How many times have you made a new year’s resolution, only to give up with it a few weeks later?
We tell ourselves this is the year we’ll get in shape. We vow to stop drinking and to cut sugar out of our diets. We promise ourselves that we’ll make these huge life changes, and then beat ourselves up when we don’t see them through.
The problem is that these kinds of resolutions are generally about depriving ourselves in some way. In the cold, dark days of January we try and cut out the things that we enjoy, the things that bring us pleasure, the things that brighten up our days.
This year though, I think we should all be trying something different.
This year we should be making resolutions that are actually worth keeping.
The kind that add to our lives. Resolutions that bring us joy and contentment. The type of things that make life better, happier, brighter for us and those around us.
Focus on kindness.
One of the best resolutions to make is to be more kind. To other people and to yourself.
Make a promise to yourself to work on stopping negative self-talk. If you wouldn’t say something to your best friend, then don’t say it to yourself.
Be kind to your body. Learn to love it for everything it’s done and everything it still lets you do. Remember the line from the sunscreen song, “Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own”.
Make a point of treating everyone you come across with kindness.
Hold doors open, smile, let someone go in front of you at the tills, offer compliments, buy flowers for your partner, write a thank you note to the school lollipop lady, let other people live their lives without comment if what they do doesn’t harm anyone else.
Just be kind.
The world would be so much better if we all put more kindness out there.
Manage your time better.
I don’t just mean learning time management tricks to be more efficient, although this is a great skill to master.
What I mean is really look at how you’re spending your time.
Make sure you’re actually using your time in a way that brings you and your family joy.
When you’re with your children, make sure you’re really present with them. Instead of trying to multitask, take one thing at a time. Plan an evening routine so that you have time to read with your children every night. Schedule in a few hours each weekend to get out as a family and explore the local woods or park, no phones allowed.
Don’t postpone joy.
This is a big one for me, and one that I’ve been working on for years now.
If there is something that will bring you joy, and it won’t harm anyone else if you do it, then go for it.
Don’t wait for an imagined ‘perfect time’.
Eat the fancy box of chocolates.
Wear the new shoes on the school run.
Crack open the bottle of champagne in the fridge and celebrate a random Tuesday.
Stop saving things for ‘best’. This is your life, right now, this is it. And it is so fleeting. Make a point of finding as much joy as you can, in the big things and the many, many small moments.
Have you made any resolutions this year?
Do you think you might try and of these suggestions instead?