Can you think of six things to do instead of making New Year’s Resolutions? Goal setting is common for the New Year, but it doesn’t have to be harsh. It can be gentle, and indeed it should be a lovely soft place to land.
- Learn From Last Year
While 2021 once again certainly left us with very little to laugh about, I can’t help but chuckle ironically to myself when I think that a year ago, after a series of lockdowns, sensationalised media and a lot of fear generated by the ‘unknown’, I believed that 2021 was going to be the most wonderful year ever!
Boy did I get that wrong, and I know I am not the only one.
We all had high expectations and thought we were going to prosper and soar. Some did, but for the most part, everyone faced some kind of seemingly insurmountable struggle that weighed very heavily on us indeed. (Good news – we’ve made it this far, so pat yourself on the back for your incredible resilience, OK?).
I believe this is perhaps a lesson in planning. Or rather, not planning, nor holding our expectations too high. Perhaps this year, instead of making new year’s resolutions we are bound to break, let’s be a bit more realistic and live in the moment, or at least the moment that is closest to us, rather than in the future.
Are we really going to give up smoking? We know we absolutely should, but now may be a little bit too stressful to take on such a big task. Perhaps try slowly cutting back instead or choosing a lower tar brand. Are we quitting drinking alcohol? Again, we could mostly all afford to lessen our intake, but with everything else that’s going on in the world, it might be wise to not set ourselves such strict boundaries, and again, reduce rather than go ‘cold turkey’ (pardon my pun). There’s also a slew of lower alcohol or no alcohol beverages on offer at popular liquor stores, so you may even wish to try them. They taste every bit as good but come without the hangover and regrets!
- Don’t set yourself up for failure
This is really what New year Resolutions do. In 2022, we could perhaps instead dial things back a bit and go easier on ourselves, instead of quitting straight up. Let’s swap resolutions for reality. Are you really going to stay on top of your garden and create a beautiful rose patch this year? Some may, but most of us are likely not to. Start small instead, perhaps with a small potted rose. Even if you don’t do that, let yourself off the hook. It’s good to have things to look forward to, especially around the house, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get through them as fast as you’d envisioned.
- Become A Home Body
While restrictions have eased and we are able to move about more freely, staying at home affords us time for more connection and grounding, such as fertilising our gardens, cleaning out an old closet, or de-cluttering the third draw down in the kitchen that’s filled with things you haven’t used for years (come on, you know you have one too). Why not start a veggie patch? Or if your green thumb is more on the brown side, start an herb patch, or a succulent garden.
- Set Smaller Goals
New Year’s resolutions frequently fail because we immediately cease the activity in question on New Year’s Day, with the intention of never picking it up again. I’ve always found that a little weird. Why not ease up on it slowly?
Say for instance, you’re hooked on a TV show or video game, but you realise you want to stop spending 30 minutes of your day, five days a week watching it. Instead of completely stopping straight away, why not try to go a week without watching it or playing it (or any TV for that matter). Once you see how much spare time you have, you may just fall into the habit of keeping the TV off and doing more productive or restful things around your home. Then, if you do want to catch up with your show or game, you can binge on it one cold rainy day in the middle of winter without feeling an ounce of guilt!
Why not try a monthly challenge? It might be to cook a new recipe each night, eat plant-based for a month, watch a compelling documentary once a week for a month, or go to bed before 9pm? Who knows … one of them may stick and become a regular habit or hobby.
- Try Something New
At the risk of sounding repetitive here (I’m aiming for further encouragement), part of learning, growing and changing is trying new endeavours. I’m not talking skydiving or swimming with sharks. It could be as small as baking a sourdough loaf, taking an online yoga class, or even learning a new language. It doesn’t have to be a huge commitment; it can be something you pick up and put down as you like. Now’s a great time to start knitting or crocheting, both of which are back in fashion again. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll have a new scarf or sweater for winter.
- Reach Out To Love Ones
I know this is now sounding a little New Year’s Resolutions like, which wasn’t my aim, but it’s a good item to have on any list you may be making for a new year, a new month, a new week or a new day. Often, we don’t even notice the weeks fly by without speaking to friends and family. Try to make a diary date to ZOOM call or chat on the phone and check in with each other. It’s great for everyone’s mental and emotional wellbeing.
I hope whatever 2022 has in store for you is wonderful and every happiness heads in your direction. If at any time you need to reach out, remember, I am here. Please just get in touch!
Happy New Year,