Monday, 5 January 2015

How to Make New Year Resolutions You Can Keep

by Lauren Robson-Skeete

Decluttering,in South Africa
Around the world, many weird and wonderful New Year traditions were embarked upon, ranging from the slightly unusual to the enigmatic. For example, in South Africa some opt for throwing out old furniture from their windows (see picture on the right), whilst in Siberia the reckless jump into the frozen Lake Baikal carrying a tree, yet as the celebrations end the inevitably flawed resolutions must begin. 

Despite this, instead of rejecting resolutions entirely, I would like to offer a Top 3 in achievable resolutions that anyone would be proud of, manageable by even the most slovenly amongst us. So, whether you are admirably battling on with a new health start or have gracefully admitted defeat already, they will improve your life, even if by only a small measure:

1. Get more sleep and drink more water.

2. Declutter your life, physically and metaphorically – remove anything that you can that does not bring you joy.

3. Make small changes (instead of going on a diet, implement healthier food into your current diet or exercise for just that little bit longer each time etc.)

However, as many of us embrace the ‘new year, new me’ mantra that courageously inspires those for the beginning of January (perhaps even leaking into February), I question the importance of resolutions; seemingly, the efficacy of such tasks depletes into futility as we readjust back into the mundane routine and it becomes all too easy to neglect the changes we considered making once so forcefully at the beginning of the year.

Ultimately, New Year resolutions needn’t be revolutionary, sometimes the best things in life are the simplest, change is hard, so engulfing yourself in something completely new straight away perhaps will not offer the cure we are all after, as they say ‘Rome was not built in a day’ and it is this approach that I think should be embraced. 

The most common resolutions are to get fit, spend less money and eat healthier; whilst these are all perfectly adequate, for many they simply end up unachievable largely due to the fact that there are no instant effects and it all seems to become an unnecessary burden. Thus, I would argue that maintaining smaller goals removes this burden. Focus more on yourself and the small, seemingly insignificant, changes will soon become beneficent and will in turn make bigger goals far easier to achieve successfully. 

Particularly if we reflect on the more poignant and aspiring moments of 2014, it was not those who got more exercise or lost the most weight who made the headlines but those who made small changes. Whether that be those uniting in protest in the likes of Ferguson and Syria, or Malala Yousafzai winning her Nobel Peace Prize after resolutely campaigning for female rights to education, it is clear to see that this culmination of spirit, coupled with small changes that lead onto larger ones, undoubtedly beats any other resolution and should thus be the most prevalent change to make of all.

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