Have you done the usual traditional New Years resolutions that you always do...If so, read them aloud, are they fuelled by little demons of self doubt and societal pressure?
Things like: must lose weight, give up smoking/drinking/chocolate, worry less! Can you see the negative language? I believe that to truly make changes in your life you can’t start out with a negative statement and if joining the gym or starving yourself of something you love has never worked before its probably not going to this time even if you really mean it.
So instead why not make a positive Bucket List of things you want to achieve, this could be a rolling list with no deadline that you can keep adding things to or change over time, simply by re-looking at things you want to do as a positive and fun way of spending your time instantly improves your chances of success.
Every year we all desperately plea with ourselves to make the time and have the energy to get fit/loose some weight/look better in those jeans/tone up or be healthier, especially after the stop, start year of 2020 where comfort eating was almost encouraged, let alone the movie marathon snacks and at home baking experiments.
So we all start with good intentions by emptying the cupboards of snacks and making plans but soon life gets in the way again, something negative or stressful happens, we get tired etc etc
The Bucket List idea is to re-think your resolution, turn it in to something positive, something you actually want to do: something you can continually aim for, for example ‘This year I am going to try some new activities’, this could be an aim to book something at least once a month or to aim to do a new thing every weekend e.g. walking, biking, rock climbing… this could be tailored more to your personal likes or even go a little more extreme, for instance: quad biking, sailing, sky diving…or maybe a little more random, axe throwing, zip lining, geo caching.
There are so many things you could be doing; granted some of these things will be limited due to coronavirus and by cost but start with what you can and work up to some of the bigger things if you want to.
These small adventures and fun days out will definitely make you smile, even if you find you don’t like something you’ll still gain confidence, new skills and might even meet some great new people. All positive steps towards changing bad habits.
What about if you decided you wanted to give something up, that’s a really challenging one because again it’s a long term learned habit, its a comfort, something you enjoy and rely on…and possibly a coping mechanism.
I've discussed this with lots of people, especially regarding smoking as I am an (hopefully) ex-smoker but man I enjoyed smoking…not just enjoyed, I relied on it. My 5 minutes out, alone, quiet, calm…if you think about it, it's actually a form of meditation, something to focus on and a way of switching off, of being present and in the moment.
That's the problem with quitting, especially if you’ve smoked from a youngish age, you’ve learnt to smoke as your way of coping with stress and anger and possibly anxiety so when you quit, affectively you have to learn a whole new way to process things…and in this, I think is the key.
Instead of saying ‘I’m going to quit smoking/chocolate/drinking etc’, say ‘I am going to learn new ways of coping with stress, annoyance etc’, to do this you could try learning meditation techniques and relaxation methods, it all sounds a bit spiritual but it could be something as simple as replacing your bad habit item with something else but still taking that time to yourself, finding a small item to play with to keep your hands busy, breathing techniques: Youtube some ideas and try them all, see what works for you.
Just learning your triggers is a big help; walking away from toxic conversations that get you angry or annoyed, learning to give yourself an hour me-time a day can also be hugely transformative.
Can you see how changing the language from negative to positive starts to feel more encouraging? What I’m trying to say is, be kind to yourself and set yourself new challenges instead of criticising yourself.
My 2021 Bucket List
- Try roller-skating
- Buy walking boots so I can do more outdoors activities like walking.
- Try rock climbing.
- Pre-book camping and go even if raining (buy a waterproof coat).
- Book my first driving lesson, and maybe a second one.
- Start family video call game nights.
- Start reading before bed again.
- Try doing video blogs/interviews, learn presentation skills.
…ok that’s a few to get me started…try it!!