Ah, the excitement of New Year resolutions! Who doesn't love the opportunity of a fresh start, the promise of a new self and the anticipation of greatness?
I sure do. I am the queen of planning and 'resolutionising'. But as fun as changing direction every three months is, I do find myself rather confused at the end of 2015 - I moved country, left a business, started a job, moved house again, thought about having another business. I feel something's missing. And after being off work for a couple of weeks, with not much to do, I've started seeing the bigger picture. What's missing is the set-up of long-term goals! And some healthy methods to achieve them.
So I decided 2016 is the year to start focusing on what I really want to achieve in life! While I won't bore you with my personal plans, I have researched and adopted the following New Year resolutions, which I hope you will set for yourself as well.
Wake up earlier
I'll start with this one, as it is the one I dread the most! But I plan to overcome it and join the excitingly exclusive early-bird club. It is not going to be pretty (my dark circles will confirm), I'm not going to like it (at first), but I will see it through! And here is why:
more restful sleep (best between 10PM and 6AM)
more 'me' time
quieter and calmer mornings
time to meditate & reflect
morning exercise (said to be the best)
relaxing colouring anyone?
Another popular 'mind trend' I am excited to sink my teeth into. I'm sure you've all heard or read about mindfulness, but if you haven't, it can be described as a form of short meditation which will help break the cycle of unhappiness, stress, anxiety and mental exhaustion and promote genuine joie de vivre. As an induction, I will personally get an app or a book and start logging my progress. I will report back, friends! Watch this mindful space.
Let's face it! In your 20s, with no family and other major commitments, we could all squeeze in another personal project, or two, to enhance our skills, knowledge or simply for self development. As blunt as this sounds, if you haven't got what you want yet, it's because you're not working hard enough. Complete that additional qualification, get some financial training, finish that online course, volunteer, freelance, scrapbook! But let's do something with those weekends and spare time. (unless you have a very demanding hobby, which in itself is a way of self development. And no, being passionate about Netflix and TV shows is not a hobby!)
Follow your passions
Personally, nothing moves me more than music, dancing and acting! To indulge my passion for the performing arts, I will be starting Flamenco classes again (I took classes semi-professionally for almost two years, then quit for another two). But the novelty this year comes in the form of acting classes! Yes, I'm finally going to find out if I'm the next Jennifer Lawrence :) As an added bonus, dancing and acting classes boost self-confidence, fitness, public speaking ability, reduce anxiety and depression.
If Mark Zuckerberg did it, I am going to follow! No, really now. I'm doing it for me. But inspired by Zuckerberg's Year of Books plus a few other titles I've added to this looong list. And I have already proudly started with... 'The power of now'. Doh! It links waking up early, with reading AND mindfulness. Score.
Dancing should do it to a certain extent, but I am planning on taking full advantage of that reduced gym membership I have as a perk from work. I might even become brave enough to cycle to work. Miracles can happen! I have to quote the over-used-and-abused phrase to explain this popular resolution: Mens sana in corpore sano. Google it!
Start saving (more) money
Yes, budgeting has to become a priority in your 20s. It's never too early to start saving - maybe for a house, a long-dreamed holiday or an early retirement. I have only recently discovered the satisfaction of saving and I'm never going back. No, saving isn't a way of cutting out all the small pleasures in life, it is just a smarter way of spending your money.
Travel somewhere new
I am scared of flying, which obviously makes travelling ...avoidable. But by following at least some of the resolutions above I should be less anxious about flying, have more money to do so and even link it to some cool activities. What about that Thailand Yoga Retreat I always wanted to try? Or an Active Escape in the Maldives? I promised myself to try and fit one of these in towards the end of 2016. Let's see how I get on!
Give something back
Giving back wholeheartedly is one of the best ways to stay grounded, mindful, exercise love and kindness and get that satisfaction that no material thing can bring. Whether you choose to volunteer, adopt, donate or help in any way you can, this is a resolution we should all have on our New Year's list. And if you look around, what better time to start? There's so much sadness and suffering in the world right now.
Ok. This should keep you, and I, busy for at least a year. And hopefully by the end of it we'll have a few new habits to help us achieve our long term goals - a successful career, a cool new start-up, a young family, etc.
Investing in ourselves - our wellbeing and our growth - should be everyone's priority, surely. Because, you see, it all starts here... A better, healthier mind and routine will automatically make you want to exercise too, and eat healthily. A happier, more positive you will attract new friendships or even love. Working harder to better yourself and your skills will only prepare you for that moment when opportunity meets preparation and dreams come true.
I wish you lots of motivation, resilience and good vibes.