It’s common knowledge at this point that New Year’s Resolutions just don’t work for most people. The very nature of them makes them hard to keep, a recipe for disappointment.
Refreshing your life and habits in the New Year is absolutely worthwhile – but most people set huge, unrealistic goals for themselves and leave themselves feeling disappointed and low when they can’t achieve them.
I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions, but I do believe in little changes which lead to huge ones! That’s why I’ve put together this list of four small, achievable ways to be a little healthier and happier in 2017.
1. 🍏 Eat SOME healthy food
If you’re unhappy with your eating habits, it’s just not realistic to change them completely in 2017. If you have a weakness for biscuits you’d like to curb a little, swearing off them completely will be incredibly difficult. Instead, I recommend just trying to eat healthier things more frequently. When in doubt, more fresh fruit and veg can’t hurt. Sliced apple with peanut butter is tasty and good energy for the morning, and you can jazz up an ordinary shop bought hummus with lime, spices or fresh herbs – it makes a great lunch along with some oatcakes or crackers and rocket leaves.
Eating one more healthy meal a week is a noble and achievable goal. Or maybe you just want to make sure you’re including some vegetables along with the kinds of meals you’re already making. Maybe instead of letting half-empty bags of veg in the fridge go to waste, maybe your goal is to cook the whole thing at once and eat more of it in one portion instead of bulking out a meal with more rice, potatoes or pasta.
Achieving small goals like these will make you feel good and give you more energy to go further with them – rather than putting too much pressure on yourself and feeling rubbish when you fail. You can eat better if you want to, it’s not futile! But it’s not going to happen overnight either. You need time to adjust and develop your skills and knowledge. Slow and steady wins the race!
2. 🏋️ Find activity and exercise in SMALL ways
New Year is the busiest time of year for gyms. Memberships go through the roof, and then are cancelled or go unused in the following months. Instead, think small and realistic. And if you’ve had ‘exercise more’ on your To Do list for months or years and still haven’t managed to achieve that – make an effort to try different forms of activity or exercise.
Everybody’s different! Maybe your best friend loves to run but it bores you to death – it’s easy to think ‘I’m just not good at exercising!’ when you try something and it doesn’t work out the way you hoped it. The truth is, it can take years to find what works for your body and your lifestyle! But it takes a lot less time if you decide to try different things with the intention of finding something which works. Maybe you jog those two flights of stairs every day instead of walking them. Maybe you borrow a bike and try cycling to work a couple of days over the week. Maybe you want to do pilates every week.
Only you can find those little ways to be more active and physical which work for you, and the more you experiment, the quicker you will!
3. 🌿 Be gentle with yourself
Stop beating yourself up for not being PERFECT. You are human – and that’s allowed! If you often think things like ‘I’m rubbish at this’, ‘I’m not doing enough’, ‘I’m such an idiot’, ‘I can’t be bothered’ – that’s going to have a big effect on your happiness. Now I’m not saying you should convince yourself everything is amazing and you’re the best person in the world when that’s not true, replacing negativity with blind positivity isn’t a good idea. But approaching things in a balanced way is healthier than defaulting to negative.
If you notice yourself thinking negatively like this in the moment, try to stop and take a moment to say – is this actually true? Is this a useful thing for me think? Am I making things harder for myself by thinking and believing this?
If you’re thinking about something you have to do and your first thought is “Oh, I just can’t be bothered” – you’re not going to feel like doing it! Try reminding yourself “I’ll feel better when it’s done and it probably won’t take that long.”
4. 🌤 Recognise your achievements
It’s extremely easy to keep looking forward at all the things you haven’t done, and completely ignore everything you’ve achieved. 2016 was a tough year for losing actors and musicians, and full of turmoil in politics too, but what happened in your life?
Take a moment to think about all the things, big and small, that you achieved in 2016. Take a moment to look at how far you’ve come, instead of always focusing on how far you have to go. (This is the reason I like to keep a list of things I’ve done instead of things I have To Do!) Did you move house or change jobs, or improve your skills in your current job? Maybe you created some better habits, or finally saved up for that holiday you’d been planning for ages. Maybe you caught up with an old friend you missed, spent more time with family or helped someone through a difficult time.
Whatever you achieved in 2016, remembering you did will help you 2017!
Share one tiny change you’re making for the better this year with me on Twitter.
Love and blessings,