January is typically the month that many of us start full of enthusiasm with our New Year Resolutions. We set out our goals and start great. But by week two or three your resolve starts to fade and things begin to go downhill. When I look back at my list from last year, I guess it’s fair to say I didn’t do too well. So this year I thought I would take a different approach.
Rather than set some lofty goals or resolutions, I plan to use each day of January to think about one lifestyle change that I would like to be more conscious of throughout 2017. Research indicates that most people quickly lose interest in New Year Resolutions. Perhaps this is because we set unrealistic goals that require a major mind shift. Take a look below for my plan for the 31 days of New Year Resolutions. I’m sure a few of my goals might be on your mind too. Why not join me and follow along. If some of my ideas don’t fit, take a look at the end of this post as I have listed a few more ideas that might work better for you.
Day 1 – Probably one of the most popular goals to begin the year is to lose weight. However, I believe that is such a general statement it needs a little more planning to stand any chance of succeeding. This year I plan to be more conscious of my weight and not ignore the scales for a few weeks at a time. Pretending that all is fine when my clothes are getting increasingly snug is not going to work this year. I love food, so I’m not going to starve myself. But I will stay more mindful and attempt a better balance between food intake and exercise output.
Day 2 – Did you know that reading can improve your focus and concentration? I don’t mean blog posts (although I’d love you to continue reading mine). I mean reading a book. To be fully engaged in a novel means shutting out everything else to become immersed into the story. Over time this practice will strengthen focus, concentration skills, and attention span. My aim is to have a book on the go at all times throughout 2017. I’m starting with Andy Cohens latest book Superficial: More Adventures from the Andy Cohen Diaries
Day 3 – To help with day 1’s goal I plan to be more physically active in 2017. I would like to be more conscious of achieving my step goal each and every day. I can do this by making use of my Fitbit to monitor my activity, I find it all too easy to let the day get full and then be too tired to exercise. Here are three practical steps I can take. 1. Walking the dog first thing in the morning could give me my daily steps before I have even begun to think about what else I need to achieve that day. 2. Parking at the end of the parking lot rather than as close as possible to my destination will force me to walk more. 3. Watch my prerecorded television shows while on the treadmill rather than lazing on the sofa.
Day 4 – Stress can have a major impact on your health and wellbeing. Learning to relax and reduce my stress levels would be a great achievement for 2017. With our hectic lifestyles, it’s all too easy to get overwhelmed. I plan to be more mindful of when the stress is getting too much and learn to breathe and let go a little more. Not everything can be under control (my new mantra).
Day 5 – With the amount of travel I do I feel my sleep pattern really suffers. I recently read a research study that suggested that lack of sleep is equivalent to driving under the influence. I know I should be aiming for 8 hours of sleep each night so I plan to take a few simple steps recommended by professionals to help achieve this goal. 1. Not eating right before bed 2. Cutting back on my caffeine and alcohol intake 3. Not bombarding my brain with television or computer work just before bedtime are all positive steps I plan to try.
Day 6 – I think, as you get older, you begin to think about how you spend your time more. Wasting time with insincere or toxic people is crazy. Instead, we should be focusing on spending time with the people who we care the most about, people who lift us up and make us happy. Do you have those ‘friends’ who you begrudgingly agree to do things with and then spend your time moaning about afterwards? Why bother? This year I want to be more conscious of where my time goes and who I spend it with.
Day 7 – Look after the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves; a saying that I would like to emulate this coming year. Today I plan to take a closer look at last years bank statements and see where I spend money. Understanding how I spend will identify where I can be a little more prudent. I’m sure my husband will love this idea.
Day 8 – I’d like to think that I have good manners. However, I also recognize that sometimes my impatience with a person or situation can lead me to be less than polite. This year I would like to be more mindful about how I communicate with others. I need to discover better ways to deal with rude people and find the right way to say no to something I feel is wrong.
Day 9 – I wouldn’t say I’m a neat freak, but I do like to be tidy and generally organized. But one can always improve. I discovered the Bullet Journal system last year and I plan to learn more about this method of journaling in 2017 so that I can be even better prepared. My friends and family you have been warned.
Day 10 – I have discovered that there is far more to blogging than I had ever imagined. Learning something new as the medium continues to evolve is fun, if a little time consuming. With so much still to learn, I would like to focus on a few key areas to delve a little deeper this year.
Day 11 – I’m sure that many people will have set a goal to travel more in 2017, mine is exactly the opposite. In 2016 I traveled thousands of miles and spent days at airports and in airplanes. My aim for 2017 is to travel less and so I will be reviewing my upcoming schedule to see what I can do to make this goal a reality.
Day 12 – Have you ever dreamed about reinventing yourself? Sounds intense but in the last few hectic years I have neglected parts of my life that really used to make me happy, like playing tennis. This year I would like to reinvent my leisure time.
Day 13 – Social media has become a serious addiction in my family, and I’m sure that is a true statement for many other families. I don’t want to knock it totally, as I love being able to stay in touch with friends and family wherever I am in the world. But, I would like to be more mindful of the hours I loose on YouTube or Facebook or Instagram and stay in the moment a touch more.
Day 14 – This year I will have been married 34 years, yikes that is a loooong time. I’m so lucky to have an amazing husband who I still adore but this year I would like to ensure that 34 turns into 44, into 54, into 64 etc by being a touch more romantic and planning a few fun surprises. I think I just made my husband scared with this goal.
Day 15 – Today I would like to ensure that I remember all the important dates like birthdays and anniversaries. Last year I always seemed to be caught by surprise as a birthday loomed. Perhaps the best way is to be better organized. I plan to devise a method to give myself sufficient warning to plan that party, send that card, or give that person a call.
Day 16 – Do you find that when you are mentally exhausted you become creatively challenged? I usually find crafting a huge relaxer but it takes effort to come up with ideas so this year I would like to ensure I build time into my schedule to kick back with my girlfriends and make use of all the craft supplies I have accumulated over the years.
Day 17 – I have been noodling this idea of a blog post for quite a few weeks now. In 2017 I will attempt to stop procrastinating, as it can be a little habit forming. Waiting until I have everything perfect before beginning a project stops me from being as productive as I could if I just dove in and begun the task.
Day 18 – As I travel to so many different places each year I do find I meet a lot of new people. However, I don’t really take the time to get to know many of these fleeting introductions. I feel I could be missing out on so much so will attempt to take the time to get to really know more people in 2017.
Day 19 – Are you a glass-half-full or glass half empty type of person? I really do try to be a half full type, but looking back at some of my Facebook posts from 2016 makes me realize that I do tend to struggle with this. In 2017 I will make more of an effort to see the positives in all situations and if I cannot, then not moan about it!
Day 20 – I think this next idea follows on well from yesterday’s goal – to be more thankful for what I have. I have a wonderful family, amazing friends, and a full and varied life so what’s not to be thankful for? Taking five minutes each day to say a little thank you will keep me more mindful of this goal.
Day 21 – Do you know how many hours each day you waste by sitting in front of the television? Sometimes I find that I’m not even really watching what is in front of me. There are so many ways that I could better use my time each day. Limiting my tv time seems like a great idea.
Day 22 – As a Capricorn, I love to make lists and to stay organized. I have a number of project ideas that I would like to move along. Today I’d like to make a few ‘to do’ lists to help me plan out how to take this idea from in my mind to actually being completed.
Day 23 – Now if you know me (find out more here if not) then you will know I do love a glass of bubbly, or two. I know a lot of people use January as a month to cut out alcohol from their diets but as it’s my birthday month I just can’t do that. Instead, I would like to stay mindful of just how much I consume. I plan to make a habit tracker to track the days I do and don’t enjoy a tipple, or two.
Day 24 – I love Muhammad Ali’s quote ‘Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth’ Devoting time, and importantly effort, to helping others is one of those win win scenarios. I can tie this in with my Day 22 goal as I have been planning to clear out my closet for quite some time and I’m sure the surplus could be well used by others.
Day 25 – While I am not the best of cooks, I do like to experiment. Sadly time constraints, lack of planning, and skepticism in my ability often stops me from trying. Spending more time in the kitchen could give a number of benefits. 1. Save money. 2. Eat more of the types of food I love. 3. Control portion size.
Day 26 – They say the greatest wealth is health. This past year has been a little tough on my aging body. I’m sure there are many ways I can make a positive impact. One important factor for me is to ensure I keep the regular doctor checkups. Today I plan to map out in my diary when I’m due for my next dentist, well-woman check, and yearly mammogram.
Day 27 – I know that sometimes there are unforeseeable events that make me late for appointments. However, I do believe that being punctual is a virtue and shows respect to others. There are a few steps I could take to help me with this goal. 1. Staying organized 2. Not procrastinating 3. Scheduling appointments that I want to keep. See how they fit in with my other days goals so well?
Day 28 – Ok so I cry at the drop of a hat, just ask my family. But learning to better control my emotions could help me curb my anger. Keeping a level head to gain control over my feelings would be a great goal for 2017. Just by being aware of the days that I have a short fuse could help alleviate no end of issues.
Day 29 – Traveling as much as I do I am exposed to a great variety of different art, music, and culture. Taking the time to appreciate the differences is quite mind-expanding. I have a very talented friend who is an artist and I love hearing her describe the ‘stories’ of her paintings.
Day 30 – Become more self-confident. I know I second guess myself too often and let my fears stop me from attempting new projects. This year I would like to understand what steps I can take to grow my self-confidence.
Day 31 – Stick to the healthy habits I have just listed above. Ok I admit that it’s probably easier said than done, but I must start somewhere. Making the above ideas a natural part of my life will be a challenge I’m sure. But I do believe that self-improvement is worth the effort.
So there you have it, my ideas for 31 days of New Year Resolutions. Need a few more?
Good luck, and let’s travel this road together.
** Cover photo courtesy of Chris Chabot