Making small changes to kick start the new year

The start of a new year usually inspires us to make resolutions to change things in our lives, generally for the better. However, it’s not uncommon to aim too high and some of our resolutions are likely to fall by the wayside if we set unrealistic goals.

Deborah Welsh
Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 12:12pm
Making small changes to kick start the new year
An apple a day...making small changes to our diet might be more achievable.

Now that’s not being pessimistic. Personally, I think if we push forward with small tweaks, we’re more likely to keep going with them rather than try to change everything too fast, too soon. To that end, I’ve decided I’m going to try and make those little changes to my life in the hope that come this time next year, I’m still doing them instead of falling off the wagon by the end of the month.

One of the habits I’m hoping to change in 2022 is my addiction to my devices. Technology is wonderful and has made our lives easier. Conveniently, we can have pretty much anything at the touch of a button these days. However, there’s a price to pay for everything, and I have paid heavily in terms of my time. It’s hard not to be available round the clock in this fast-paced 24/7 world we now live in, but we shouldn’t let it take over our lives or more importantly our precious downtime. I think a mini detox from my iPhone and my iPad is in order.

About a year ago, I deleted Facebook and was amazed at the difference it made. Instead of doom scrolling or reading about how exciting and fabulous everyone’s lives were compared to mine, I chose to avoid social media boasting. Not only did I feel less anxious and inadequate, but I had much more time on my hands. I even started reading again – one of my first loves. Since the advent of social media, I had barely opened a book let alone finished it.

I’ve also been thinking about my overall health and fitness. Getting fit or losing weight is one of the most common resolutions that are made year in year out. People everywhere resolve to get into better shape, but many have given up and reverted to their old habits by mid-January. I think sometimes this is down to being too ambitious. Giving up booze, eating nothing but fruit and vegetables and hitting the gym four times a week is a big ask if it's not your normal routine. Instead, try making small changes. Cut down on alcohol, reduce your calorie intake and aim to introduce more healthy foods to your diet instead of taking extreme measures that may not be realistic or sustainable. Going cold turkey isn't for everyone and it’s likely we won't keep our promises.

If, like me, you lead a sedentary lifestyle, it stands to reason you're not going to be an Olympic athlete overnight. *Try to exercise a little more - aim to take a few more walks everyday even at a gentle pace. Every little helps and you'll soon build up your stamina allowing you to go faster or walk for longer. If you achieve more, great. If not, at least you’re making an effort.

I’ve also vowed that 2022 is the year I get on top of the stuff I’ve been hoarding. It’s definitely time to de-clutter. I have been hanging onto an assortment of stuff from the past couple of decades and I want rid. I have decided that there’s no time like the present to get my drawers in order. How many items of clothing are hanging in your wardrobe that you’ll never wear again?

It’s been said that if you’ve not used something in a year then you don’t need it. I have skyscraper shoes from my heyday that I couldn’t dream of walking in now but they’re like new and will make a great charity shop purchase for someone.

Finally, something I started to become more aware of during the past 18 months or so, or since our lives were turned upside by the Coronavirus pandemic, is mindfulness.

Without getting all new age on you, I have really become quite dedicated to this and it’s something I will be taking with me into this year too. Being aware and fully present in the moment without trying to control everything has been a revelation for me. I have accepted that I can’t control everything and sometimes I have to just go with the flow. I have a different mindset now which is always tuned to a positive frequency, and I constantly operate with an attitude of gratitude. Of all the improvements I want to make for this coming year, this is the one that I hope sticks. Yes, I want to be thinner, yes, I want to be healthier, and I will try but if I’m not a size 10 by December, does it really matter? Making small changes to ward off any serious health issues and staying steadfast in my pursuit of contentment will have to do for now.

If we go for less ambitious or drastic resolutions, chances are we might stick to them. Let’s reconvene next year.

Good luck!

*This is the author’s opinion and not intended to replace medical advice.

Please consult your GP before making any dietary changes or undertaking physical exercise.

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