Many people think of New Years resolutions as being superficial, hard to stick too, goals about weight loss and self-improvement. And, that if you actually want to see change in your life you can do it at anytime. It’s true that there is no magical power in the date of “January 1st” and that you can successfully start new habits anytime, but I also believe that a new fresh year could be just the thing you need to boost your personal journey in living the life you want to live. Here’s why…
1 – A New Planner: I always look forward to the start of a new year when I can turn in the old rumpled diary full of old dates and occasions, pick out a new one, and start fresh. The pages are crisp and clean and the future days are just waiting to be filled with fun activities. So much hope and promise are set out in those pages. I use my planner to remind myself of projects, due dates, appointment and work hours but also to plan the fun things too. I make sure to schedule time for self-care activities (highlighted in pink), lunch dates with friends, skyping with my dad back home and going to the gym. I find that being able to see my week laid out ahead of me allows me to make sure that I am finding balance in my day-to-day life and have a mixture of work and play.
2 – New special offers at local attractions: The start of the year is a great time to get involved in a new activity in your town such as a gym, yoga studios, arts centers or dance lessons. These establishments often have specials at the beginning of the year in order to get new people on board. Yoga studios often have a free week of classes, gyms offer special deals and 8-week night classes (such as swing dancing or pottery) usually start up a new sequence in January. I don’t know about you, but if I’ve never tried something before and am a little bit apprehensive, the fact that it’s free could be the winning deal. Another great thing about starting up a new hobby at the beginning of the year is that you wont be the only new person! It’s much easier to try something new when your not the only one whose never done yoga in a class full of tie-dyed people standing on their heads.
3 – New Class Material: I love looking at a fresh syllabus. This might seem weird and overwhelming to some but I try to look at it as a blank slate with so much new knowledge to absorb. It’s easier to make a change in your academic attitude at the beginning of a semester and start new good habits. Have you ever found yourself stuck at the back of a lecture for the entire semester because that is your unofficial assigned seat that you gave yourself the fist day of class? Now’s the chance to make a change! You can always move back later on, but trust me; if you don’t start at the front of the class those eager beavers will definitely mark their territory.
4 – Holiday hassles are over: Time to get back into your routine! It is very common for our schedules to be disrupted over the holiday season. Family, friends, travel and celebrations can often leave me feeling exhausted towards the beginning of January. It’s like an overseas vacation – you’re so excited to be there at the time, but equally as happy when you get home to your own bed. Pretend January is that bed. Time to do your laundry, have a shower, go to the gym and reflect on the fun times you had over the holidays. If you weren’t able to stick to your diet or lifestyle “goals” over the break, don’t be discouraged. It’s great for your body and mind to have a break, because now your mind will be full of new experiences and feel refreshed.
5 – It’s a nice chance to assess progress: Okay this one is a biggie for me. For some reason my memories around Christmas and New Years are always very vivid. I can remember exactly what I was doing, feeling and thinking at this time over the past few years. This gives me a great opportunity to look back, reflect and really realize how far I have come.
I remember last Christmas very clearly. I didn’t eat Christmas dinner with my family because I wasn’t ready to stray away from my carefully calculated meal plan made by my treatment team. At this time in my life it was important for me to hold onto the rigidity of the meal plan in order to minimize Eating Disorder voices. My glorious “safe food” Christmas dinner consisted of a grilled cheese, apple and yoghurt – But at least I was eating a complete meal and was able to enjoy Christmas, even though I did feel a little isolated.
This year however, I made many delicious vegan dishes (goodbye grilled cheese) to share with the family, didn’t measure any of my food, went back for seconds and was not overwhelmed by the whole experience in any way. I’m honestly amazed when I see these two Christmases juxtaposed. Its amazing how much can change in a year. I know this is cliché but I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings; I surly hope it includes a vegan feast for Christmas.
I hope you all had a beautiful New Years and are ready to embrace 2016!!