Christmas is finally over and we are all looking towards the New Year with renewed 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 stop 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 why do we decide in January to make these difficult new rules for ourselves? Well, its certainly not a new concept. People have marked the beginning of the New Year with 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 March Equinox. They made promises to their gods that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. Sound familiar? Similarly, the Romans started their New Year by making promises to the god Janus, (from which we get the word January.)
Following a quick search on Google, the top 5 most popular New Year Resolutions are as follows:
- Lose weight
- Get a new/better job
- Get rid of debt
- Drink less alcohol
- Get fit
Unfortunately these same 5 are the ones we make year after year, and then feel pretty rotten about ourselves when we spectacularly fail at them by the end of January. So, this year, instead of making the same ones that you made last year (and the year before), maybe its time to look at resolutions in a different way. Incidentally, there is nothing wrong with these resolutions if you can keep them! My point is that most of us don’t, and end up feeling a bit of a failure… and that is not a great blueprint for the rest of the year!
Think about it for a moment. Life is short! How much real, quality time do you spend with your family? How much time do you spend on your personal development? How much time do you spend actively taking care of your health, both mental and physical? This is where our promises should come from! Resolutions that just continue to underline how rubbish we are at losing weight, giving up alcohol and not running enough, are not doing much for our self esteem and positivity!
So, before you make the usual punishing promises this year, consider first what really matters to you and what you see as your priorities and goals over the next 12 months. There is no point making resolutions that you don’t really care about, even if you think they are “worthy”, and it is a waste of time making resolutions that you think you should make rather than want to make. Surely it makes sense to look after ourselves first, before we start setting down difficult challenges? If we are in a good place mentally, are we not far more likely to succeed?
It may take you a while to figure out what your resolutions should be, but I am happy to share mine and they are certainly different than they have been other years. Here they are:
- Take up yoga.
- Complete an educational course.
- Do something good for someone else every day.
- Be kind to myself.
- Start a novel.
I see these more as positive resolutions rather than negative ones. Each one will add to my being more positive and will only increase my wellbeing and self esteem!
Do not focus on what you consider to be your faults, and very importantly, try not to compare yourself to others. New Years Resolutions should definitely not be another reason to beat yourself up. Remember to think positive, not negative! And, if you need a little inspiration, here are some positive resolutions to consider:
Practice mindfulness; 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; Get outside when you can; Eat mindfully, (concentrate on what your are eating and put your cutlery down every few mouthfuls); Stand rather than sit; Invest in a fit watch; Practice stretching; Invest in good trainers; Spend time laughing; Use an SPF on your skin every day; Dance whenever you get the chance to; Improve your posture; Take up Pilates; Join/start a book club; Try a pottery class, learn to upholster or jewellery making; Grow your self confidence; De-clutter your life of people that don’t make you happy; Make an effort to dress with style; Learn a new language; 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; Learn to appreciate art; Take up self defence; Write a novel, song, or poetry; Be kind/compassionate; Follow your dreams; Be kind to yourself; Read more; 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; Start a blog; Take up drawing/painting; Volunteer; 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; Support local business; 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, and I know you will have 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!❤️
“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” – Edith Lovejoy Pierce