Many of us are looking forward to a new year dawning. Have you yet thought about your goals or resolutions for the new year though? Some of us will stick to the tried and tested vows of getting a bit healthier, but there are also other goals you could put in place for the new year if you’re so inclined.
If you find that it’s hard to make time to read and you miss it, you can make a practical goal for the year. Perhaps reading a new book every month? One way to stick to this goal is to join a local book group, and this helps keep you accountable, as well as giving you a place to socialise and meet like-minded friends. If you have a Kindle, they’ve also recently introduced a new feature which goes back and counts the number of books you’ve read each year so you can keep track easily.
You could focus on eating more mindfully, drinking less alcohol or getting to the gym regularly in 2021. Another option would be to focus on better sleeping patterns, reducing screen-time after 8pm or even taking more care of your mental health by being more boundaried with your time, and learning to prioritise self-care above obligations that deplete you.
If you’d like to incorporate more self-reflection into your life going forward, you might want to consider a journaling practice. If you feel that having to write a full entry each day feels like too much, you can buy a diary that gives you only one line a day, rewarding you for brevity. If you’re at the other end of the scale and have plenty to say, consider trying ‘Morning Pages‘ which encourage three full A4 sides of long-hand, particularly for those with a creative bent (popularised by Julia Cameron in her iconic book, The Artists’ Way).
Whether you’re creating a new habit, or trying to let go of an old one, it might help you to think about where you fall on the 4 Tendencies framework by Gretchen Rubin. It’s a really intuitive system to help you work out what motivates you – for example, if you’re an Obliger, you’re more likely to stick to goals if someone else is put out by your failure. That means if you want to get fit, you should book exercise classes with a friend who will be able to keep you on board – as you won’t want to let them down and make them have to attend alone.
As humans we’re more motivated by loss than reward; you can take advantage of this knowledge by committing to a goal and adding an iron-clad penalty of having to donate to a cause you really loathe if you fail. Maybe it will also help you to stay on track if you send yourself regular, scheduled reminders. Futureme.org is a great site which allows you to do just that by sending emails to yourself on dates that you pick in advance. If you’re curious it can be fascinating to see what other people have (publicly agreed) to share on there too. You might just be inspired to try something new!