HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY! Welcome to 2018.
So…who has made a new year’s resolution? I know from what you have been telling me on Instagram that a lot of you don’t bother making resolutions. I don’t blame you – this used to be me and to some extent still is! You may remember that a few years ago, in the era of KTTLG 1.0, that instead of making a resolution I decided to make a list of ten things that I wanted to achieve instead. I wasn’t able to achieve all of them (to be honest I kind of forgot about the list between January and December!) but I did achieve some of them which was pretty cool. I am a believer that if you want to change something you shouldn’t have to feel like you have to wait until January 1st, or Monday, or whenever you say it’s going to start.
If you want to make changes you should be able to make them any time you want. This is something which I know a lot of you believe and something which I definitely very much believe in.
At the end of 2016, however, I thought that I would give this whole new year new me shenanigans a go – you only ever hear of people “failing” at their resolutions, so was it even possible to make a resolution which I could keep? I found myself stuck in a bit of a contented rut – I wasn’t unhappy with my life but I wouldn’t have said I was having a great time either. I’ve already shared about how 2016 was a big year of graduating, moving and getting a job. I wouldn’t say that something was missing, but as a bit of an all or nothing person being content with life just wasn’t enough for me.
Another problem was that I could feel myself being sucked back into my old work-obsessive habits, and the last thing that I wanted to do with a job I actually liked was to burn myself out. A shake up in life was what I needed for my mental health as much as anything else.
So what was my almighty resolution? To do more of the things I enjoy. Simple.
I’ve taken some time to think about why this worked, and the absolute truth is that I have no idea. There is no exact science to making a successful new year’s resolution. I will however share with you some of the things that I think made a big difference for me in the hopes that they might help you too!
1. I didn’t start on January 1st.
HOW CAN YOU NOT START A NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION ON THE FIRST? I hear you cry. Simple – on January 1st I still didn’t even know what my resolution meant. I didn’t really know what I wanted to achieve or how I wanted to do it and I needed a few days to think it through. I think we were actually almost a week into the year before I took my first step – a spontaneous trip to Dundee to see of my favourite people – and by that time I knew what I was doing was right for me. Maybe your resolution will start before January 1st – maybe if you want to start saving money you’ll actually start from your December pay, for example – or maybe it will start later – maybe you want to eat healthier but still have a fridge of Christmas cheeses or a box of sweeties that you don’t want to see go to waste. Part of my resolution was to start blogging again and we all know that didn’t happen until October! It’s 100% okay to start a little late or early if that’s what is going to work for you.
2. Be as vague or as specific as you need to be for you.
My resolution started its life as “I don’t want to be content anymore, I want to be happy” and I have seen people saying that their resolution is to “be happier”. What is happiness, and how do you make yourself happier? While my resolution is fairly vague, I took the time to define some of the things that make me happy – travelling, reading, seeing my friends, blogging – to help give myself some direction. If you need to have a vague resolution which you can adapt to changing situations then so be it! Equally, maybe you need hyper-specific goals and that is perfectly okay too. Your resolution can be as vague or specific as you need it to be as long as you keep it realistic.
3. Do it for you.
Just because everybody else says that their resolution is to lose weight/do more exercise/eat healthier (the most popular resolution every new year in the history of forever) doesn’t mean that yours should be too. I truly believe that one of the reasons resolutions fail is that people often do things that they think they should be doing rather than doing the things which they actually want to be doing. Maybe 99 percent of the people you know are hitting the gym and eating nothing but salad, but maybe what you really need to be doing is taking more photos of the great things in your life or you need to recycle more and put less to landfill – only you know what you need to do for your happiness and to help you reach your life’s ambitions.
4. Allow the failures.
My resolution was basically to make myself happy, but as a human being it is impossible to be happy all the time. Sometimes you’re not going to feel like you’re 100% on track to achieving your goals…and that is okay! Sometimes something would happen that left me feeling upset or disappointed or even angry, and one of the greatest things I learnt in 2017 was to allow this. I am one of these people who has gotten very good at squishing my honest feelings deep down inside, which is quite surprising considering how emotional I am! I am fairly open about my not so perfect mental state, and I know a lot of this stems from unresolved situations – times when I have been grieving or hurt and have simply brushed it off and carried on. It was an immense relief for me when I let myself be sad for a while – I gave myself two days of crying and moping then I made myself get out of bed and put some damn lipstick on and face the world. Was I still hurting? Yes. Did I feel better in the long run? Definitely. If you’re resolution is to get fitter/eat healthier/lose weight and you fall off the wagon for a meal, or a day or a weekend, let it happen then pick yourself up, brush yourself off and climb back on. One bad day does not a bad life make. Failing your resolution is not the end of the world…but if you are failing, remember that tomorrow is always a new day.
5. Evaluate regularly.
Every once in a while you’ve got to take some me-time to sit down and work out if you’re on track. Depending on your resolution this could take any different form, from numbers to feelings to whether that room you’ve been saying you’ll redecorate for the last decade actually has a new coat of paint on the walls. If it isn’t working, this is the time to have a good hard think and work out exactly what it is that isn’t working for you and find a way to change it – so often people make their resolutions on new year’s eve and don’t think about them until the next year’s new year’s eve! What needs to change, your goal or your work? You’ll probably find that it’s just a tiny change to what you’re doing that you’ll need to make to get you back on track and the earlier you identify this teeny tiny change the more time it has to take effect! A stitch in time, etc. So many people give up when something isn’t working and don’t take the time to think about why it isn’t working – often our biggest downfall as modern humans is to be overambitious, and if you need to adjust your goals a little to meet your abilities then there is absolutely no shame in that. You never know what life is going to throw at you, and what you’re capable of in January might not be what you’re capable of in May.
So that is my five top tips based on my 2017! I think the key to a successful resolution is to keep it realistic – if you keep that in mind then you should be on the right track to a very successful new year!
Were you able to stick to your 2017 resolutions? Tell me in the comments below!