don’t be the latter and please know your self worth. Strength and confidence is sexy, but it borders on arrogance. Again, don’t fall under the latter.

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In case you were wondering, your friends and family are not your therapist. They are beautiful souls that are incredible bias especially when you’re acting like a total sociopath because they’ll still be on your side. Something I learned this year was that therapy does wonders for your body, mind, and soul. There’s nothing wrong with it and even if it gets frustrating, working through whatever you need to work through will be the best thing you can do for yourself.

LOVE LIFE AND RELATIONSHIPS

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When you’re single you’re generally cynical about going on dates and rightfully so. Even thought most of them will be horrible, at least you’ll meet someone new and know you 100% don’t want to be with them. Or, it could be great and be the other way around. Who knows! Just try it out because if anything practice makes perfect.

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Try to keep it in your pants. Try. At least until after a few times you’ve hang out. Thing’s usually come to a crashing halt after an adult sleepover. Not always but sometimes. This is one you have to feel out and one we’ve all been guilty of. Don’t lie.

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Avoid Boys or Girls who play games. It’s one thing to “play it cool,” it’s quite another to rip someones feelings or heart out through their foot. You don’t need someone who’s going to make you feel crummy while you’re waiting on a text sitting by the phone. Not chic and nothing about rudeness is sexy.

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If you are lucky enough to be in a relationship don’t take that person for granted. It’s the worst thing you could do. Most of us want to find love, happiness, and our “person” that doesn’t judge when you break wind or have bad breath in the morning. They still love you unconditionally. Value them and keep things interesting.

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This is a hard one: leave you’re Ex in the past. Literally the definition of easier said than done, but when you eventually get to this place you’ll be so much happier. Social Media stalking is the easiest thing to do, but just remember every time you click on their Instagram a little piece of your progress digresses. Whether you realize it or not you’re hurting your heart. Let them go into the island of lost Men and Women, a place you do not need to visit.

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Above all remember how important your friends and family are. If you are lucky enough they are the relationships that matter the most. As the wise Carrie Bradshaw once said, “They say nothing lasts forever; dreams change, trends come and go, but friendships never go out of style.” Value the amazing people you have in your life, this is number one, especially because they have heard you complain, and complain, and complain about a multitude of things and are still sitting across the table from you nodding and listening.

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Just trust your friends. They are usually right, see things a lot clearer than you can in whatever 911 moment you’re having, and always know how to cheer you up. This generally ends with a night of debauchery, great stories the next morning, and you can say you did all that with great people who love you.

TRY NEW THINGS

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Limit the amount of gossip…oh who am I kidding I just wanted to use this gif.

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Try a new look. I always encourage stepping out of your Fashion comfort zone; you’re bound to make a Fashion Faux pas so accept that and try something different. This leads to trying new foods, exploring new neighborhoods, and increasing your adventures. I’m currently trying to grow my hair out, let’s see how that goes…

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Anyone that knows my friends and I knows that we are Girls and Gays that eat. People who aren’t “foodies” are like aliens to me. I love food. Every few weeks we pick an apartment, have a pot luck, hunker down, and catch up. It’s a great excuse to get together and try new recipes. If you’re not doing this with your friends definitely start. It’s the kind of night that results in great conversation where hilarity ensues.

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I don’t know about you, but I really love to travel. Exploring anything new and foreign is exhilarating; curiosity may have killed the cat, but it also showed that cat a hell of a good time. Be inquisitive, you only live once. One of my best girlfriends, and very good friend of The New York Narrative, Sarah, is bravely taking a courageous exploration around the world in a work remote program that allows her to have the most amazing experience anyone could ask for. How incredible is that? Follow her adventures here. I can’t wait to visit.

IN CONCLUSION 

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The most important thing to take away from whatever your 2016 goals are is to have fun. No matter what. Be kind, thoughtful, and remember to take care of yourself and your heart. You can’t go wrong.

All Gif’s courtesy of Google, Getty Images, Giphy, and the amazing people with amazing senses of humor who created them. Cover image courtesy of Getty.

© Copyright 2016 The New York Narrative. All rights reserved.

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3 Comments

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  1. Great job!!!! – Jared

    Like

  2. perfect post, let’s all go a week without social media and see if we can do it/how we feel … ❤

    Like

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