Habits for the new year
This time of year is packed full of resolutions, goals and changes; it’s hard not to feel the need to set some ambitious goals that will guarantee a ‘new‘ you. If you know me, you know I hate the term ‘new year, new me’. It expects change, like we aren’t good enough and sets horrible expectations we can’t always reach. I want to share some of my tips to maintaining positive mental health and wellbeing without the ‘new me‘ attitude.
Take stock of your healthy habits
It’s very easy in the new year to get caught up in fad (and ultimately dangerous) diets, feeling the need to cut out key food groups or go to the gym four times a week. Although some of these might be needed after the festive period, because I am not (fully) endorsing mince pies for breakfast in June. There are, however, plenty of things you are doing year-round that work.
Take a look at the healthy habits that you already do, and think about how can increase them. Are you a great cook? Try and focus on cooking fresh meals more. Do you love a bit of competitive sport? Try and give yourself time to do that more, it’s not an exercise goal but it’ll help you stay active and happy.
Remember, there are things that you do through-out the year which you might have stepped away from over the festive period. You can go back to them and, luckily, you don’t have to change much to do so. Well, apart from not counting chocolate as one of your five-a-day.
Set yourself a yearly theme
Rather than goals, which will ultimately make you feel awful if you don’t reach them, set yourself a theme. Something that you want to carry with you for the year. Step away from a theme that requires massive change and holds high expectations; like, running regularly- when you hate running. Instead, try things that you enjoy doing already and that you’d be motivated to do.
My examples include:
- Reading more books that interest me
- Visiting my friends more
You can also choose more abstract themes, so you won’t feel stuck. For example your theme could be:
- Courage – take a risk
- Laughter – seek out laughter and giggles
- Love – be vulnerable to all kinds of love (I mean like friends or pets, not the freaky kind. Unless you want to)
Give yourself a break; take pride in the day-to-day
That could be a goal itself, right?
When focusing on positive mental health skills you can get caught up in trying to ‘fix’ yourself. I certainly did, within a year I hadn’t set any New Year’s Resolutions, as such. Instead I wanted to give myself a few things to work towards, wanna see them? I decided I wanted to:
- travel more
- cook more
- see people more
- make new friends
- exercise three times a week
- not relapse (no biggie babe)
- come off my medication (seriously…no biggie)
- learn a new language (WTF was I thinking)
- change career
- get a perfect house
- find a pet I loved
- plan a wedding
- build a better family relationship
- write a selection of short stories
- blog daily
- work on my Instagram
- change my mental outlook
Yeah, in a year. Clearly, a few (or most of them) fell to the back burner and I decided that even having those expectations were bad for me – because I was disappointed for not reaching all those goals. Instead, I left 2018 taking pride in the achievements I had made through-out the day or week.
You can do this by taking a moment to unwind, weekly, and thinking about what you’ve achieved:
Went for a run? Well done you!
Did an amazing pitch at work? Pat on the back girl!
Made it to Thursday before you had a glass of wine? Get yourself a glass of wine henny!
Whatever it may be, however small you think it is; embrace it and be proud of it.
Remember, the great steps to better wellbeing and mental health aren’t always exercising three times a week and sticking to your diet. In fact, they hardly ever are!
TL;DR: Could you not have read it, it’s like 80% bullet points!? Summary is, embrace the healthy habits you have, set a theme that will guide you through the year, reflect regularly on what you have achieved.
I’ll leave you with this quote:
“For the love of all things amazing, stop comparing yourself to what others are doing. You’ll miss your turning.” – me, right now.