December 28

December 28, 2015, is a day that will live in infamy for me and my family, to borrow this famous quote.  

It surely depicts how I feel about December 28 each and every year.

On December 28, 2015, my mother, Gwen Bellomo, passed away.  

She went to bed with no signs of illness and did not wake up in the morning.

I have struggled for the past several years because of her passing, and each and every year I relive those moments and feelings.  

As another December 28 came and went, I wanted to pause to take a moment to remember all of the amazing, incredible moments with my mother. Anyone who knows anything about our family knows that she was an incredible woman, and I was very close to her.  

Luckily for me, I am able to remember all of the wonderful vacations, conversations, trips we shared, and even her lectures. Her wisdom and insight were always on point, and she could always cheer me up no matter what.

For anyone who has lost a loved one, you know the pain that occurs on the anniversary of passing.  For those of you who ever struggle with that, please take a moment to reflect on all the wonderful things that they shared in your life and provided to you.

Mom, I will always remember all of your wonderful lessons. I smile each and every day as I think about you. Please know that you are always with me, and I will always love you.

Jeffrey Bellomo

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Why I’m Done With Making New Year’s Resolutions

Always have a hard time with resolutions? Ditching them might be the key to success.

Like millions of people around the world, I used to spend every December making a New Year’s resolution or two. While most years it was to lose weight (the most popular resolution Americans make), sometimes it was being smarter with my money or committing to spending a bit more time with my siblings. However, by February, like clockwork, exactly nothing would be accomplished.

When I was younger, this didn’t bother me all that much. But, as a results-driven person who thrives on deadlines, I began to really get down on myself when I was in my 20s. I was never quite sure why I couldn’t stick to the plan. And then I realized that trying to keep a huge, daunting New Year’s resolution was akin to writing a novel or climbing a mountain—it just wasn’t feasible.

My mom used to tell me that it takes only 30 days to make or break a habit. So, instead of focusing on one large thing and giving up when I wasn’t hitting the mark, I decided to make a list of little things I wanted to work on during the year. So far this has included things like keeping my house a little bit tidier, spending more time with my dog and, yes, even dropping a few pounds. My plan, though, has not been to try to accomplish all of these things at once, like a marathon makeover, but to focus on taking teeny steps every day.

And guess what? Usually, within a month or two, I’m now making progress toward those goals without feeling overly pressured or disappointed that I haven’t done more. Simple upgrades like wiping down my bathroom sink every day after putting on my makeup have become second nature to me. While losing weight, I focus on shedding just a pound at a time—not the 20 or 30 I ultimately envisioned.

I don’t even consider these New Year’s resolutions, and that helps to make my small goals feel more attainable—there’s no pressure to start them exactly after the ball drops and see them accomplished by the first day of spring. They’re just little goals I’ve set to be happier and healthier over time. I also sweeten the pot with rewards along the way. For example, I promised myself a new pair of sneakers when I made my running mileage three weeks out of the month for a few months. And then there’s the free time I naturally gain in keeping up with the bathroom sink every day, which takes less time than a deep clean on a Sunday.

If keeping your New Year’s resolution is harder than you thought, the key to success might be banning the concept of resolutions completely. Instead, break your goals down into small milestones you can easily reach on a daily or weekly basis—and enjoy the triumphant feeling of meeting each and every mini goal. Now go drink an extra glass of water, drop a modest 50 cents into a piggy bank, pet your dog for one minute—then pat yourself on the back for living more healthfully. No mountain-climbing required.

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This article originally appeared in Emily Cappiello