New Year’s Resolutions are either a hit or a miss. Maybe it is a personal opinion, but the term ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ puts me off immediately. I’ve mentioned before that I personally don’t like them because roughly 80% of the time, they fail. And not only do they fail for most of us, but they leave us feeling less than adequate for the remainder of the year. So instead of making resolutions, I find yearly challenges to be more achievable.
Since we have gone through interesting times, I have decided to change my approach for 2022 and have come up with a list of things that I will try to change permanently. So every new year, I will go through this list and check them off.
Start a new fitness programme or join some yearly challenges
Are you guilty of only starting a new workout on Mondays? Maybe you thrive off knowing that you have 52 chances in the year to get back on track once you’re derailed? If that is you, don’t feel guilty about this mentality. More than half the world believes that Mondays are the unicorn days that will magically deliver you to your fitness goals.
But that isn’t the case.
What I have realised about myself is that having small challenges along the way is easier to stick with than a fixed program. So instead of promising the universe that I will exercise four times a week for the remainder of the year, I set small goals to reach. Last year, my goal was to win 12 monthly awards on my Apple watch. Even though those specific challenges were so small, it gave me the encouragement to keep going even when I was dealing with sickness or grief.
Of course, we are all different and respond to different stimuli, so find what works for you. Then stick with it!
It’s okay if a cleaner diet is one of your yearly challenges
Chances are that you just spent December lazing around and eating lots of comfort food. If you didn’t, congratulations, you are part of the minority!
As for the rest of us normal people, we ate more than our body weight in food. And that is absolutely okay! I read the following quote somewhere:
We spend so much time worrying about what we eat between Christmas and New Year when really what matters is what and how much we eat between New Year and Christmas.Anonymous
Let that sink in…
New Year is a great time to reset our eating schedules and adopt one that is healthier and more sustainable. You don’t need to jump on the treadmill for 3 hours to burn off what you ate over the holidays. Simply reverting to something less rich is a great way to kickstart the year. Just remember not to go overboard in cleaning out your diet. You still need to enjoy life!
You may also like: 3 Ways that depression affected my eating habits
Plan one personal self care date for each month of the year
Making time for yourself every week might not be achievable if you are a parent. We get it, the kids need to be watered, the plants need to be fed, and bills gotta get paid. Or do the kids need to be paid and bills watered? Whatever the case, not taking care of yourself can lead to burnout.
While that is something that isn’t fully avoidable, setting up a personal self-care date each month can definitely reduce the severity of that burnout. And when you think about it, you will only really be planning 12 for the entire year! 12 days where you get massaged or eat out with friends. 12 days out of 365 sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?
Reassess your finances
Finances, finances. If you are reading this and have your bank account looking pristine, you are not human. In fact, I will send the Avengers out to get you immediately!
For everyone else, I do believe it is a great idea to check how your finances are and establish your goal for the year. Be it saving $50 a month or cutting down on your daily Starbucks lattes, there is always something that can be adjusted.
Personally, I like to reduce the amount of takeout I get towards the first half of the year. It ties in with saving a little more as well as resetting my eating habits. I will still have dinner with friends or go on date night with hubby, but after the festive season, there really isn’t a need for Mediterranean takeout four times a week.
Declutter your home
I absolutely suck at this, but apparently, you can never declutter enough. And since I’m no expert, I’ll keep this section short and sweet.
Add a donation pile to your yearly challenges, and be surprised at how much stuff actually have.
Whether it is Christmas presents you will never use, or clothes you grew out of, you will find that there is so much unnecessary stuff in your closet. Take the time to just go through a little bit here and there and Marie Kondo it. Does it bring you joy? Can you live without it? Will it have a better home somewhere else?
In my case, I would be getting rid of old toys, clothes, and other bits and bobs that we no longer use.
Clean out your contact list
‘Are you sure you want to delete this contact permanently?’
I absolutely love getting rid of contacts that are unnecessary and irrelevant to my stages of life. Of course, there is a benefit to keeping numbers in case you need them professionally, but the toxic people? Let them
Every few years, I tend to reduce my circle of friends just a tad bit depending on what phase of life I’m in. And it’s not just to get rid of the old, but also to make room for the new.
But don’t stop with your phone. Let go of people who weigh you down for real! After all, a helium balloon won’t fly if it’s tied down.
Make it one of your yearly challenges to start and maintain a gratitude jar
Since everyone sees the new year as a new beginning, why not start on a new slate? By the end of the year, we are usually tired and hoping for a change, but there are quite a few things to be grateful for in almost every situation. Even if you have a terrible year, there is something you can be grateful for each day, and it doesn’t even have to be big things! For example:
Woke up today? Be grateful that you’re alive.
Got a good morning text message from your friend? Be grateful that you’ve got such a thoughtful friend.
Watched a cool movie? Be grateful that you have the means to do so.
Now imagine if you put down one thing you’re grateful for each day, and read them back at the end of the year. I can guarantee you that even if you had a terrible time professionally or lost someone you love, the small bits of joy will make you smile!
Assess your mental health and get help accordingly
This decade, the theme word that is raining loud and clear is mental health. Simone Biles stepped away from the Olympics labeling it the twisties, Naomi Osaka ditched the French Open to work on her mental health… And we are going to keep dragging our feet with the weight of our problems?
Don’t do it!
Even if you feel as though you couldn’t be better, make sure to set some time to keep your mental health in that state. Don’t over-book yourself, don’t say yes to things you don’t want to do, and do not give up the things you love.
However, if you are starting off the year feeling depressed and unmotivated, please do speak to a professional. Therapy isn’t for ‘crazy people’ just as the gym is for the unfit.
Find a new hobby or pick up on one you dropped along the way
Here’s a secret for you; I love writing. Like really love it. I finished my first book when I was in eighth grade, but I had been drafting several others since I was ten. The simple fact that you’re reading my blog should tell you just how much writing is part of my DNA… But this is a hobby I ditched for fifteen years.
I’m sure that everyone has something that they love to do, but don’t have time for. Or maybe there’s something you’ve always wanted to try but never gotten around to doing?
I personally will be looking for something new to add to my yearly challenges. Yes, something new every single year. And this year, I will be buying a keyboard and learning how to play the paino.
Make it one of your yearly challenges to tell the people close to you that you love them
I’ve saved this for the end of the list because it is pretty much self explanatory. I lost my dad just three months ago, and the thing that gives me comfort is knowing that I told him I loved him on the day he passed. I didn’t know it would be the last time I spoke to him, but it was just the conversation I would’ve had if I’d known. While my example is quite extreme, serves as a reminder that life is so short. Don’t let time go by without expressing your love to those who are special to you.
What are some other things you would add to the list? Have you already made plans to improve your life and mental health with any new challenges?
Pssst! Let’s hang on the socials