A week into 2020 and you may already be feeling exhausted, its no surprise that many of us consider January to be one of the hardest months. The short dark days, the limit of funds after a Christmas of excess, the blandness of your living room without fairy lights and the pressure you may feel to be a better version of the 2019 you when people ask you about new years resolutions, gym memberships and diets.
Whilst New Year is traditionally a time to reflect and start anew, with all of that going on you can understand why many of us fail at our New Year’s resolutions within the first week and some of us decide not to bother at all. According to a 2015 survey, more than 77% of New Years resolutions are broken within the first week of January.
The problem with a resolution is that it sets the idea that you need to a better person than you were last year, which in turn makes most of us feel inadequate and not enough in some way. For years, I have ditched the concept of resolutions and instead have set intentions for myself.
Intentions do not make us feel inadequate, instead they give us room to grow whilst still accepting that we are okay as we are. If you set an intention and you do not achieve it every day, you have not failed nor given up, you simply try again the next day. A resolution on the other hand is either maintained or broken.
As the year begins, a powerful intention would be that this year you will take better care of your physical and mental health. Most of us know how to care for our physical health and often pledge to eat healthier, drink less alcohol or go to the gym however do you know how to improve your mental health?
Here are my suggestions for 5 simple changes you could make this year to make a huge improvement:
Self compassion – we know that when we are kind to others, we get the best out of them. It’s time for you to apply that rule to yourself. Become aware of your internal dialogue and speak kinder to yourself, allow yourself some time to unwind, set boundaries to others showing them that your needs are as important as everyone else’s.
Take a breath – if you are able to bring some mindfulness or meditation into your life you can train yourself to manage stress with your breath. If not, at least start giving yourself some time during the day where you slow down and take some deep, slow, deliberate breaths.
Be grateful – studies find over and over again that people who practice gratitude are happier, healthier, have better social connections and are more resilient. Get yourself a notebook and begin writing down three things you are specifically grateful for every single day.
Describe in 5 – If someone asked you to describe yourself in five adjectives, what would you pick? Choose 5 positive ones that you either want to be or that you are, then ensure that you use them whenever you talk about yourself. Try ones like courageous, strong, motivated, trustworthy and loving.
Notice the “Depleters” – how do the people around you make you feel? Do they nourish or deplete you? If you have people in your life who make you feel drained when you spend time with them, make a decision to either remove yourself from their company or if you are unable to do that, to limit your engagement with them. Most of all, focus upon spending more time with people who make you feel recharged and nourished.
Most of all make 2020 the year that you decide to be nicer to yourself. Wishing you a very happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.
Lianne Weaver, Beam Development & Training Ltd
Released On 5th Jan 2020