I do hope you all had a lovely Christmas and are looking forward to 2023.
A new year brings new beginnings. After the indulgence of the Christmas festivities we usually reach for pen and paper and begin a “new years resolution” list. For many of us, it’s not dissimilar to last year’s list – only 8% of the population sticks to their resolutions. So I wanted to look at a different way of creating and accomplishing our “new years resolutions”.
Firstly, let’s look at the word “resolution” – it comes from the Latin word “resolutionem” which means “the process of reducing things into simpler forms”.
Simplifying your every day is a great way to rid yourself of the unwanted and allow new things to take their place. A great place to start is your home. Take one room at a time and ‘edit’ it. Rid yourself of all the things you don’t use – these items can be made into a giveaway, either to a charity or to a friend. Set yourself the task of completing one or two rooms a week making sure that what is leaving doesn’t sit at the front door for the next few weeks – it will make its way back into those dark corners of your cupboards, for sure. By taking that first step in simplifying your outer space you can begin to simplify your inner space, breaking old ‘bad’ habits to make room for new ‘good’ ones.
Once the first room has been successfully edited, begin creating your list. Entitle it “Good Habits” in order to move away from the more traditional “New Years’ Resolutions” and removed the stigma surrounding failed attempts in the past.
Choose 6 things to start with.
The usual suspects on everyone’s lists include;
– eating healthier
– going to the gym or joining one
– quit smoking
– drinking less alcohol
– drinking more water
– reducing your caffeine intake
– cutting out the indulgences like sweets and chocolate
– learning something new
Choose the easiest habit on your list. For example, let’s choose to drink more water as it’s an addition rather than a subtraction.
If, like me, you love a cuppa in the morning, instead of filling the kettle with water straight away, fill a glass, drink the contents, and then grab the kettle. Do this for 28 consecutive days. After the first 7 days of the 28, bring this habit into the next time in the day you have a cuppa – 11 am for example. Then 7 days later fill your glass with water before pouring your glass of vino in the evening. It’s important to note that your focus is not on breaking the habit of caffeine or alcohol consumption but on consuming more water. Over time your body’s need for caffeine and alcohol will naturally reduce, due to the fact that it’s being regularly hydrated by the healthier option of that refreshing elixir of life we call water. You’ve then killed two birds with one stone.
After the first 28 days are over and the first thing on your list has become that ‘good’ habit, choose the next easiest on your list – e.g. eating healthier and begin the 28-day process again.
Choose 1 whole day in the first 7 to eat nothing but healthy food. For the following 7 double it to 2 days, for the next 7, double it again and have 4 healthy eating days out of your week then, maintain that until the 28 days are over. Take note of how your body feels in this transition from ‘bad’ to ‘good’. If all goes well you’ll be choosing all 7 days of your week to eat healthier.
Choosing one thing on your list at a time has such positive benefits. It’s simpler to just focus on one thing, giving your best to achieve the goal. Once you’ve triumphed in that arena, you’ll have more energy and determination to tackle the next thing on your list. There’s an accumulative effect. When you’re done with the 6 things on your list, make another list of 6 taking the same approach, 1 at a time for 28 days.
I’ve chosen 28 days because generally, it takes anywhere between 21-28 days to create a new habit. The first 3-4 weeks of performing a new task is often the hardest but once you break that barrier things do start to get easier as the task then becomes a habit.
During this period of change, find your tribe. Surround yourself with people that are going to support you and help you, especially if you are having a tough day. Those people will always encourage you to be the best version of yourself and your triumphs may inspire them to make some positive changes.
Something to remember when you begin your list this year:
Don’t rely on motivation.
Learn to be self-disciplined, because that’s what it takes to achieve your goals.
Progress, not perfection.
1% better, every day.
Best wishes for a happy and healthy year in 2023!