Now, I’m not normally one for New Year’s resolutions. Because… why not make resolutions right now rather than waiting for the new year, right? There’s no time like the present! However, this year, I thought that if I were to write down my resolutions, then I might be more likely to keep them (probably just wishful thinking on my part)! So here are 17 New Year’s Resolutions you’ll love keeping!
Drink more water
Okay. I have this as my number one as I ended the year on antibiotics #fail (and there was also no champagne at midnight for me!). Your body will thank you so much for this basic change to your daily diet. A little water can do you the world of good. Aim for at least two liters of water a day (approximately eight glasses). Your skin and mind will thank you in the long run!
Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep a night
Switch off all electronics at least an hour or two before bed. I know, this one is harder to keep than most resolutions; in an era when we have constant access to social media and emails, it can often feel like you can’t switch off. That you have to constantly be glued to your portable device.
However, make this the year that you give yourself permission to ‘switch off’ and relax. Besides, you really need to put down the phone screen before bed! The ‘blue light’ of your screen actually acts as a stimulant for your brain and can make it harder to sleep, or even to relax. If you really can’t sleep, try closing your eyes and resting, or sip an herbal tea and read a book.
Save 10% of everything you make.
This is one of those things I wish I’d started doing from the beginning (like, when I took a year out of university and actually had a proper job). But #travel (oops). With the current economic climate, politics in more turmoil than ever before and an alarming number of zero-hour contracts being dished out on a daily basis, there’s no knowing what the future will hold.
Saving at least 10% of everything you make may not sound like the most fun idea when there are those sparkly shoes you fancy buying or that weekend getaway with the girls, but the future you will likely thank the current you for a little investment into your bank account!
Spend at least 10 minutes a day on something you’re passionate about!
With work, family commitments, school etc. etc, it’s often really hard to find the time to spend the time on things we actually enjoy and are passionate about. However, dedicating just ten minutes to something you love will end up totaling 3650 minutes a year (over 6 days worth of time).
This means that just ten minutes a day can add up to a lot of productive time! So start practicing that language you’ve been thinking about learning, or snapping a few extra photos or even writing that book you’ve been thinking of! You’ve now got the time…
I swear this is one I make every year and only kind of end up keeping! But in an age of Facebook, endless memes, and Netflix, we could all do with giving ourselves a bit of a break from time to time. You know, those times when you sit down with a nice cup of tea and relax.
And I’m not even talking anything as heavy as Tolstoy or James Joyce either. Make an effort to read, even if it’s just things you enjoy. When my Mum recently said to me ” You know, I really should read more classics, but some of them are just so heavy,” I replied with a “Why?” Life’s too short to be doing things you’re not passionate about in your free time. From Harry Potter to Alice in Wonderland, make this the year you fall in love with reading again.
Be nice to everyone you meet.
That woman who just nudged you on the bus, that guy in the coffee shop who was particularly rude to you for no apparent reason, you have no idea what they’re are going through. Maybe they just lost their job, maybe they just got divorced: the point is, each and every one of us is going through some struggle or other. Be more compassionate towards others and you may just end up making someone’s day…
Write. Every. Day.
Even if you don’t write a blog, or have a job that requires you to directly write every day, writing is a pretty vital part of communication. And who doesn’t want to get better at communication?
In the words of Stephen King ““Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid or making friends. Writing is magic, as much as the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink.””
Spend more time with loved ones.
If there’s anything that 2016 taught me, it’s that you never know when your time’s up. So this year, I’m going to make more of an effort to keep in touch with my family abroad, my far away friends and spend as much time with my parents and sister as possible. (This last one won’t be difficult as I’m planning on moving home in a few months, after my degree, to save some money *sob*).
“Smiling leaves you with fewer wrinkles than frowning” is an old wives tale that I’m sure you heard about 2957162 times when you were growing up. However, studies actually prove that smiling can make you happier! And even if smiling doesn’t make you happier (doubtful), you’ll likely have made someone else happier in the meantime as happiness is contagious…
Take some social media breaks.
Okay, okay this is the one thing I have to do more often. Despite being more connected than ever before, social media can often make us feel lonelier and less connected. Ironically, studies have shown that social media like Instagram is actually making us unhappier than we were before. So yeah, take a couple of days break now and then!
If you’re still struggling to keep yourself off your phone or laptop, then find someone who doesn’t really ‘do’ social media to help you through. Considering none of my family or close friends really care about social media, I’m fortunate in that they’re constantly reminding me to ‘live in the present’.
Limit your alcohol intake.
Alcohol is one of the biggest time (and money) wasters I know of. Not only is it bad for your mind and body, but it costs an awful lot of money. Money that you could spend traveling, saving up for school, or even investing in a new hobby. Not only does alcohol contain a lot of bad calories, it’s also pretty bad for your brain and kidneys. Besides, it’s always embarrassing when you wake up the next morning and realize you’ve sent your ex that “miss me?” text. (cringe…)
Not only does alcohol contain a lot of bad calories (as in, empty, nonnutritious ones), it’s also pretty bad for your brain and liver. Besides, it’s always embarrassing when you wake up the next morning and realize you’ve sent your ex that “miss me?” text. (cringe…)
Go somewhere new every month!
And I’m not talking about spending $2000 dollars on a holiday either. Just as ‘you should do something every day that scares you’, you should try and experience something new each month. Exploring your own backyard can be just as interesting and rewarding as traveling halfway across the world. Plus, it’s the perfect way of traveling on a budget!
Live in the moment (at least for a little each day).
The funny thing about the future is that while we’re sat there, worrying about it, it’s constantly creeping up on us. Similarly, the past is slipping further and further away. Our brains are constantly active, dreaming/ worrying about the future and reminiscing/ regretting the past. Try and spend at least a couple of moments each day just here and now. Whether it’s concentrating on the taste of your sandwich or the smell of your shampoo, try to concentrate on the here and now. Besides, it will be gone before you know it.
If you’re still struggling to do this, I really recommend trying some yoga, even basic breathing practices can help you declutter your mind, rest your brain and de-stress.
So you don’t have to start the year by saying ‘I’m going to run a marathon’ because the reality is, for most of us, that’s never going to happen. Instead, focus on smaller goals like walking half an hour rather than that ten-minute bus ride, or even just walking around a museum on a Sunday rather than having a netflix binge.
Exercise (yes, even walking counts) produces endorphins which make us feel better and more content. Not only will your waistline thank you for doing a little more exercise, but so will your mind. Exercise boosts brain function and concentration; something we could always do a little more of!
Start chasing those dreams!
What are you waiting for? Start chasing your dreams today. Because, if not now, then when?
Okay. Admit it. You’re probably only on this post to avoid that essay you’re meant to be writing or writing that email to your boss! Stop procrastinating and you’ll find yourself with oodles of free time after you’ve got the necessary tasks done (and a lot less stress to boot!)
Anything to add?
What are your goals and New Year’s Resolutions for this year? Let me know in the comments below!