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The Demise of Your New Year’s Resolutions

by Amber L. Burden on December 6, 2016

As the new year approaches, people are starting to prepare for the annual tradition: let’s make a new year’s resolution! Personally, I do something a little different for resolutions but I’ll get to that later. Most people have an idea of what they would like to change or do to better themselves. It’s something that they plan to start on January 1st and try to continue throughout the year – or until they meet their goal. Some people decide that they want to quit smoking, some want to lose weight, and others are determined to spend more time with their family. Whatever you choose to shoot for during the new year, the biggest challenge is to actually follow through on it. Did you know that, according to a study by professor John Norcoss from the University of Scranton and colleagues, almost 60% of people abandon their resolution within six months? It’s always apparent to me that gym memberships skyrocket in the month of January but attendance is down by March. People sign up for courses that they quickly drop. Trust me, I know; I barely made it to April. Folks have this idea of what they want to do but eventually give up. Why is this? Well, there’s a few reasons…

First, people tend to set unattainable goals. “I’m going to travel the world this year.” Okay, that’s awesome. It’s extremely ambitious, anyway. But is it plausible for you? For some, it might be feasible. However, if you’re trying to achieve this while working 40+ hours a week and taking care of a four-person household, it would probably be extremely difficult. Perhaps an easier goal may be to see a new city once a month. You’ll be traveling, making memories, and experiencing plenty of excitement. You’ll also be avoiding disappointment if you’re simply unable to travel the world in one year. Another problem is not making a plan. Sure, learning a new language can be a great experience. But how can you get it done? Nothing gets done through wishful thinking, so figure out how you can do it! This can be signing up for classes or befriending a native speaker. Finally, one of the biggest deterrents is creating a resolution for someone else. So you want to quit smoking? Fantastic! … but why? If you want to quit smoking so that other people will shut up about it, your reasoning will never be good enough for you to stay on top of it. If your heart isn’t in it, you will slack off. Set your sights on something that you want, choose something reasonable that won’t set you up for failure, and make a plan.


I’m terrible at sticking to a year-long goal. I get sidetracked and I eventually stop caring about it. My resolutions are slightly different: I start the year by making a goal for each month… not for the entire year. They are usually pretty simple, but they are things that I feel would enrich my life or help me achieve some of my long term goals. Plus, it’s easier to start some fabulous habits this way. Once I get in the groove of something easy for a month, I find it easier to continue while adding my new goal for the following month. Feel free to steal this idea if it works for you. Here’s my 2017 resolutions:

January: work 40 hours a week – no more, no less!
February: meditate for 30 minutes a day
March: work out twice a week
April: read daily – anything! a book, newspaper, a random magazine article
May: create weekly meal plans …since trying to figure out what to eat while I’m starving is a horrible idea
June: journal once a week
July: prepare for my daughter to start kindergarten (register for school, buy supplies, stock up on wine for me…)
August: drink 16 oz of water a day
September: sleep 7 hours a night – at least!
October: do a random act of kindness daily
November: actively do my personal poetry blog
December: find a pen pal – because why not?

So what are you going to work toward?



Starbucks Did It Again

by Amber L. Burden on November 7, 2016

Each year, Starbucks comes out with a special holiday cup. Last year, the company’s choice of design for their seasonal cups struck up controversy and they’re apparently not disappointing in doing the same this year – whether intentional or not. A green holiday cup (as opposed to their previously red holiday cups) has been described by Starbucks as a “unity” cup, displaying a drawing of several people of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds. Starbucks wanted to show that, during this divided and chaotic time, we are still all humans and all one people.


So why the uproar? Many customers seem to feel that the cups being green instead of red is an utter lack of respect or acknowledgment for what Christians believe to be the meaning of Christmas. Apparently, those who are causing a commotion over a cup have no thoughts that perhaps we need a little hope this holiday season and a reminder that people are just people. Or maybe they don’t remember that Starbucks does not claim to be a Christian company. If Chick-Fil-A had done something like this, I might understand the confusion…even extreme upset. Chick-Fil-A proudly advertises that they are a religious company, even closing on Sundays to recognize the importance of this day of rest and worship for Christians. But Starbucks does not affiliate with any religion.

There has also been a bit of an uproar from the other side. Those that truly don’t care about the color of the cup are making their voices heard as well: essentially, they’re all saying, “Shut up! It’s just a cup!” Twitter particularly has been taken over with #starbuckschristmas, including the annoyance of those who are tired of hearing people complain about the color green.

Interestingly, there is rumor that this is not the official holiday cup of Starbucks this year. A photo was leaked that the holiday cups are supposed to be revealed on November 10th. Guys, today is only November 7th. So what will happen on this upcoming Thursday? Maybe the company will reveal a line of spiritual-based cups – possibly based on the beliefs of several religions. Maybe they will laugh and say, “Ha! The green cups really are the official holiday cups!” Maybe they will announce that they will discontinue the holiday cup tradition altogether, since people can’t seem to handle it. No matter what they decide to unveil on Thursday, it’s sure to stir up the controversy pot since that is apparently what people are most concerned about these days. Didn’t you know that the color of a cup that’s holding a $6 coffee is a vital part of society and a defining piece of the individual drinking from it?!


What was Starbucks thinking when making this crucial decision about their holiday cups? Honestly, after the outrage from last year about a simple red cup – lacking anything other than their logo – you would think that they realized that this reaction was definitely a possibility. But maybe they did think about this. The 2015 Starbucks pandemonium kept the company’s name on the tongues of everyone throughout the entire holiday season. For better or worse, people were talking about Starbucks. As they say, there is no good or bad publicity – just publicity.


Promotions for Parents

October 24, 2016

I am the mother of a gorgeous four-year-old little girl. And yes, she really is gorgeous. I swear I’m not bias. Anyway, as a mom, I am bombarded with promotional products for companies that sell different “mom needs.” In the last four years, I have received coupons for diapers, samples of formulas, email blasts about […]

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Why I Still Have This Pen…

September 28, 2016

What makes a consumer fall in love with a product? So many aspects of a promotional item can not only draw in customers, but also encourage them to keep it – which, in the long run, increases the likelihood of business. If you know what these key things are, you can practically ensure that your […]

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