It’s taken a long time for me to realise that strict, meaty New Year’s resolutions don’t do that much for me. I’m very good at setting a huge list of BIG things I need to do every January to make me a ‘better person’ without thinking about how realistic they are or thinking about it and then ignoring it. I’m a Type A person who holds myself to account against a sometimes unrealistic view of what I think good looks like and so failing at new year’s resolutions hits me hard.
It’s good news then that research now tells us small, measurable goals are much better for us, mainly because we’re more likely to stick to them. ‘Get fitter in 2017’ is much harder to track and know how you’re doing than ‘run twice a week’. So this year I’m starting small. I’ve looked at areas of my life I’d like to improve, and thought of smaller ways to begin. I’ve also approached this with abundance in mind, rather than deprivation – so instead of ‘eat healthily’ I’ve written – ‘cook from scratch more’. One should lead to the other, without me having to use words like ‘less’ and ‘cut down on’ – in my world those words can be a route to feeling guilty and bad.
Writing small goals doesn’t take away from my bigger life plans, and I have noted below where my small goals should eventually lead me to bigger things, but for now, I’m starting small and not forgetting to pat myself on the back when I turn them into habits. This may be super boring to you, (sorry!) and to be honest I’ve written this more to myself to look back on later this year but if it inspires you, all the better!
I’m using my bullet journal to track these – post on that coming soon.
1. Cook from scratch mid-week more (bigger goal: eat better)
Last week I cooked from scratch four times and hugely enjoyed it, I felt healthier (although I did cook a veggie toad in the hole which was a bit stodgy) and I also felt happier that I wasn’t eating something Sainsbury’ had made for me. At the weekend, all bets are off but during the week I want to find some go-to recipes that make mid-week meal stress a thing of the past.
2. Swim/walk/yoga once a week (bigger goal: raise my fitness levels, tone up)
My foot, believe it or not, is still broken so crazy exercise like HIIT and marathon running is out for the moment (not that I’m too upset). Swimming I can do, and the moment I was allowed to I ran/limped to the pool. It’s been a while, and I’m rusty, but I’m enjoying it. I would love to find my exercise jam this year, but until that day comes I can do worse than walking, swimming and yoga-ing more.
3. Track my money (bigger goal: a rather daunting savings goal by the end of the year)
I’ve been using two new money apps that are both really changing my attitude towards money. I spend a bit too much and have a magpie tendency to buy anything rose gold/stripy/spotty/grey for my wardrobe or the flat but this year I want to get much more serious about saving and much more clued up on money. Hopefully, this will lead to a house move at some point and less guilt when I do buy something. Post on the apps coming next week.
4. Be thankful (bigger goal: more happiness)
Since I had my operation I’ve found the time to write a line a day on what I’m grateful for. Sounds a bit wanky, but honestly, it’s really made a difference to my outlook. They say gratitude can genuinely change your brain and make you happier, so this simple habit could reap really big rewards.
5. Carry my camera (bigger goal: learn what my camera does and improve my photography)
The first trick to taking more pics is to actually carry your camera with you, so that’s what I’m going to do. I love my new(ish) camera I got last year on eBay so this is something I’m hoping I can remember to do.
6. Spend more time on happiness-making stuff (bigger goal: learn new things, branch out)
I’ve signed up to a calligraphy course, a coaching course and I’m about to buy a piano so they’re my current hobby squeezes I’ve had my eye on for a while. I’ll keep you posted.
7. Facetime my overseas mates more (bigger goal: don’t let friendships drift)
I spend a lot of time not losing touch with people who live far from me (hello living in Brighton and being from Liverpool) but I could do more to facetime my overseas mates in New Zealand, Chicago and Singapore. This year I want to be more spontaneous and just pick up the iPad more and see if they’re free. It shouldn’t have to be an effort.