Six steps to making and keeping some New Year Resolutions – and how writing can help

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to think about setting some healthy, achievable goals for the future. Writing down some New Year Resolutions can fill you with fresh resolve and a sense of purpose and energy. It can really help to spend a bit of time reflecting on what your best resolutions could be. And recording them in a notebook or diary can help to sort, reframe and focus thoughts and feelings into actions.

1. Jot down your thoughts
Have a pad and pencil handy, as ideas can come at any time. Getting things down in black and white is a useful way of clarifying and focusing thinking. Go back to what you have written, rejig and re-order if necessary. It will feel good to end up with a list!

2. Set some priorities
Think about what your priorities are. One thing that’s worth committing to this year is yourself – your happiness, and general mental wellbeing. For some, this might mean saying ‘no’ to people sometimes, because your goal is to not overload yourself. Working toward things that don’t matter to you or take away from your ability to do things that do matter can set you up to experience stress, conflict, anxiety, and even depression. Outline your five top priorities–personal, professional, or a mix of both–based on what matters to you most. Make decisions about how to spend your time that align with that list.

3. Don’t set yourself up to fail
Take a look with honesty at what you’ve written on your list. Is starting a gym membership and going every week for a year an impossible task? Will you just end up resenting that monthly payment? What about some more exercise generally? Then keeping record of every time you do something and how it makes you feel?

So often we desire to lose weight, putting negative pressure on ourselves and restricting things that we like. You’re just going to feel guilty and disappointed in yourself when you give in to your natural instincts and eat whatever you’re craving. Don’t make eating a succeed/fail mission. Why not choose instead to implement some kinder, and more achievable changes, such as trying to cook tasty, more healthy options, more often? This has a much more positive feel to it and doesn’t involve a black and white ‘win’ or ‘fail’ mentality. And don’t beat yourself up when you feel the need for a bit of chocolate or glass of wine.

4. It’s the little things that count
Keep a record of all the things you DO achieve, in the name of being kinder to yourself. Something as small as sharing a joke with a friend or having a nice meal is important and all counts towards tuning into the positives, dwelling on the good moments that all add up to a happy and healthy life. Plus, if you can record at least one thing a day, at the end of the year you get to look back at 365 days of great things that have happened. Which feels life-affirming.

Check out https://deptstoreforthemind.com/ for some great gifts designed to promote feeling good and taking care of ourselves and others.

5. Think about making some more space for yourself
Spend some time alone doing something that makes you genuinely happy and relaxed – whatever that may be. Do it at least once a week, and make sure you actually schedule it in and write it in your diary. Why? So you’ll actually commit to some ‘me time’.

Go to https://www.headspace.com/ or download the Headspace app to your phone. Prioritising time and space for yourself on a regular basis is the definition of Mindfulness and this is a great resolution to make for the new year for just about anyone.

6. Make regular writing a healthy new mindfulness tool. Recording your thoughts and feelings, your task lists and achievements, no matter how tiny, encourages slowing down, reflection and focusing on the things that matter.

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