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A Guide to Resolutions

Congratulations! You’ve survived another Christmas. Did you have fun? Did you shout out with glee? Did you manage to not murder your entire family? Then kudos to you! With New Years on the horizon (along with a brand new decade), a lot of you might be considering a resolution. Just as a disclaimer, you actually don’t need to make a resolution (breaking news). For some, resolutions can enforce an idea that you’re already not good enough, and I just want to tell you that you are glorious the way you are right now. Yes, you! You don’t need to lose x-amount of pounds to be prettier, you don’t need to hustle harder if you’re already doing your best and for goodness sake another gym membership will not encourage you to go to the gym if you hate the atmosphere there (the workout to get into the sports bra is enough).

That being said, there’s absolutely no harm in trying something new that could benefit your year, or even life. I have had some resolutions that flopped, and some that soared. In 2019, my resolution worked, so I’ve created a little guide to help you find the right resolution, and stick to it!

Photo Credit 📷: Lindsay Henwood

Small Changes, Big Rewards

If you’re reading this thinking “My goodness, I’ve gained another belly roll this Christmas. I’ll have to lose at least 10 pounds to feel attractive now”, I’m going to stop you right there. Yes, we have all put on weight over Christmas (because food is the best part about Christmas), but if you’re putting yourself down before you’ve even started, then you are bound to fail, my friend. You could try a crash diet of salads and air…for about a week before your mate invites you to their new house…and they’re not serving salad…they’re serving pizza…and it smells so good…and aw hell THE DIET IS RUINED AND I’M UGLY FOREVER! No, no, no!

Make one small change. Just one. It seems like it’s not enough, but if you do the maths (or math if you’re American, or mathematics if you’re a douche) that’s 365 changes in one year. Seems big now doesn’t it? Let’s take a moment to imagine an area of your life that could use a little TLC – it could be your health, your finances, social life or maybe you just want to experience life a little bit. Now take that and put it into a positive phrase, such as “My bank account would stress me less, if I started saving more of my paycheque” Voila! That’s your step! Save a little more this year. You don’t have to go mental with it and deprive yourself, just put a little extra into your savings account every month (or week). By the end of the year, you’ll look back on your bank statement a feel a little easier knowing you’ve got enough for a rainy day.

Photo Credit 📷: Michael Longmire

Baby Steps

So you’ve identified your TLC area, and you might be really eager to dive straight into your resolution. Hold the eff up! Remember what we discussed earlier? If you crash out a week into it, you’ll never bounce back. Step 1 was making your resolution small and positive, step 2 is putting it into place at your own pace (say that ten times faster). You’ve said to yourself, “Working out a little more will make me feel more comfortable in my skin”, lovely stuff, now let’s flesh it out. If you start going to the gym 5 days a week, you might risk pushing yourself too hard. You could get to Week 3 and have no energy to socialise, do chores etc, and then fall into a “I haven’t gone to the gym as much this week, I have failed” trap. Try to tone it down. It would be wiser (and more successful) to start out as once or twice a week. Not so busy Tuesday night, fill your time with the gym. Big family get-together on Sunday, take that day off for family time. And if you miss a gym day, then don’t panic! Begin again next week, there’s 52 weeks a year after all.

My 2019 resolution was to keep hydrated. Doesn’t sound that grandiose on paper, but for years I have been notorious for not drinking during the day. I used to go the whole school day without drinking. Obviously, drinking plenty is a very healthy thing to do, so I decided to make a change. If I had started the 1st January by necking 8 pints of water, I’d make myself ill. Instead, I made myself little rules to follow, such as: drink before a meal, getting a drink after going to the loo (if this is TMI then get over it) and making sure I have a drink nearby when studying. These baby steps might seem regular to someone who doesn’t have a problem keeping hydrated, but who cares about what anyone else thinks? This is your resolution, and you can start as small as you want.

Photo Credit 📷: Jon Flobrant

Keep Track of Your Progress

This may just be the scientist in me talking, but I LOVE to track how my life is going. I like looking at how many steps I’ve taken, or how I’m balancing my work and social life. I’ve also tracked my 2019 resolution throughout the year, and it has been very effective. As I mentioned earlier, my resolution was to keep hydrated and during the year I’ve tried different methods of tracking my drinking, even downloading apps onto my phone to see if I’m taking in enough fluids. However, there was one method that worked better than the technology and it comes for free (if you’re squeamish, now would be a good time to skip to the next paragraph) – my pee. Yes, you read it right. One of the best signs that the body hydrated is having light coloured, clear urine. So, to see how I was faring during the day, I’d have a quick glance at my wee and if it wasn’t up to scratch, that meant I needed to drink more.

Monitoring progress also makes you feel better, if you’re reducing your screen time, and can see that you’ve spent 10% less time on Facebook this week, you’ll boost your positivity. No matter what your change is, you can find many ways to track it, from following my example of tuning into your body, finding a way to involve technology or journal your experiences. If you want to monitor how well you’re sleeping, there are apps that will analyse your sleep pattern and turn it into a percentage you can understand. If you want to be more mindful, journalling your thoughts and emotions can really help. At the end of the year, you should be able to look back on your resolution and see how far you’ve come.

Good luck! And may the resolution odds be ever in your favour!

Photo Credit 📷: Josh Watson

If you have a resolution, or tip for other readers, leave a comment below or on social media (links can be found at the top of the page). Enjoyed this post and want to see more of me in your inbox? You can subscribe to my email list below and get updates on new posts.

Featured Image Credit 📷: Jamie Street

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