I need to lose some weight.
I should quit smoking.
I think I should drink less.
I really need to exercise more.
I have to get more organised.
Yep. It’s here. That strange, slightly awkward, time warp-like period in between Christmas and New Year. The time when we start thinking about what we’re going to do to make next year bigger, better and more successful than the one about to end.
The critical little voice inside my head has an endless list of things I should resolve to become, achieve and change. My current self as she is today, in December 2018, is not good enough.
Maybe you’ve had the same conversation with yourself recently. Perhaps you want to use January 1st 2019 as the start date for some positive changes in your life. You want to break bad habits and pick up good ones. This is fine, but what about your health? What if you find that it throws a major curveball into the situation, and makes the things you feel like you should be achieving much more difficult than they’d otherwise be. Sometimes it might even make them totally impossible. At this point, it’s very easy to lose the optimism and motivation you started the new year with, and quickly feel resigned to never being able to do anything. Your well-intentioned resolution has made you feel worse instead of better.
Truth is, it doesn’t have to be black and white. There’s no finite list of Worthy Achievements, with everything else being insignificant. You don’t have to measure up to an image in your head of someone thinner, fitter or more successful. This isn’t a generic standard of “good enough”.
Why do people make resolutions or set goals in the first place? I’m guessing that for most of us, it’s to make our lives better, and to feel good about ourselves. There are innumerable ways to do this, and they’re going to be different for everybody.
Just because some things (huge weight loss, marathon running, perfect organisation) aren’t the best options for you does not mean you should give up completely, avoid all challenges and consider yourself as having failed before you’ve even started. What if you looked beyond traditional ideas and the pressure that often comes with them? Could you set another type of goal that could be just as rewarding?
What do you actually want out of life? What do you enjoy? What would you like to try that you haven’t done for ages, or have never done at all?
Maybe 2019 is not going to be the year you lose three stone, enrol in university and take up long distance running. This is ok; it might be the year you discover a new hobby, start doing volunteer work, or gain a new perspective on what you CAN do?!
If you are scratching your head for something to do in 2019, here’s a bit of inspiration. I haven’t tried all these myself, they’re just a starting point, but have a look, you might find something you like!
Also, if you come across something you think I should add, please leave a comment either below or on my Facebook page, so other people can see it too!
- 52 books in 52 weeks: A good option for people who love to read, check out Facebook and Twitter for groups or hashtags centred around this idea too!
- project365: Take a photo every day for a year. Keep them for yourself, or share them on FB or Instagram.
- Udemy or Coursera: There’s a wide range of free/cheap courses on here for those of you who fancy learning something new.
- 101 things in 1001 days: This is a slightly bigger project, but definitely worth it if you’re looking for a longer term challenge. If you start on January 1 2019 who knows what you could have achieved by 28 September 2021 (1001 days later)! This site itself has loads of inspiration, so you shouldn’t struggle to think of 101 things.
- Couch to 5K: One for people who want to increase their fitness in 2019. This is a low impact running programme (via an app) that builds you up from walking, to being able to run 5 kilometres by the end of it.
- WordPress: If you like the idea of starting your own blog, I definitely recommend WordPress, it’s very user friendly to set up and to navigate, even for total novices.
- Do-it.org: A good resource for volunteering opportunities if you’re looking for them.
- The January Challenge: Something cool just for the first month of the year. Sign up for this to be emailed a different, slightly quirky challenge every day during January!