OUT with resolutions, IN with intentions
The new year has started a few days ago already but I think it still counts to call this time the start of the year, time to think about fresh beginnings and what we would like to do better in the new year. However, we are now old enough to realise that most resolutions from the last years didn’t stick and frankly, new year’s resolutions seem to be totally outdated. However, at the core we do want to have a better life, so instead of using up all of our willpower for strict rules, in 2024 we are thinking more of the general “ins” and “outs” for the new year.
Instead of tackling our habits head-on, I challenge you to not get yourself on the hamster wheel quite yet and to stop that autopilot for a moment. I’m sure there is a lot of work waiting, but maybe this workload can get lighter when done with a mindset of self-love and self-respect. There is even a chance that some of the workload gets eliminated entirely after this exercise.
January is a tricky month for so many reasons - in the UK its cold, Christmas and the festive spirit gone and the pressure is on to make 2024 the best year yet. Somehow many want to achieve that by depriving themselves by not drinking and going vegan cold turkey, no pun intended. Whilst that is truly impressive and admirable even, for me personally it never scored high on the reality scale and it might not for many of you.
Still, there is magic in new beginnings and why would we not want that part of January. So I suggest you to cherry pick. Take the best out of January because you can. You can buy new stationery (I obviously strongly encourage that) and maybe even buy some other shiny new small wellness self-gifts. Then there is the biggest indulgence that is all for you to grab. Taking time to think. Taking time to find some orientation of where you are and where you are headed, what went right and what can be improved and time to set intentions for the near and far future. Sounds scary? Investment of time is a tricky concept as time saved is hard to account for. Surely, it is logical that planning ahead will save time overall and still it is hard to overcome the desire to jump straight into the next task at hand. When feeling guilty about taking quite a bit of time for planning, think of what time is not wasted by busywork, doomscrolling or “comparing myself to random people on social media” once you used the time to overwrite these with alternative actions that are more fulfilling.
So take some time and write down some intentions for the new year. They can be very small, they can be very ambitious. Grabbing a pen and writing a few things down can be really helpful and you can always go back to those lists, a handwritten list is always lovely, but fill in a spread sheet if that is more your vibe.
Here are some ideas what you could ask yourself:
- What did work really well in 2023?
- What didn’t work and why?
- What do I want to do more of in 2024?
- What do I want to do less of?
- What would I do in the new year if I couldn’t fail?
- What is stopping me starting “the thing”?
- When did I feel my best in 2023 and what was I doing, whom was I with?
- What brought me joy in 2023?
- My life would be complete if this ….. worry would be gone from my life, what is the first step towards tackling it?
- What is the thing, that I can do on a DAILY level that will have a big positive impact?
- What are the habits I want to lose and what new habits do I want to replace them with?
This is quite a long list and designed to give you a great start to understand what you want and need for a good new year. Check-in with yourself and your values. If somehow the questions seem a bit scary to answer, even better. There is need for change in your life and answering the questions honestly will show you the way towards that change. Being honest to yourself is crucial and I can tell you that it will be tough to distinguish what you want for yourself and what you think you should be wanting. Maybe you are quite alright with your body and health, even if there is room for improvement. Maybe you don’t want to change anything in that area because actually, the effort that goes in to gain some incremental changes would be too much relatively speaking. Again, this is your year and it boils down to: What would a person I respect and love do with her year? If she wouldn’t skip breakfast to shed another couple of kilos, that’s cool. Not all areas of our life need constant improvement. We need to use our energy wisely.
The next step is the start of the daily thing you want to do. Schedule it in your calendar and do it straight away ideally. Then find a time in the day when you can realistically do it (maybe at the time where you did the thing you want to quit anyways). The easiest changes are made when we replace the not so useful actions or habits with the useful ones. It is for instance a lot easier to replace some of the carbs on our plates with veg instead of just losing the nice pasta. Or getting 10 minutes of Pilates into the morning routines instead of doomscrolling on the phone. IN with more vegetables, OUT with some unnecessary refined sugars. IN with some exercise, OUT: doomscrolling. And so on.
You are reading this when the year is already in full swing? Don’t worry if you already went ahead full steam and are working on the tasks in front of you. You can still pause and ask yourself the questions above. Also, they don’t need to be answered in one go, take your time. Nevertheless, I do encourage you to start afresh with the great feeling of knowing why you are doing what you are doing and living intentionally.
Or can you imagine going: “I wish I had NOT taken the time to set intentions and work out what I really want for the year and instead jumped straight in and hoped for the best?” Me neither.
Happy new year - for us, whatever day or time of year it is, it always starts TODAY!