We’re a week into January, and at this stage, you might be sick to the teeth of the “New year, new me” sentiment. I get it.
The new year can come with an overwhelming pressure to suddenly become your best self. It’s as though people expect you to go to sleep on December 31 as one person, and to wake up the following morning as someone entirely different.
It can also be hard to feel enthusiastic about resolutions when we know how high the failure rate can be. New research published by the University of Scranton estimates only 8% of the resolutions set on New Year's Eve are ever achieved.
So why bother?
Firstly, setting goals gives us purpose; something for our minds to focus on; an all-important sense of direction for the year ahead. What's more, it's an opportunity to reflect on the year gone by and the lessons learned throughout. These are positive things, there’s no doubting that. And I argue, if you set the right resolutions, there’s no reason why you can't achieve them.
I reckon most people fail because they’re setting resolutions their hearts just aren’t in. Ask yourself why. Why are you setting this resolution? Is it because you think people will respect you more? Is it because it might finally get your mum off your back? Is it because everyone else seems to be doing it and you feel like you should too?
Related: Six ways to celebrate the small stuff in 2019
The chances are, you’re thinking “yes”. The pressure to tick all of life’s little boxes can be immense. Many of us, albeit unknowingly, wander through life trying to be who the world wants us to be; without ever really thinking about what would make us happy.
But that doesn’t have to be you, does it?
Make resolutions you can stick to
The following resolution ideas are ideal for anyone who wants to be kinder to themselves; take better care of themselves; live a happier, healthier life; and fill their time with the things that bring them joy.
Whether you want to stop hating your body so much; do something to relieve your day-to-day anxiety; boost your confidence or just have a slightly happier year, one of these resolutions will fit the bill.
Social media swap
Who you follow on social media has a massive impact on your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. We're all influencers; the things we post online have an impact on others, even if we (or they) don't know it.
If your social media feeds are brimming with images of thin, tanned bodies; cocktails on yachts and designer bags bursting with the latest and greatest makeup products, it won't take long before you're feeling pretty sh*t about life.
Related: Is it time to delete your social media for good?
On the other hand, if your social media feeds are brimming with images of beautiful, intelligent women with bodies like yours; living lives like yours; sharing positive messages and showing you that you're not alone, it won't take long before you're feeling happy, fulfilled and positive about life.
Swapping the type of accounts you follow is a brilliant way to kick off a new year. It's quick and easy to do, and you'll be amazed by how refreshing the content can be.
I've said it many times before and I'll say it many times again: affirmations can change your beliefs.
Whether you want to become more financially disciplined, tackle disordered eating, or get out of a career rut you've been stuck in for years, affirmations can play a huge role in creating change.
Related: Change your life with positive
They don't cost anything, they don't require time or energy. All you need is a clear intention and plenty of patience.
Self-dating is a term I use to describe spending alone time with myself. But it's not just any alone time; it's time I've planned to spend doing the things I enjoy.
My idea of a great self-date is going to the cinema by myself. I have a friend who schedules a couple of hours once a month to go shopping alone; switching off her phone and perusing the shops at her leisure. Another friend loves to set time aside to bake alone. The options are endless.
Related: Solitude does not equate to loneliness –
an ode to staying in
The important thing to note is self-dating is planned ahead of time. Whether it's a few days or a month in advance, it's something you can look forward to. I try to squeeze in one self-date each month, though I could prioritize it more.
The great thing about it is it's all about you. You don't have to concern yourself with anyone else. There's no pressure or anxiety. You get to do whatever you want, however you want; without having to keep another soul happy.
If you're looking for a New Year's resolution idea that will improve your mental health, this one could be for you.
Meditation is something we can all benefit from; giving us an opportunity to take a much-needed break from social media, work emails, Whatsapp groups, and never-ending laundry.
It's a chance to breathe in silence; to take control of our thoughts and feelings; detach ourselves from the rough day we might be having, or the anger we might be feeling, and return to a place of peace, calm and self-love.
While meditation can seem daunting to people who've never tried it, it's easier than it seems and gets better with practice.
I love gratitude journaling. It has become a popular tool for mental health practitioners, and studies have proven its ability to reduce stress and anxiety while boosting positivity.
Personally, I like to be ritualistic with my gratitude journaling. I light candles, play a particular self-care playlist, apply my skincare products, then lie down on my bed with my journal where I fill one page with things I'm grateful for that day.
Related: Eight ways to relax that aren’t meditation
Sometimes I'm grateful for 'big picture' things; such as the fact I live in a country that isn't war-torn or vulnerable to natural disasters. Other days I can only think of 'little picture' things; such as how I showered that day, or that I mustered up the energy to cook dinner instead of wasting money on a takeaway. Some days are easier than others, of course. But I generally find once I get going, I manage to fill a page pretty quickly.
Whether you get ritualistic as I do, or opt for a simple, little gratitude list in the Notes app of your phone, cultivating gratitude in 2019 will help you to feel more positive and optimistic than ever.
Sarah Tyrell can be found at sarahtyrrell.com
Photos: Unsplash and Pexels