The first of January. The first day of a brand new year. The day where you’ve sworn to get back on track health wise, pledged to swap your phone out for a book, or set any goal. Sound familiar? Only to find yourself back at the start come the 1st of February? Ah, the beauty of New Year’s Resolutions.
January 1st has forever been the day of ‘fresh starts’, yet every time we see the same thing. Whether it be via Facebook or personal diaries, we repeatedly everyone expresses the same goals, in the same mundanely cyclical nature. From making promises that to go the gym more, to eating healthier and drinking less alcohol, you know the drill. Social media feeds are often plastered with images professing a ‘new year, new me’ mentality. Fittingly named after the transitional, both forwards and backwards looking god Janus, January certainly stands as a good opportunity to open new doors. But, do we ever really stick to our resolutions?
To put it frankly, no, not really. While that shiny new gym membership might be your best friend for two weeks or you might momentarily relish in swapping out fries for salad, sticking to the same resolutions year-in-year-out often proves fruitless. Not only does their cyclical nature become boring as the years stretch on, but the consistent failure to keep them up results in less motivation to even start. The solution? Instead of focusing on self-image, why not focus on both bettering yourself as a person while also helping those around you.
#1 Social Media Detox
Even though social media can be a wonderful thing, it also carries a certain level of toxicity. From images of photoshopped bodies to perfectly healthy plates of food, the internet can emit a falsified image of what a ‘good’ life really is. The worst thing about this? These images and videos appear everywhere – from scrolling down your feed to opening your inbox, it’s often hard to escape these forged presentations of reality no matter who, or where, you are. Not only can this prompt feelings of internal inadequacy, but it can also lead individuals to believe that externally changing themselves will create real feelings of happiness. This can manifest through diets or exercising, both of which are unhealthy if abused to an obsessive degree. A good way of combating this? Ditch the digital. Perhaps say to yourself, ‘I am only going to go online for two hours today’ or, ‘On Wednesdays and Fridays, I will not use social media’, or limit your screen time on your phone settings, teaching yourself to see social media as something to enjoy, but not a daily necessity. From reading books to painting to going for walks, the world offers a variety of activities that not only ramp-up your happiness endorphins, but give you a healthy outlet through which to channel positive self-progression.
#2 Campaign for a Charity
Have a charity that you love? Or one that’s always on your mind that you haven’t contributed to yet? Now’s the time. Not only do charities help those in need, but the choices available are incredibly varied. Whether you are passionate about cancer research, animal welfare or disability awareness and funding getting involved with an organisation that touches you personally is a great exercise in kindness. And you don’t have to be alone in the donating or fundraising process. Why not have a coffee morning with friends to brainstorm? Or get in contact with local schools? Spreading the word about your chosen cause is possible via many outlets – no matter whether you love to make cakes, knit, paint or run, raising money and promoting awareness is possible for anyone. Aside from raising money for those in need, becoming regularly committed to a charity opens a variety of prospective new doors. Not only is a personal sense of happiness guaranteed, but also that of new friends and connections – through charity work, it’s amazing as to how many inspirational, dedicated individuals you can meet.
#3 Personal Routine
Revamping your personal routine is also a fantastic way to jump into the new year. And no, I am not referring to gym memberships, but instead to daily planning. Motivate yourself by buying, or making, a new notebook specifically selected for this purpose – whether you head into Paperchase to claim that glittery pink notebook covered in unicorns you’ve been lusting over for weeks, or detail a notebook with inspirational quotes, pictures and patterns from the comfort of your own home, create a vessel in which your daily routine will be held. The benefits of daily planning are wildly under appreciated, when in reality one simple act of organisation can bring a huge sense of peace into your life. Not only can daily planning make life a lot less stressful by removing as many unforeseen obstacles as possible, but it can help you feel more prepared and centralised when carrying out daily tasks – a brilliant practice for those with disorders such as anxiety or depression. Being able to open a notebook every morning and clearly pencil in your daily intentions, to-do’s and goals is hugely refreshing, but also separates work from play. If you tend to find these activities blur together every now and then, consider appointing specific times for activities inside and outside of work; soon, you’ll find the cogs and wheels of life move together a little smoother than before.
#4 Schedule Family Time
Whatever your general goals for the new year may be, spending time with family is always a priority, especially from us here at Kindaba HQ. Maybe lately family time has been neglected, and you want to reconnect with those who mean the most. Maybe you have a particularly busy job or awkward working times, and as such are hardly there for dinner or bath time. No matter what the reason may be, it’s okay, and it’s fixable. Instead of worrying about rushing home in time, or even swapping out occupations in order to prioritise certain family commitments, work at improving and prioritising those that do fit into your daily routine. Simple things such as waking up half an hour early to make a special breakfast for your partner and children will not only get you up and going earlier, but solidify a sense of cohesiveness within your family unit. Even just setting aside half an hour every evening to read a bedtime story, sit down for dinner or play in the back garden can make a world of difference, but also promote a sense of structure within your whole family – a great thing for children to adopt alongside yourself!
#5 Say Yes More
Have you been stuck in a rut for a while? Or perhaps, you’ve found yourself saying ‘no’ to certain situations due to social anxiety? In this new year, you have the opportunity to maximise your life in all aspects – so, just say yes. There is nothing wrong with being a little shy, but letting it affect your personal life, opportunities and goals is not productive. Set yourself a ‘yes’ goal for every single day, and watch the positivity flow in. From promising yourself to go for a coffee with your friends, venturing to the library alone, going to that exercise class you’ve always wanted to try or something as simple as introducing yourself to a coworker, little acts of self-belief and self-motivation can make a huge difference to your quality of life. By pushing yourself to be a little more confident and self-assured, life’s doors will steadily begin to open up and gift you a multitude of interesting, exciting opportunities.
So, the most important message to take away? Life is a wonderful thing, and not just because it supplies us with gym memberships every January. As soon as your open your eyes to the many possibilities it gifts us, our whole quality and experience of life expands greatly. Instead of focusing on losing X pounds to feel Y amount of happiness this January, focus on how much you can make yourself, and others, truly smile – emphasise and feed off the positives in your life, as opposed to trying to ‘fix’ yourself in order to obtain a higher level of satisfaction. Revert back to a basic, healthy routine that gives you structure, happiness and opportunity every single day – no matter how small. Whether you make leaps and bounds this new year, or simply dip your toe in the waters of possibility, be proud of everything you achieve within the next twelve months and welcome those new doors with open arms.