Predictably, the New Year has arrived and, inevitably, January has come around again. We all had our ups and downs throughout 2015 (hopefully more of the former and fewer of the latter!) and it’s time to look ahead to 2016 to see what the second half of this decade has in store for us. It is important to remember that we can come up with some ambitious resolutions but unless they’re realistic, we stand little chance of implementing them successfully and we are setting ourselves up to fail. Here are some top tips for staying positive so that our New Year’s resolutions don’t just become New Month’s resolutions!
Realism – First of all, make sure that your New Year’s resolutions are achievable. Give yourself the best chance of success by being innovative, but not overly ambitious, with your aspirations. You know yourself and your will power. If banishing chocolate is likely to cause a Malteser melt-down followed by a Bounty binge, then it’s probably best to follow the golden rule: A little bit of what you fancy does you good.
Nutrition Alteration – Make small and manageable changes to your diet to help improve your mood. For example, rather than cutting out carbs, try to choose cleaner carbs such as whole grains and potatoes. Carbohydrates can improve your mood and increase your willingness to exercise. Carb-free diets are proven to cause fatigue and listlessness.
Take Your Time – Whether it’s a hardcore gym session, writing an essay, planning a presentation or rinsing the post-Christmas sales, the greatest gift you can give yourself is a break! Remember that intervals of rest are just as important as periods of productivity to give you a physical and psychological spur.
Give Your Time – Giving your time to others is such a minor change and something about which we rarely think. In an average day, how much of your time do you devote to someone else? Giving your time, lending an ear or doing a favour for someone else can make their day while barely disrupting yours.
The Great Outdoors – Get out more! If you live somewhere hot, enjoy the January sunshine. For those of us in the less-than-Tropical UK, wrap up warm and don your waterproofs because the fresh air will vastly lift your mood. You don’t have to go out for hours at a time or drive anywhere specific for your winter walks, just nip outside long enough to get your blood moving and to truly appreciate your brew when you get home.
Creativity – Imagination and creativity are not just for children. A fantastic way to beat the January blues is to dabble in some arts and crafts to nurture our more inventive side. You could take up painting, writing poetry or cake baking, but don’t forget that the imagination can be exercised in the bedroom as well as the kitchen…
Humour Me – Gelotology is the study of how laughter affects us physically and psychologically and the findings are not to be laughed at. Engaging abdominal and facial muscles coupled with quickened breathing has similar effects to exercise. Laughter relieves stress and lightens our mood as well as bringing us together socially. Why not organise an evening with friends to support your local stand-up comedy venue?
University of Life – This January, try to broaden your mind by learning something new. Remember to keep it realistic, there’s no point attempting to learn a whole new language for example. What you could try is learning 5 new words every day – you’ll be amazed at how easily you retain the information when you don’t overwhelm your brain. You could employ the same controlled approach to learn a new skill.
Stress Buster – Try not to let the trivial things get to you, save your stresses and worries for the more important things in life. Or in other words, don’t sweat the small stuff. There are some very simple techniques for managing stress and it is a good idea to keep your stress levels in check. (Click here for stress management techniques).
Resolutions Are For Life, Not Just For Christmas – Making one or two drastic resolutions which are a shock to the system is ill-advised. You are likely to feel content and self-righteous initially but the chances of long-term continuity are disappointingly slim. The combination of several little changes to your lifestyle, which on their own seem easy, will create an overall goal which is altogether more achievable.