I know, it’s been months, and I do apologise. While I have a post waiting in the wings that I’ve been meaning to put up lately, I think a more time sensitive one is necessary at the moment. I feel the world is getting jaded with the whole ‘new year, new me’ crap, that is often just a load of hot air. I’ve read various articles in print and online, basically telling New Year’s resolutions to feck off because it just leads to pressure to change followed by the feeling of failure.
While I agree with some of the sentiments, overall I’m still a big believer in New Year’s resolutions, but I have a few rules to make them worthwhile and to make them stick.
1. Don’t commit to anything unrealistic
This means don’t go wild and say, ‘I’m going to go to the gym three times a week this year’ when you haven’t set foot inside a gym in the last three years and had to Google your nearest one. Give yourself small realistic goals, and be careful with the gym memberships! The dropout rate from January gym memberships is usually around 60% and a run in the park is free.
2. Don’t do anything ‘just for the sake of it’
Are you giving up the booze just to prove that you can do it? Then you’re not really achieving anything, are you? If you’re not making a genuine decision to give up permanently, why make a drastic decision for a set amount of time before going back on the stuff as much as before your dry spell? New Year’s resolutions are not supposed to take the fun out your life, so if you don’t want to do something, don’t do it. You don’t have to say you’re giving up the fags this year or joining Slimming World just because your friends are and you feel like you should. If you’re not ready or don’t want to, you are very unlikely to be successful.
3. Give yourself a break in January
I usually don’t even consider starting mine until February and this is for two reasons. Firstly, it may sound dramatic, but I want to let my resolutions settle with me for a couple of weeks to make sure I’m still happy to go forward with them. People often make snap decisions on January 1st, many of which they might have decided to opt out given a few weeks of thought. Secondly, I find January a pretty depressing and tough month as it is. We have enough adjustments to get used to, what with being back at work and being very cold minus the impending comfort of Christmas, without having to get into totally new routines. So I implore others to give themselves the month off to settle into 2016 before embarking on resolutions. Having said that, this year, I’ve sort of started mine already, but with no set commitment, worry or guilt about not sticking to them until February.
I believe if you stick to these rules, you can make good, realistic New Year’s resolutions. A final note, before I reveal my own for the year: resolutions shouldn’t only take place at the start of a year. We are capable of constantly reviewing and reevaluating our lifestyle, and I often end up doing a second round at some point in the year. So if you don’t feel like changing your routine in January, there’s nothing wrong with doing it in June instead.
My 2016 resolutions
- Write something every day outside of my job
- Read at least one book per month
- Finish my own book
- Cook one new dish each week
- Don’t get wound up so easily
Since I work in a magazine, I already write five days a week, but I want to make sure I’m writing something other than what my day job requires every day. This should be easy while I’m trying to complete my book, as I also endeavour to write for that every day. On rare days when even that isn’t possible, a simple diary entry will do.
I can read faster than one book a month, but with more writing, I am limiting my reading time to my commute and bedtime, so I’m keeping this one small.
I’m not reaching for the stars with the term ‘new dish’ either, this literally just means something I’ve never cooked before – so this week that was stuffed peppers. I realised at the end of last year I was in a bit of a cookery rut, limited in what I could easily whip up for dinner every day of the week, so this is my goal.
The final one is vague, and again, I think these are good to do. Resolutions without a specific goal might be more difficult to achieve but they’re often the most important ones because they’re about self-reflection. So my hope is that when I feel myself getting easily wound up about something silly, I remember this New Year’s resolution and reflect on whether or not I’m getting overly wound up, and if I am, learn to Let It Go!
Sorry, I couldn’t resist.