Advice

How to make realistic New Year’s resolutions

New Year’s resolutions, oh that wonderful list of delusions. Christmas is over, you’ve eaten too much, worked too little, and you’re generally feeling a bit meh. So what could be more tempting than jotting down an impossible set of things you’re going to achieve in this New Year, where you suddenly become a superhuman who turns vegan, does five hours of yoga a day and gets all work done four weeks in advance?

It’s nice to live in that lie for a moment and believe that’s the incredible person you’re going to be this year. However, it’s also not very likely to happen. But New Year’s resolutions can be useful: moving into 2016 is a symbolic fresh start, so here are some tips on making a list of goals you can actually stick to.

The first thing to do is assess and prioritise. What do you need to achieve? And out of those things, what is the most important? If you’re in third year, making time to work on your dissertation should probably come before a want to revitalise your wardrobe. It doesn’t mean you can’t do both things. It just means don’t ignore your growing pile of work because there’s a sale on at Zara.

A common New Year’s resolution is to lose the Christmas chub. And this is a point where people – myself included – can really get a bit wild with their ambitions. It’s pretty unlikely you’re going to shed half a stone in one week (and not only is it unlikely, it’s actually unhealthy to do so). Set realistic targets and a fitness/diet plan you can stick to for longer than a couple of days.

The same goes for work, writing up a work timetable is a great idea! But take it easy on yourself, you’re not really going to want to spend every Saturday evening in the library, so don’t put pressure on yourself to do it. Otherwise you might just end up feeling like a failure for not doing something that, in reality, is a lot harder to do than you first imagined when sitting on your sofa watching The Simpson’s Christmas Special.

Something else that I think is important to note is to be kind to yourself. Even if things went really badly this year, don’t beat yourself up about it. Nobody’s life runs perfectly smoothly and everyone makes mistakes. Moving on is going to be far more helpful to you than worrying about things you can’t change (though I do appreciate this is easier said than done, it’s just something to remind yourself of when you’re feeling bad.)

At the end of the day, New Year’s resolutions are there to help you try and make some positive changes to your life, not to try and completely change who you are as a person. So keep it simple and see how you go, New Year’s resolutions aren’t unchangeable commandments, if you’re finding something too hard then take it down a notch. So good luck, oh, and a Happy New Year!

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