This time of year, there are many lists of resolutions we feel we should commit to.
But what if we’re just putting too much pressure on ourselves? What if the resolutions we are setting are reflective, not of ourselves, but of what is deemed good and necessary in society?
Here are my resolutions for the new year—simple, small things that will lead to a more grounded and happy 2018.
1. Unfollow people on social media who make you feel bad.
This is a simple, small thing, but it can have such a massive impact on how we feel. Scrolling through Instagram and feeling bad about yourself can have a serious negative effect on your body image and mental health. This new year, I’m choosing not to wallow in self-hatred while scrolling through my feed, and instead deciding to follow people who are inspiring and uplifting, who make me feel happy.
2. Take a moment to declutter.
Decluttering is a big word in wellness trends lately, and it’s something we should all jump on board with. It’s quite simple: the objects that we surround ourselves with have energy and impact our mood—so why have any negative energy in our spaces? A friend of mine spends every New Year’s Eve clearing out her house and blitz-cleaning, and on New Year’s Day, she wakes up to a clean, happy house. Now while that may not be the ideal way to spend New Year’s, we can all take inspiration and leave behind some of things we no longer need.
3. Read more books by women of colour.
After taking a look at my bookshelves, I realised how lacking in diversity my books were. We should all aspire to broaden our perspectives and read books that develop our thoughts on the world. It is important to engage more with books, and especially ones written by diverse groups of people. So, every day, carry a book with you in your bag, and read it when you are waiting or eating lunch instead of checking your phone. This way, you’ll finish a book about every two weeks.
4. Meditate every morning.
There is a considerable amount of science behind meditation, showing that it alleviates things such as depression, anxiety, worrying, and overthinking. A Zen adage says: “You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes every day—unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.”
In our busy lives, how often do we take the time to sit and be present with ourselves? How often do we clear our mind of all the thoughts that rush around? There are many guided meditations available on YouTube and chants to learn that will will help most of us make meditation a daily practice.
5. Drink more water.
We all know we should be drinking around two litres of water a day, and yet it’s so very easy to forget. To avoid those dehydration headaches and attempting to drink eight glasses of water late at night (or is that just me?), there is a simple trick: every time you drink a cup of coffee or tea, have a glass of water. It might sound ridiculous, but it serves as a good reminder to up your water intake.
6. Begin journaling.
Thoughts and dreams change so quickly that it’s hard to keep track from year to year. Journaling is a simple way of reflecting honestly and openly about what your aspirations are. Because if you don’t know what you want, then how can you ever make it happen?
7. Stretch more.
Yoga has become vastly popular in recent years. We have all seen the numerous bendy people on Instagram, and if you’re anything like me, that can be quite disheartening—knowing that you look nothing like the yogis of Instagram. And yet, just stretching a little on the mat every morning will make you feel so much better. You’ll begin to see an improvement as you gradually reach a little further or manage to nail a headstand, and it’s something worth committing to.
8. Develop “Self-Care Sundays.”
Self-care is not a one-size-fits-all kind of philosophy. No matter how well something works for someone, you may need something different, and so it will look different for everyone. Try a few different things and learn what feels good for you. Whether that means reading your favourite book, taking long baths, or making time for painting. Whatever makes you feel like you’re important. Carve out some time for yourself in the week and learn to fully enjoy it.
9. Make small steps.
Whatever you want to accomplish, the best way to start is by taking small, manageable steps—so make a plan that feels achievable. Looking at where you are now should inspire you, although quite often, the very idea of our dreams seems daunting, so break it down and just begin.
10. Don’t forget to have fun.
At some point, we all become a little too serious—our lives often require it of us and it’s a necessary part of growing up. However, that doesn’t mean we have to forget how to have fun. If you spend any time around children, you will see they are happy just because, for no reason in particular. That is something we can all strive to bring into our lives a little. So during the week, make an effort to have some fun. Whether you invite your friends over for a wine night, or you go to a class with friends, make sure you laugh more often.
Author: Amber Finch-Sortain
Image: Author’s Own
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Copy Editor: Callie Rushton
Social Editor: Yoli Ramazzina