Every year we make a long list of broad stroke resolutions, with a little part of us knowing full well we aren’t going to keep them. Above all else, New Years is the perfect time to be totally and completely honest with yourself. There is no other point in the calendar year that best signifies a clean slate, a new start and a time for achievable, yet ambitious goals.
What do you want to have accomplished by this time next year? You have 365 days to work with…that’s 52 Mondays, and a total of 8760 hours that could be used to better yourself in some way. Let make some smart and powerful New Years resolutions this year, with these 11 different ways to look at your EOY goals.
11. Commit to a healthy challenge
Support and accountability are two of the strongest sources of encouragement for achieving goals. If you’re the type of person that struggles to keep to something unless there’s a light at the end of the tunnel i.e. an end date or a celebration you’re preparing for, then a challenge is the perfect New Years resolution for you. Communities like GuavaPass offer global challenges to help you achieve your fitness goals – read more about the Guava18 Challenge here.
10. Eat better, not less
While most people think cutting calories is the easiest way to lose weight…their right. Well, for the first week at most. What happens after that? Studies show that people who “followed a very low-calorie diet regained significantly more weight than those on a more forgiving plan”. Rather than focusing on limiting the amount of food in your diet, focus on the quality of food. Food is fuel, and should never be a tool to punish yourself.
9. Focus on your mental health
Mental health is the easiest things to look over if you physical shape is the most important thing to you. Usually, they come hand in hand as exercise is one of the most underutilised treatments for mental conditions. But often, our mental health is hidden behind a seemingly perfect physique, with depression, anxiety and self-doubt buried with compliments on our slim figure and new found muscles. This is a quick fix for much larger, underlying issues within your self and your mental health. This New Years, make a resolution to improve your health from the inside out, working on your perspective and your own outlook on life before the way people perceive you.
8. See more of your friends and family
Being social doesn’t mean going out on a Friday and Saturday night, staying out until all hours and having somewhat meaningful conversations with your friends at 2 am. Next year, find time in your schedule, as tight as it may be, to see your family and friends – and really see them. If you’re separated by distance, block out a time in your day to catch up on their lives over FaceTime or by simply calling them. If not, take them to a morning workout with you, catch up over breakfast, chat over coffee, lunch, a late afternoon walk or an early, healthy dinner.
7. Quit your vices
There has never been a better time than the coming of a new year than to quit those addictions you’ve been struggling with for however long. Although you’ll tell yourself there is never a good time to quit, the new year really does hold a certain weight to your convictions. So come Jan 1st put down that cigarette, beer, wine, fast food bag, sweet or anything else you’ve been stuck with and ride the powerful wave of New Years!
6. Do more of what you love every day
More than anything in life, you should do more of what you love. Some people find their passion when they’re 15, some during their university years; for others, it’s in the later parts of their life, and sometimes they never do. Next year find your passion and do more of it. I know that might seem easier said than done, but finding your passions might not be as hard as you think. Expose yourself to new experiences, try new things and attempt new feats – this is how you’ll find the spark in your life turns into a passion. It’s easy to say that doing what you love will bring you financial stability – in a perfect world this would be the case, but in reality, you have to work really hard to turn what you love into your meal ticket. For the New Year, focus on doing more of what your passion is, and if you’re focused on it, the money will follow. Be patient, and pursue your passion.
5. Give back
There is an entire spectrum of reasons why giving back to your community should be part of your New Year’s resolutions. From a holistic point of view, there are millions of people less fortunate than you, and we are never too busy to support those who would otherwise not have support. Call it for the good of mankind or resolving faith in our society; generosity, empathy and kindness is something people go their whole lives without understanding and is one of the most important skills we can possess. From a development point of view, volunteering and offering support to others is one of the best ways to develop interpersonal skills and be exposed to a variety of situations involving people you wouldn’t usually meet day to day, allowing you to learn how to work with them. Check out Volunteer HQ, Go Eco, and Go Abroad for some volunteer ideas over Asia.
4. Broaden your skills
When we start learning a new skill, there is so much more going on besides increasing our capabilities in a certain field. Whether this is learning a new language, a new instrument, or even understanding how something works, in each skill our brain is literally developing new neuron pathways. Studies show that children who learned an instrument when they were younger, have higher levels of ‘white matter’ in their brains called myelin – the higher the levels of this type of matter, the faster patients nerve responses, speed and impulses were. Long story short, learning new skills is like building a muscle in your brain you’ve never touched before, increasing mental capabilities like memory, information retention, creativity, empathy and critical thinking,
3. Challenge your strength, test your body
I am always under the impression that if you give 85% effort, you’ll get 85% of the rewards. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is the only time your body will really start to change for the better. Adding in a few more reps, going to the very last second or pushing that little bit harder really does make a difference in the long run. Although there is always a time to listen to your body, and really understand if you should be pushing it, most of us can handle the heat. This year, make a commitment to yourself to give 100% during your workouts – trust me, you’ll get all the results you desire.
2. Be selfish
Wherever you are in your life, there is always space to put yourself first. Whether that’s in your career, your health, your relationships; when you start thinking about it, you’ll know where to apply this rule. This might mean saying no to staying out all night so you can be up early in the morning, taking the weekend for yourself, or asking for exactly what you want from someone, without taking no for an answer. This is your year, time to focus on you.
1. Workout for the right reason
This New Year, think about why you workout. Although social media is flooded with slim figures, sporting toned arms and insane abs as a result of certain workout routines, this shouldn’t be a main focus. It’s often far easier to aim for this rather than what exercise should really be doing – reducing stress, loving your body, improving posture, releasing natural ‘happy’ hormones like dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins, and flushing your body with fresh, vital oxygen. Working out because you love your body, rather than because you hate it is a lesson many people never learn – but trust me, once you do, lifting the weight of self-judgment and criticism is the best way to go into the New Year.