Hello and welcome to 2016! The new year is a great time to set personal goals for the next 366 days, but, much like Windows 10, the human condition kicks off full of bugs after Christmas. These ‘bad bugs’ (let’s call them NYv.2016) tempt us to set goals for ourselves that are high, overly enthusiastic, often insufferable and usually knowingly unachievable. Our natural tendency, particularly while the festive spirit is still coursing through our veins, is to happily set ourselves up to fail. Ignore the notifications encouraging you to take up new resolutions until the year is underway, sanity is back on the scene and some degree of normality is restored.
The flip side of this is that resolutions are a great way to put a stop to things that a) you are doing to excess or b) you shouldn’t be doing at all. This year, why not go easy on yourself and think more along the lines of gentle lifestyle changes rather than non-achievable goals. Here are five gentle reminders about the important things in life. Have a mull, and hopefully feel a little bit inspired to change something gently, and for the better.
- Nourish your body
Your body is amazing, treat it as the gift it is – it’s your most treasured possession. That means feeding yourself with the nutrients you need. Create food you enjoy and savour it as you eat it slowly. Hydrate with water. If you don’t like drinking cold water, try hot water at the beginning and the end of the day. A slice of lemon in hot water before your morning tea or coffee is a great kick-start to the day and is an excellent habit to get into. Don’t deprive yourself of the foods you love, though if you’re a glutton for high sugar or salt foods, remember, it’s not a curse, it’s a habit and habits can be broken by reducing them slowly. There’s no need to go cold turkey – there’s been plenty enough of that over Christmas. Build a good relationship with a selection of foods and drinks that are good for your body and make a conscious note of the positive way they make you feel.
2. You’ve got to move it, move it
Nobody needs to tell you exercise is good for you, what you need to think about is HOW to exercise in a way that suits you. If you’re not a morning person, don’t push yourself to go on an early morning run. If you enjoy competitive sports rather than solo ones, aim to join a badminton club rather than go to the gym. If you love to dance, try a few Zumba classes or try out a Salsa night. If you live as well as work in or around London, you are literally spoilt for choice.
One more thing – why not aim to mix up the way you exercise. Not only is it fun to vary the ways you make your body move – variety is also incredibly good for your muscles and vital organs. Love gyms but don’t like the monotony? Try a new one each week! Many gyms offer one-off sessions or pay as you go membership, so you never need to feel tied down. The key to exercise? Make it work for YOU.
3. Treat others as you would be pleasantly surprised to be treated yourself
There are countless good reasons to include kindness into your new year’s resolutions. Being kind benefits the benefactor as well as the recipient. We talk about it rather a lot in our previous blogs as it truly is a key component of a happy life at work as well as at play. Being kind doesn’t necessarily mean giving money to charity – it means being aware of those around you and treating others as you would be pleasantly surprised to be treated yourself.
Smile at strangers (not in a creepy way), offer your team one of your home-made biscuits, share a JustGiving campaign that means something to you, hand out compliments abundantly. Be yourself, but as the positively good version. See how that works out for you.
4. DO things rather than BUY things
In our consumer-centric world it’s easy to get carried away with material possessions, particularly if you earn a healthy living and benefit from more cashflow than time. Of course it’s pleasing to own lots of desirable things, but here’s the rub; you’re not going to be thinking about that smartwatch when you’re old – you’ll be thinking about that trip to Peru – remember? The one where you met that fascinating chap who told you all there is to know about the sex life of bantam chickens, when the monkey stole your breakfast and you unexpectedly ended up on the wrong train in a mystery kaftan. One of those has a greater value because it will bring you more long-term joy. Life is for experiences, not things. If you have the privilege of options – challenge your life rather than adding stuff to it.
5. Accept yourself
Most of us are not perfect. Those who are are selling something. Some of us won’t stick to new year’s resolutions, no matter how small they are. Accept yourself with your foibles and imperfections. Nobody is judging you, other than yourself and possibly your mum.
This is arguably the hardest resolution of all, but it’s the most worthy. Accept yourself. You’re great the way you are, and all the important people love you for it. Perhaps you don’t need to change a thing.
Happy New Year!