It’s just passed that time of the year again. December. A month synonymous with Christmas carols, frenzied, last minute gift purchases, over-eating and unprecedented levels of stress. But, amidst the mince pies and madness, it’s also the time of year when we start to engage in a little introspection. When we turn our back on the old year and welcome in the new one with champagne, vision boards and well-intentioned plans to do and be better.
Hello, New Year’s resolutions. We meet again.
Maybe you’ve made a promise to yourself that next year will ﬁnally be the year you undergo your Hungry Caterpillar transformation and turn into the Victoria Secret butterﬂy you always dreamed one day you’d become. Or, perhaps, you’re going to save for that new car, overseas trip or house deposit by budgeting, cutting back on thriftless spending and becoming a hermit with terrible caffeine and smashed avocado withdrawals.
“All those gradual, little changes will add up to something bigger.”
Whether you’ve already made your New Year’s resolutions for 2019, or you’re being socially responsible and recycling the ones you made at the end of 2017, be mindful of what your intentions actually are and whether your expectations are realistic or not. We may feel socially obligated to get into the spirit of New Year by setting ourselves big goals. But ultimately when we put too much pressure on ourselves to succeed; we struggle. We struggle to commit. We struggle to maintain our enthusiasm. We struggle to see things through. Hence why most New Year’s resolutions fail by the time Easter (and all of those devilishly moreish chocolate eggs) rolls around.
Which is why this year, instead of setting myself up for failure by making promises that I know I’ll struggle to keep – like the one where I’ll be ﬁnancially stable enough to move out of my parents’ house before my next birthday, ha! – I’ve come up with some mantras that I believe will enable me (and hopefully you) to level up and start living the best life possible.
I will resolve to be happier.
That means focussing on doing the things that make you happy. Whether that involves starting a new passion project, making more time for yourself and your VIPs or doing something as simple as taking a break from social media – if it’s going to make you happy, just do it. Life’s too short to make excuses or to worry about what other people might think or say about you. It’s not selfish to put your happiness first and if what brings you joy doesn’t hurt anyone else in the process, then you do you!
I will resolve to be healthier.
Does it mean you have to sign up to a gym or go on a keto/paleo/carb-free/sugar-free/joy-free diet? Sure, if it’s what you really want to do (but that just means more pasta for me). Obviously it’s important to take care of our bodies, but it’s equally important to take care of our minds and spirits, too. You might decide to take up meditation, to moderate certain indulgences or to start a weekly walking tradition with your friends. It doesn’t matter what you do, what’s important is that you nourish your body with good food and exercise, your mind with good thoughts and your spirit with good energy.
I will resolve to be kinder to myself.
No more comparing yourself to filtered Instagram ideals and airbrushed models. It’s time to stop focussing on your perceived blemishes and flaws and start looking deeper. Underneath the superficial layers – the skin, the hair, the clothes – you are beautiful and unique. There is no one else like you. There will never be anyone else like you. The sound of your voice, the warmth of your smile, the generosity of your spirit: these things, much like your own fingerprints, cannot be duplicated. They exist only because you exist. So be kind to yourself and learn to love the finer qualities that make you who you are. You’re worth all the love that you can give.
So, before you sit down and begin signing your soul over to the New Year’s devil, remember that a resolution is only as good as the intention behind it. Maybe you prefer the contractual quality of the good, old-fashioned New Year’s resolution or, like me, you’re after a more holistic approach. Whichever you prefer, when it comes to personal development, acknowledging that you’re human and that the path to success is not linear will help you to get one step closer to achieving your goals.
Whether it’s today, tomorrow or at the refreshing of the calendar, it’s your time. Take it easy on yourself. Because, before you know it, all those gradual, little changes will add up to something bigger, and you’ll find that you’ve evolved into the person you always dreamed one day you’d become: the best version of yourself.