When I was younger, I never thought too much about how I managed my life.
But in midlife, and especially in January when resolutions are all anyone’s talking about, it’s almost impossible not to think about what you can do differently to increase your health, happiness and habits.
For the past few years I’ve let a lot of important things slide due to my mum’s illness and then things really started to spiral downwards after she died in 2017.
So, this January, I’m not only coming up with resolutions, I’m making a plan to change my habits.
Every self-help book, blog post or article I read about goals says that if you write them down, you’re more likely to achieve them.
So here goes.
My Top 10 Goals For 2018
1. Eating Well
I like to say that I’ve never had a crisis I didn’t eat my way through. And unfortunately I’ve had quite a few of them recently. But I know that food is not a good coping mechanism, so I’m focussing on eating less to ease my anxiety and more for nutrition and energy. I’m also making dietary changes to control my reflux, but hopefully they’ll only be temporary because I really miss coffee and tomatoes!
2. Moving More
I’ve been a member of the same gym for more than a decade, but I’ve never been a regular. This year the gym is moving to a new building that includes a pool, so I’m committing to going more often and also starting a strength training program. Outside of the gym, I’m walking more, which has the added benefit of helping me keep up with my podcast subscriptions.
3. Having Fun
Now that my kids are teenagers, I have more time for myself and this year I’m making the most of it. Whether it’s going to the movies, to see an exhibition or meeting up with friends at the markets, I’m doing something every week that brings me joy.
4. Reading Every Day
I’ve always been a bookworm, but in the past year I haven’t read many fiction books. Over Christmas I spent two glorious weeks catching up on my reading and realised how much I’d missed it. In a way, getting lost in a story is like meditation to me. It helps calm my brain and just makes me happier overall. So reading every day is something I’m looking forward to.
5. Going To Sleep Early
I love to stay up late, but I always regret it in the morning. A tip I picked up from The Happier podcast was to set a bedtime alarm. I find the more sleep I get before midnight, the better I feel the next day.
6. Getting Up Early
I really wish I was one of those people who can get up at 5am every day, but alas, I’m not. This year I’m focussing on getting up at 6am so I have time to go to the gym before work and get in some meditation time. I know I get so much more done when I get up early, but sometimes it’s hard to remember that when the alarm goes off.
7. Planning Meals
Meal planning is something I’ve thought about for a long time, but never done on a consistent basis. But, I know it saves so much time and money, so I’m committing to do it this year.
8. Saving Money
According to Gretchen Rubin’s book about habits – Better Than Before – I’m an obliger (someone who meets outer expectations, but not inner ones). However, I think I might also have a little bit of the rebel tendency too, because I resist structure in so many areas. Money is one of them. I hate tracking my spending and expenses, but when I don’t, my finances suffer. So this year I’m biting the budget and making saving a priority.
9. Practising Meditation
The more I read about the benefits of daily meditation, the more I realise that this isn’t something that’s optional. As a chronic overthinker, no one needs to meditate more than me, but it’s not something I’m very good at – yet!
10 Living In The Moment
So easy to say, so hard to do, and yet living mindfully is something that’s important to me. So every day I’m trying to be grateful for what I have and to pay more attention to the things that matter. I’m also working on controlling my anxiety because as Mark Twain once said “I’ve been through some terrible things in my life. Some of them actually happened.”
What are your goals for the new year?