New year’s resolutions don’t have to involve huge sacrifice and hardship. In fact, chosen correctly, they can be downright enjoyable. More sleep? Yes please. Learning new stuff? Why not? Reframe your resolutions and you’ll find that keeping them is a breeze.
GO TO BED EARLIER
Yup, it really is that simple. Many of us resist early nights – choosing instead to channel hop or scroll endlessly through Instagram – and then wonder why we wake up feeling groggy and unrested. Time for change. An extra hour or two in bed will get your year off to a positive start and has myriad proven benefits, from keeping your immune system strong to improved cognitive function. Aim for eight hours – and set yourself a routine to keep things simple. It might be an idea to set a nightly alarm while you are getting used to your new bedtime – and make it appealing. Nightly baths, meditation, new pajamas – this is about pleasure and self-care so don’t be afraid to indulge. Sweet dreams.
GIVE SOMETHING BACK
We are all time poor but many of us could spare a couple of hours a week to do a little more to give back to society. In 2020, why not work out how best you could incorporate some charity work into your life? Many community-driven organisations seek occasional help for fundraising events and befriending and are happy to work around your schedule. The benefits of volunteering extend far beyond the causes and communities you’re supporting. Humans are hardwired to lend a hand, and when we give, we feel happier. Win win.
Build exercise into your routine
It’s not exactly breaking news that regular exercise improves both your mental and physical health. But instead of planning unrealistic life changes and challenges, why not simply start to build some regular light exercise into your routine? And don’t be vague about it. Promises such as ‘I will do more exercise in 2020’ are broad enough to ignore, whereas ‘On Monday nights, I will commit to a yoga class’ is far more specific, meaning you’re more likely to stick to it.
Try something new
Join a book club, learn how to speak French, or master the perfect spaghetti carbonara. It doesn’t matter too much what you do, but research shows that learning new skills can improve your mental wellbeing. That’s because it boosts confidence and self-esteem, helps you build a sense of purpose and in some circumstances brings you into contact with others.
Learn about the food you eat
We all know we should be more careful when it comes to what we eat – so why can’t we stick to our plans? One way to get better results is to learn more about food; what effect it has on your entire system and why. So instead of deciding to ‘cut out all sugar’ instead, learn about sugar, why exactly it is bad for you? And instead of diligently getting your five-a-day, learn exactly what these fruits and vegetables are doing for your body (and mind). That knowledge should carry you further and equip you with more than just willpower the next time you feel like falling off the wagon.