Making New Year Resolutions is a very old tradition. The Babylonians made them. And the ancient Romans. They made promises to Janus (hence January!), who was their god of beginnings, endings, entrances and exits.
Nowadays, many Christians prepare for the year ahead by praying and making resolutions at Watch Night services. There are parallels in many other religions.
For example, during the Jewish New Year, worshippers reflect on their wrongdoings and seek and offer forgiveness.
So all over the world, people are thinking about their lives around now, and making resolutions to do better. To exercise more, lose weight, stop smoking, cut down on alcohol. But mostly, such good intentions melt away after a week or so.
A better approach is to make resolutions about smaller things. Like deciding to read more, or to drive more slowly. Avoid making “all or nothing” resolutions.
So instead of resolving never to get angry, decide you’ll work on getting angry less often. Things like these actually work — and you’ll feel really good when you realise you’re achieving them.
Resolve to talk to more people. Because almost everything important that ever happens to you starts with talking to someone new.
Stop tolerating bad behaviour from your dates. If they don’t call, or keep flaking on you, move on.
Wear sports gear that makes you feel good, and listen to a really interesting audiobook while you exercise. You’ll work out much more often.
Take short movement breaks throughout the day to boost your energy level, focus and productivity.
Resolve to understand your own emotions better. Learn what triggers them, and how they affect those around you.
Start thinking of giving way to other drivers as an act of kindness, and actively help the boy-racers get out of your way. You’ll be surprised how much more relaxed you feel once you stop fighting every inch of your journey.
In fact, why not be kinder in everything you do? Hold doors for people without expecting any thanks. Surprise your mum with a phone call.
Be mindful when you eat your meals, even if you’re alone. Don’t text. Don’t make calls. Don’t browse your social media. Instead, chew more slowly and consciously enjoy the taste of your food. You’ll also end up eating less because you’re giving your body time to let you know when you’re full.
Anxiety disrupts your breathing pattern, so consciously re-establish your normal rhythm to calm your thoughts.
The social media portrays an unreal world where everyone seems more successful, making you feel bad. So resolve to limit your exposure. Instead, do something creative: like writing, or making music.
If you and your partner rarely seem to see one another, resolve to organise things so you regularly have time together.
Say “I Love You” more, compliment your partner more, and show more affection. Resolve always to go to bed together at the same time, and all that skin-to-skin contact will do the rest.