New Year's Resolution - How to Choose Ones You'll Keep

By Leila Wright

“Happy New Year!” is exclaimed and celebrated at the chime of the clock hitting midnight on New Year’s Eve, a night where food and drink are often consumed in large quantities. After an indulgent festive period, it’s our last chance go all out before we start, or revert to, our healthy eating habits and exercise regimes.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that January is their favourite month. Once the excitement of Christmas is over, the dark mornings and evenings seem all the more difficult, and the extra hole burnt in your pocket in December means your social life usually takes a slight turn. How about a new year, a new you?

Setting resolutions, or intentions if you prefer, are a wonderful way to bring some healthy change into your life. Eating more healthily, drinking less and exercising more are very common new year’s resolutions, but these are often hard to stick to after the contrast of December. Just like anything in life, going cold turkey and heavily restricting yourself is a sure-fire way to cave in quickly – unless you’ve got willpower of steel. It can be much nicer to use January as a way to settle back into normality, set some gentle intentions and listen to what your body needs.

Easing yourself into your resolutions or intentions is much kinder for the body, and after such a hectic period over Christmas, rest and relaxation is often what we crave! It you want to focus on your health in 2018, give yourself a few weeks to regain some energy and let your appetite settle back to normality. You’ll then start to feel ready to get going with some exciting new changes in your life!

What are the best kinds of resolutions? For starters, everyone is different – rightly so! - and resolutions should always be unique to you. If you centre your resolutions around your own happiness, you’re going to have a better chance of keeping them up. Things like reading more books, cooking more homemade meals, going on more adventures, taking up a new hobby or learning a new skill are great practical resolutions, but simple resolutions like taking gratitude more often, finding happiness in the small things, spending more time with loved ones, spending less time on social media, being more open to change, saying yes to things outside your comfort zone and celebrating your individuality are all worthy enough in their own right.

The thing with resolutions, is that there’s so much expectation around them to be long lasting. We put huge amounts of pressure on ourselves to keep them, through fear of judgment and failure to ourselves - yet the only person we should be doing it for is ourselves!

Take a moment to ask yourself whether what you’re doing is wholeheartedly for you? If not, change your tack and make sure that your resolutions make your heart happy and soul smile. Scrap the resolutions that bring you misery – such as the common culprits – and opt for those that get you out of bed in the morning and have you beaming when you go to bed at night!

There’s no getting away from the fact that we live in a world that’s increasingly fraught with uncertainty - finding light in the darkness couldn’t be more important as we enter 2018. Make this year count, but don’t ruin your own happiness in the process. 

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m off for a bath, a glass of wine, and maybe some chocolate. It’s still January, after all!

Leila Wright 
is a freelance writer and blogger, with a passion for creating a positive impact on mental health and the environment.