New Year, New Journey
The end of a year brings a fantastic opportunity to start afresh and to make new year's resolutions. Positive change can only ever be a good thing, as long as it’s maintained. Now that we’re firmly into January, it’s important to assess how you’re doing on the changes that matter to you.
These can be the things you feel the need to change about yourself. The things you feel the need to make better about your life. Such lofty ambitions usually result in setting unrealistic goals that are unnecessary criticism on your current self and life.
New Year’s Resolutions don’t need to be a criticism. They don’t need to be difficult challenges. They don’t need to be about taking things away or about perfecting every flaw or kink you might have or think you might have in your life. They don’t even need to be something you take part in if you don’t want to. Each journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
If you do want to take part in it, just remember, they can be about adding things to your life, giving back to your community, the people in it, or simply about trying new things. The ambition to see more of the world and travel as much as possible is a popular one, so have you begun to look at how you can achieve it? Regardless of your new goals, the best thing about New Year’s resolutions is the fact they’re a metaphorical journey themselves, so it’s up to you if you stay on the right path. As with all journey’s, it’s not about the end destination, but enjoying the ride.
Think about the things that had an impact on you in the last couple of years. Maybe it’s homelessness, animal cruelty, the environment, food waste. Maybe it’s the positive influence you’ve had from someone else who has made you feel good about body image, mental health or your career. Maybe it’s the impact travel has had on you and those around you. Maybe it’s the realisation that you need to take better care of yourself.
Think about how you could contribute to these causes. Make ‘contribution’ your new year's resolution. Contribute to helping others and the environment. Contribute to helping people overcome difficulties in their health, career, self-esteem. Contribute to yourself by allowing yourself time to have new experiences, travel the world, meet new people, rediscover yourself and the things you’re passionate about. Say no. Say yes. Say maybe. But always allow for opportunity.
If you don’t have time to do the big things, do the little things. Be there for a friend who is going through a hard time. Buy a coffee or a sandwich for a homeless person you regularly see on the streets. Send any unused items to the animal shelter or other charity shops. Go on a well-deserved weekend away. See a different culture. See yourself.
If you can, give your time to the causes you feel most strongly about. Help a different community through volunteering at home or abroad. Help your family. Help your friends.
It doesn’t have to be so serious either, maybe it can be about adding something fun to your life. Last year, a few people took on the challenge of trying one new thing a day for January. If that’s not possible maybe do one new thing a month. It could even be to cook a new dish. If you don’t cook, try cooking. Try a new sport. Watch a new film. Try a new activity like paintball or rock climbing. Make a bucket list of places you’d like to travel. More of Europe. More of Asia. More of America. More of Canada. The world is your oyster.
Maybe you can turn the usual goals of ‘lose weight’, ‘eat healthy’, ‘exercise’ into being kinder to yourself. Exercise because you want to move your body, eat healthy because you want to be kind to your body. It doesn’t have to be the same old challenges that set you up to fail every year. Just make sure you track your progress and use the 90/10 rule. No one is perfect and perfection should not be chased. But if you can stick to your new year’s resolution 90% of the time, don’t be too hard on yourself for that remaining 10%.
How to stick to a New Year's resolution
If you’re having trouble sticking to certain new years resolutions, don’t worry; it shows you’re human. We all fall off the bandwagon, but it’s about consistency. Whether you reward yourself for sticking to it, or not being too hard when you fall off, it’s important to look at ways to get that discipline and consistency into your life. Below are just some ways that can help you stick to your New Years resolutions:
- Understand the reasons for wanting change and remind yourself of them
- Start with small steps and ensure you stick to them, build up to your dream from there
- Assess and reassess. Track your progress (honestly)
- Talk about your goals with family, commit verbally to others about them
- Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re not 100% at it (90% is really good, too)
- Reward yourself when you’re doing really well
- Remember the journey teaches you more than arriving at the destination
The pressure to change yourself and criticise your life is particularly difficult to get away from this time of year. At Smaller Earth, we value inspiring and being kind to each other and to ourselves, as a vital part of life. Whether that’s the small things in day to day life, or bigger things at home and abroad. We want to inspire you to do the same and let this article be the catalyst to assess how you're doing.
Happy New Year. Happy Same You.