As the nights draw in, the air gets chillier and the Christmas countdown begins, it can be difficult to stop counting down the days until spring arrives. But we shouldn’t be waiting around to make New Year’s resolutions. There are many bad habits we all need to break.
After all, why wait until January when the only way to truly make a change is by being proactive and acting right now, in the present? January is a whole two months away. So here are my end of year resolutions (and they’re the kind that you don’t need to wait until tomorrow to start adapting):
#1 Stop social media stalking
It’s not helpful. It’s not productive. Seriously. Imagine all the things you could be doing in those 10 minutes you looked at your ex’s profile, had a short cry and ended up calling your mum (true tales of stalks past).
Imagine all the things you could be doing in those 10 minutes you looked at your old best friend’s profile who’s now a high flying banker and engaged, you had a short cry and ended up calling your mum (also true tales of stalks past).
#2 Know when to take a break (from social media)
With technology today, we’re constantly switched on. It’s unhealthy. I recently took my first break from social media in 6 months. I had posted at least once a day on Instagram during that entire period. I’m not sure it was pointless but at the same time it wasn’t completely healthy. I didn’t switch off my phone for an entire six month period.
Last summer, I worked in Algonquin Provincial Park. I didn’t have access to the internet for the best part of three months. Newsflash, it didn’t break me. Instead, I spent my days focusing on work and outdoors activities including kayaking and hiking. It was the best summer of my life.
So, switch off your phone for 24 hours, go on a short walk in your lunch break, spend a half hour an hour cooking and actually following a recipe, pick up your favourite book. It’s important to take time for yourself. We let technology rule our lives and that isn’t necessarily a good thing.
#3 Stop with the self criticism.
It’s healthy to try and improve yourself…. to a point. Roosevelt once said ‘comparison is the thief of joy‘. And he wasn’t wrong.
‘Maybe I’ll be happier if I had longer hair’, ‘Maybe I’ll be happier I drop a dress size’, ‘Maybe I’ll be happier if I move abroad’. Newsflash, I’ve tried all those things and… guess what? I was still the same person. I still had the same insecurities.
The only real happiness that comes is with self acceptance. Every moment spent criticising yourself is a moment wasted. You could be learning Polish, reading Harry Potter or just catching up on the latest Doctor Who episode.
#4 Be yourself
If people don’t like who you are, then that’s okay. Because there are a million and one others out there who will. Don’t change for someone else because then you’re lying to yourself. There’s a difference between actively trying to improve yourself and changing for someone.
‘I might like you more if we lived on the same country/continent’, ‘We might be friends if we liked the same music’ are not reasonable validations of your personality. And hasn’t it taken me my whole life to realise that!
#5 Stop saying it’s fine all the time (when it’s not)
Tell it how it is. If something’s not fine, then stick up for yourself because the sad reality is that if you don’t, no one else is likely to. If there’s one French habit I’ve learned during my time living in France, it’s that you should always be clear about how you feel.
For example, in friendships if someone has upset you, then be clear and honest (in a nice manner) that your friend has upset you and why. That way, you avoid building up resentment, which will inevitably get in the way of your friendship down the line.
#6 Stop making excuses
Start chasing your dreams right now. We’re all guilty of using phrases like: ‘Oh next week I’ll have more time,‘ ‘When X happens, then I’ll do Y’. Start focusing on the here and now. Because that’s the only thing that we’re really guaranteed.
# 7 Keep everything organised
And I’m not just talking about your room. When I was little, I was always really excited about the day I could move out of my parent’s house, get a job and live my life. Boy, did I not have a clue! It must have been so nice coming home to a tidy home, home cooked meals and having all my clothes bought for me (thanks, Mum 😉 ).
The reality is that trying to manage bills, working and studying can be difficult. It’s important to stay on top of them all. The best way to combat this has been to buy a day diary (like a real adult), where you can write when bills are due, any doctor’s appointments, exam times and shifts for work. And no, a scrap piece of paper won’t do. It will just get lost!