With the majority of the population vowing to give up drinking, abstain from chocolate or stop smoking, the general theme of New Year’s resolutions seems to be a drastic cutting of something that was previously enjoyed. Whilst this could have some health benefits, I really don’t believe the right way to go about changing habits is to make sudden and strict changes. Two years ago now, I set myself a mission that ended up going too far. This (along with a much longer story) has landed me so far away from the person that I used to be that this year, I’m changing my resolutions to some that will take me back to the happier, more relaxed person that I used to be.
In fact, I’m not going to call them resolutions because the mind-set of having to ‘stick to’ something means that as soon as we stray slightly, we give up entirely and wait until next year. Here are my aspirations for the coming year:
1. Say yes to more opportunities: Pretty self-explanatory, but there are so many things that I’d love to say yes to, but a little voice inside me manages to put me off. I’m going to try to ignore this a lot more and say yes to things I want to try. My social life is also often hindered by an extremely negative perception that ‘you won’t add anything’ or ‘nobody will miss you’. This is complete mindreading and leads to a cycle of staying in more and therefore feeling even more negative.
2. Paint my nails more: I used to be known as the person who always had pretty decorative nails, and I enjoyed it. Recently, I’ve given up a little on my nails and just tend to leave them entirely, forgetting how relaxing it used to be to paint them.
3. Look for the positives: This is a bit of a typical one, but very relevant. A recent task that I was set forced me to physically write down the positive things that happened to me throughout the week, and it really did show just how much my mind chooses to ignore. I’m going to try to actively remember the good things that happen daily, no matter how big or small.
4. Walk the dog more: It’s something I really enjoy but don’t often let myself do anymore as I don’t feel like I can justify taking time out. The aim is to relax and squeeze in some light exercise, purely to feel more refreshed and energised and take a break from being slumped in my dressing gown staring at my laptop.
5. Have a better study routine: Instead of trying to revise and work in every spare minute I get, only to resent it so much that I actually become extremely unproductive, I’m going to try to create better divide between study time and leisure time in order to feel like I’m actually giving myself a break.
6. Don’t have such a structured routine: This may sound like a huge contradiction to the previous idea, but it’s all about balance. I used to be stuck in a routine of having to wake up before 8am, and immediately start being productive. It didn’t matter what time I’d gone to sleep, if I wasn’t up by 8, I’d wasted the day and I was useless. This is clearly an unhealthy perception and I’ve learned that I need to allow myself sufficient rest in order to be at my best.
7. Save up for my year abroad: I never really buy expensive items, but I’m often tempted by reasonably priced clothes, stationery and general items that I don’t actually need. With a year abroad approaching, I need to save up for all of the experiences I hope to have in France.
8. Do more creative writing: Writing poems began as a way of expressing my thoughts, before I pressured myself into trying to make it ‘good’ poetry. This put me off writing but I feel that I should strip it back to what I originally enjoyed about it: the ability to be expressive. I also began writing for the university newspaper last semester, so I hope to continue with that.
9. Spend less time on my phone: So there is one main thing that I am going to cut down on, and that’s the amount of time I spend on my phone. It’s next to me all of the time and I’m constantly checking Instagram or refreshing my e-mails. In October, my phone was broken for 4 weeks and I was using my Dad’s that was only capable of calls and texts. At first, it drove me insane, however I slowly got used to not being so caught up in the virtual world and actually acknowledging the things around me.
The main aim of these goals is to start taking more time out to do the things that I used to enjoy, without feeling guilty or unworthy of relaxation and enjoyment. Hopefully this will benefit lots of areas of my life from self-confidence, to studying, to socialising.
For anyone who’s managed to read this far, I wish you a healthy and happy 2017. ❤