Christmas is over and we are all looking towards the New Year with hope and expectation. Or are we? Do you make the same resolutions every year and not keep them? Do you pay out lots of money for a gym membership and then have stopped going by the beginning of February? Does ‘Dry January’ elude you?
If so, I’m with you. I’m not very good at making New Years Resolutions, and even worse at keeping them. And when I do break them, I end up feeling worse than when I started! So this year, I am going to put a little more thought into making those promises to myself.
People have marked the beginning of the New Year with festivities, parties, making and eating celebration food, and making promises to themselves regarding the year ahead for over 4000 years. The earliest recorded New Year celebrations date back to the ancient Babylonians, who celebrated the beginning of their New Year in the Spring with the coming of the the March Equinox. They celebrated it with a festival called Atiku and made promises to their gods that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts (sound familiar?). The Romans started their New Year by making promises to the god Janus, ( from which we get January)
Having failed miserably in the past with a whole host of resolutions, I am going to do it differently this year. First of all before making any resolutions, I am going to ask myself the following:
What really matters to you?
What is achievable?
What are your real priorities and are they at the centre of your life?
There is no point whatsoever making resolutions that you don’t really care about even if you think they are “worthy”.
It may take you a while to figure out what really matters to you. What really matters to us may only get our attention when we face a crisis. For example, when experiencing the loss of a job or a serious illness. People always make radical health and lifestyle changes after a serious scare, but in everyday life things that should matter get easily forgotten. We work long hours and neglect those around us and never find time to join that club or society or take that walk.
Life is short! How much real, quality time do you spend with your family? How much time do you spend personal development? How much time do you spend actively taking care of your health, both mental and physical? For a lot of us (me included) we spend a lot of time doing things that aren’t especially significant to us, while our relationships and health suffers. The New Year is a great time to write down some promises (and make sure you record them somewhere) to change all that.
A word of warning, please don’t simply focus on the negatives and very importantly, try not to compare yourself to others. New Years resolutions are not another reason to beat yourself up.
Have a go at your own list thinking about the questions mentioned before, but if you are struggling for ideas, take a look at the following which I have placed in three very broad categories. I’d love to hear your own in the comments!
Health and Fitness. Lose weight; Eat healthy; Become more active; Take up a new sport; Give up smoking; Get more sleep; Reduce your stress levels; Practice mindfulness; Lower your alcohol consumption/practice more healthful drinking; Cook more healthily; Get regular check ups (dentist, eyes, hearing etc); Drink lots of water; Start meditating; Look after your skin; Decide to love your body (it’s the only one you have got); Look after/grow your nails with regular manicures; Join a Yoga class; Resolve to walk as much as possible (leave the car at home); Eat more vegetables, Get outside when you can; Eat mindfully, (concentrate on what your are eating and put your cutlery down every few mouthfuls); Substitute milk chocolate for the dark version; Find a partner to attend the gym with; Set a goal to attain (e.g. running three miles); Stand rather than sit; Invest in a fit watch; Practice stretching; Invest in good trainers; Decrease your food portions; Experiment with fasting; Spend time laughing; Use an SPF on your skin every day; Dance whenever you get the chance to; Use less salt; Improve your posture; Ask yourself if you are really hungry before you eat; Take up Pilates; Floss your teeth daily.
Personal Development. Join/start a book club; Try something new, be it a pottery class, learning to upholster or jewellery making; Meet new people; Don’t procrastinate, stop putting off decisions that need to be made; Grow your self confidence; Start/add to a savings plan; Find a life partner; Declutter your life of people that don’t make you happy; Become more organised; Make an effort to dress with style; Get out of debt; Learn a new language; Take up a hobby; Let go of past grudges; Travel as much as you can; Do something every day that challenges you; Have the courage to make a big change in your life; resolve never to be late; Spend less time on social media, more on human interaction; Learn to appreciate art; Take up self defence; Write a novel, song, or poetry; Conquer a fear/phobia; Budget your spending; Decide to be happy now, not wait for something to change; Speak to your parents more; Prioritise tasks at the start of each day; Talk to grandparents, if they are still around, about their lives as young people; Make a gratitude list; Be kind/compassionate; Be more productive; Follow your dreams; Be kind to yourself; Read more; Give up one bad habit; Be patient; Smile more; Stop apologising for being you; Be optimistic; Take up singing; Contact people with whom you have lost touch; Live greener; Forgive someone; Go on dates with your partner; Learn to play an instrument; Learn CPR/first aid techniques; Start a blog; Take up drawing/painting.
Environment. Declutter your home; Take plastic bags with you when shopping; Volunteer locally; Adopt, don’t shop for a new pet; Build a hedgehog hideout in your garden; Go litter picking; Compliment those around you; Pick up plastic on beaches; Give something back to your community; Donate clothes to charity shops; Visit a homeless shelter; Recycle where you can; Print only when you really need to; Car share to get to and from work; Save water; Compost food waste; Support local business; Use small independent retailers; Donate blood; Organise a charitable event; Buy recycled products; Save energy in the home by turning off standby items; Buy from charity shops.
There are so many more, so please do come up with your own. But remember, the best thing you have going for you is who you are. Resolutions are about improving what is already there and learning to love yourself is the best resolution of all. Happy New Year!❤️