The decorations have been packed away. The Christmas treats have been replaced by fruit and celery sticks. You’ve bled your bank account dry by joining the best gym in town (and you definitely, absolutely, will attend it at least five times per week). Ah…it must be January again.
It’s been 12 full months since last year’s booming declarations of change as you enjoyed that “last” wine, cigarette or slice of Yule Log. You may be looking back at 2013 and congratulating yourself on a job well done. But it’s likely you’re making some of the same resolutions all over again.
So how do you make the most of a fresh New Year without falling by the wayside before Valentine’s Day rolls around? Read on for some top tips on achieving realistic resolutions and make this New Year a real new start.
Make your own personal wish list
Let’s start by being honest with ourselves. You didn’t wake up on January 1st as a completely different person, did you? This simple oversight is the main reason so many resolutions fail. So this year, it’s time to think about what you realistically want to achieve. Achievements are personal, so goals have to be as well.
If you’ve never run a step in your life before, completing a marathon in 2014 is unlikely. And if you’ve never spoken a word of Spanish, you probably won’t be an expert by Christmas. But manage your own expectations and you could easily find yourself completing that 10k race or getting more out of your holiday to the Med.
Clear the decks
Streamlining your environment can also have a clearing effect on your mind. This doesn’t mean stripping your home bare of all your possessions, but do take this opportunity to reassess your surroundings. Does your environment make you feel happy and relaxed or stressed and anxious? Even just getting rid of junk from the attic, storage cupboard or garage can ease the burden “stuff” can have on your life. Hire a van to help you clear the decks, and enjoy a fresh start to the new year.
Make fitness fun
A common goal for many of us at this time of year involves doing more exercise. And for good reason – we know it’s good for us, we know it makes us feel better both inside and out and we know it increases our confidence and happiness levels. So what’s the problem here?
The problem is many people choose to undertake an exercise regime that gives them zero enjoyment. If you hate the gym, then dragging yourself there is utter misery, regardless of your fitness levels. Know yourself and choose an activity based on your personality. Respond well to challenges? Sign up for a charity walk or run and train towards that goal. Love music? Try a dance class. Like getting away from people? Dive into your own world at the pool or hire a car and escape the city for a walk or a hike. Don’t like spending money? Cycle to work and stop paying commuting costs. You get the idea. There are literally endless ways to fit more exercise into your day. Find something that suits your life and it won’t feel like a burden.
The main reason we make all these New Year promises to ourselves is ultimately because we want to be happier. So why, in striving to achieve that goal, do we make resolutions that are dull and wrought with hardship? Be more happy every day with the simple 100 happy days challenge. You’ll soon see the joy in your life a lot more clearly.
Expand your mind, expand your world
Many councils run a vast range of low-cost adult education classes starting at this time of year, so now’s your chance to jump in and improve your knowledge. And night classes aren’t just for people who want to learn languages or missed the math boat during high school. Everything from lip reading to guitar lessons to wine appreciation classes are available. Make tracks to achieve that thing you’ve always said you wanted to do and you’ll feel instantly liberated.
Alternatively, learn a host of new skills from the comfort of your own home with some amazing free online courses. Not only can these skills help you become more rounded and knowledgeable, they can help towards a career change – another popular resolution.
Know your vice
Quitting your bad habits at New Year might seem a bit cliché. But the feeling of a clean slate can be the thing that pushes us to start today rather than tomorrow. Getting rid of your vice is always the hard one, but the crux of the matter – whether it’s smoking, junk food, coffee, or anything else – is you really need to want to quit. Giving something up because you think you should isn’t enough to drive success. So do your research and remind yourself why you really want that vice out your life.
Maybe this is the year you’ll travel to your dream destination or perhaps you’ll just be holidaying at home. Whatever you do, make sure you see something new to remind yourself that there are always places waiting to be discovered. Check out our 12 places to see in 2014 for some extra inspiration.
Shake up your system
No, we’re not talking about smoothies and organic supplements here, as much as your body would probably thank you for it. This is about taking a look at your organisation system and smashing the hangover of last year’s to-do list.
If life admin is getting you down, renew your processes and utilise one of the amazing apps that are available to help you accomplish those pesky everyday tasks. From fixing that leak to writing a long overdue email, every time you knock something off the list you’ll feel your load lighten a little.
What do you want to achieve in 2014?