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Did someone say New Year’s resolution?

January, the month of diets, no drinking and resolutions. Not for me though. I can’t remember the last time I set a New Year’s resolution. January can be one of the worse months of the year, the sparkle of Christmas has gone and we’re left with cold, often damp, grey days. The first week back at work seems tough, but it’s not until the third Monday in January, which has been nicknamed Blue Monday, that is deemed the toughest day, as by this point most people have lost their New Year’s resolution(s) mojo.

January for me has become a month of celebrating birthdays and getting in a few belated Christmas catch ups that couldn’t be squeezed into December. It definitely brightens up the month. January should still be a month of hygee, a sense of being kind to yourself and nurturing the feelings of hibernation, light those candles and snuggle under a blanket.

Resolutions are not just for the New Year, you can set them at anytime. Each month I set out a plan and review at the end and start of each month.

  • What went well?

  • What challenges did I face?

  • What would I like to change?

  • What would I like to do again?

Last year I found this process to be extremely useful and have enjoyed reviewing the year to remind myself what I’ve achieved. Sometimes when you’re busy you forget to reflect, and it’s important to check in and see where you need to make changes.

Starting resolutions can be good for us, if it’s a lifestyle change, such as starting to increase activity or stop smoking. Even if you’re wanting to change your diet, start with small increments, and build the habit up over time, you’re much more likely to stick with. If you go all in at the beginning then research shows that you might not stick with it, hence Blue Monday. Perhaps if you use January to ease yourself into a new routine, then when February comes around make a change and amend the goal. February feels a lot fresher, the days are starting to draw out and it generally feels like a shorter month.

I mentioned I don’t commit to New Year resolutions, but if I’m being honest I have done something different, I haven’t stuck to it every day, as I’ve prioritised other tasks, and I haven’t beaten myself up about it. I fancied something that diverted my attention from all the online media about change your diet, change your life, grab a bargain in the sales etc…

The #30daysketchbookchallenge offered something different and has filled my facebook page with some wonderful art from all ages and all abilities from around the world. It doesn’t matter if you have never picked up a pencil or whether you’re a seasoned artist, everyone is welcome, and the idea is you spend 5-10 mins on a sketch in any media. I’ve enjoyed the process and it’s been great to see everyone else’s creations too. If you fancy giving it a go you can join up here:

My best effort for sketchbook challenge

So with the sketchbook challenge in mind, each month I’m going to try or do something new. Perhaps your something new could be;

  • Buy yourself some flowers.

  • Learn a new skill.

  • Give yourself some dedicated me time.

  • Read a new book.

  • Visit somewhere new locally, a park, museum or art gallery.

Antony Gormley exhibition

Most importantly enjoy it. Have fun, and let me know what you get up too.

Still want to set a new resolution or goal?

  1. Write down your goal.

  2. Write down the motivation for your goal.

  3. Break down your goal into small achievable chunks.

  4. Is it realistic within your chosen time frame?

  5. Make one small change each week/day to move towards the goal.

  6. Write down how you will achieve the goal for that week, and review it each morning.

  7. Review your goal and what you have achieved at the end of each week and make any necessary adjustments to ensure you can continue the following week.

Avoid beating yourself up if you don’t meet your goal immediately, adjust the next goal and note what knocked you off track the first time. Remind yourself of your motivation.

Avoid setting too many goals. Focus on one change to start and when this becomes established, perhaps add an additional goal.

Don’t wait until a Monday or a new month to start. Start working towards your goal now.

Good luck and do share any ideas that have worked for you.

*First published January 2020

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