It is a few days after Christmas, and for most people that usually means the start of thinking about resolutions for the new year. New years resolutions are a double-edged sword: it is great to set positive and uplifting goals for yourself, but un-kept resolutions can often be a huge let-down and hurt the self-esteem. The biggest disappointments often arise from setting unrealistic and unobtainable goals, and so this article offers a few suggestions about how to set realistic resolutions to help have a Happy New Year.
- Keep the resolution SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound. (For more details click here)
- Set resolutions that will be of benefit to yourself and to others. The research on charity work and volunteerism shows clearly that giving of your time and energy to a cause has positive benefits for you and the recipient alike. These activities are often meaningful, making a contribution to your own wellbeing, and helpful, making a contribution to the wellbeing of others.
- Set new years resolutions aimed at bringing your life into balance. Spending too much time at the office? Involve yourself in an ongoing activity with your family. Watching too much TV? Make it a goal to go for a walk outside during your lunch break at least three times a week. Can’t remember the last time you sat and simply let your mind unwind? Research some Mindfulness Techniques and implement these.
- If you aren’t exercising hard for 30 minutes at least three times a week, then make it a resolution to do just that. Exercise provides probably the most accessible boost to your mental and emotional health that you can get (not to mention the physical benefits). There are so many fun and accessible exercise options available that there are very few excuses not to be active. Try gym classes, running with a colleague after work, joining a squash league, mountain biking, rock climbing, or getting a fun set of workout DVDs to use in your own home with your partner and kids.
- Write your resolutions down and tell someone about them. Spend time thinking about doing them. You’re more likely to do something that you have committed to paper, and further more likely still to take action when you have shared your commitment with others. When you visualise yourself taking action, you actually prepare your mind and body to do the thing – in effect you are practising. (This is why just thinking about hitting a squash ball will improve your game.)
- Persevere. Keep it up. Notice the positive benefits and receive them with gratitude.
- Make an effort to make a new friend this year.
Happy New Year, everybody!