9 Simple Ways to Make Positive Changes in the New Year

12/12/2018 - 11:34 AM

We are always full of good intentions on New Year's Day. We're going to eat less chocolate spread [1] and eat more vegetables, exercise more, learn a new language, see the world, make our own ice cream [2], and tackle world peace. — all before February.

While our intentions and lists and plans are always honorable, and our new diaries full of exciting things, January is a tough month. It is so cold and so rainy, and there are so many weeks until payday. By the end of the first week back at work, we've forgotten all of our plans. So instead of lofty resolutions and overwhelming goals, we're opting for small changes. Small tasks that we can tackle that have a big impact without being overwhelming and making us feel like a failure if we don't complete them. This New Year plan is all about positivity.

Do That DIY Job

If "I'll do it tomorrow" is your DIY [3] mantra, that may be why those prints never get hung and the drawer on your dressing table still doesn't have a handle. Tackle the thing that bugs you in January. It'll bring you instant good vibes and peace of mind. There's no need to tackle everything in January, pick a single task to tackle each month and you'll feel super productive without losing your entire weekend.

Have a Digital Detox

The best thing about this little change? You can do it in front of the telly with your Christmas chocolate. Cut the people on Facebook who upset you, unfollow the Instagram accounts that don't make you feel fantastic, delete all your unread emails (if you didn't get to them last year, you're never going to), mute those annoying people on Twitter. Mute that hashtag that drives you crazy! While you're on a roll, delete any apps on your phone that you don't use, and give your computer desktop a bit of a tidy up.

Make a List

You don't have to set New Year's resolutions, they're always about things you shouldn't do or have to cut out of your life. Instead, make a short list of things you'd love to do. It could be seeing a far-flung friend, it could be going for a promotion. Then next to each of them, write a short task to reach your goal. Skype your pal if you haven't spoken in a while, spruce up your résum. Break down your goals into little tasks and they'll feel much more manageable.

Experiment With New Ingredients

Never cooked a sweet potato? Curious about celery root? Maybe you've always wondered about star anise. If you've been in a bit of a cooking rut and just grab peppers and tomatoes when you're shopping, now's the time to eat more greens, try new spices and get more adventurous with cooking.

Take a Book to a Cafe

It's easy to say we'll read more, but it's a lot harder in practice when we're so busy. If you don't commute to work on public transport, you'll struggle even more to grab some time. So take matters into your own hands and take a book to that cafe by your office that always looks nice. If you can't sneak in after work, grab a solo lunch and get into that lovely book you got for Christmas (leave your phone on your desk). Remember, once you've got the reading bug back, it's hard to stop.

Have Friends Over For Dinner

It's always easier to cancel plans when they're vague. We feel guilty about it, but a "so sorry, let's catch up soon!" text is easy to fire off after a long week and then before we know it, six months have passed. Invite your friends over for dinner instead, you're far more likely to stick to plans if they're low key. Best of all, you're totally allowed to order takeout and polish off a bottle of wine.

Tackle Your Life Admin

Real talk: while we're keen not to make a list of impossible resolutions, but we are keen on taking control of our lives — and that means tackling the tricky things. Self-care isn't always about bubble baths, it's also about stopping niggling anxieties. It's not fun, but the effects are quick and pretty dramatic. Call your bank to sort that savings account. Research new energy providers. Book that smear test or dentist appointment. Clean out the messy pile of papers. Reward yourself afterwards; you've earned it.

Take Time Out

It's easy to get caught up in the January excitement of Doing All the Things. Everyone you know has a side hustle, a YouTube channel, a successful business, a bestselling novel. You know what? They're all lovely, but bubble baths are also really nice. Take a bubble bath. You can write the novel in your snuggly pajamas [4] afterwards.

Act on Impulse

Do you have one thing you'd secretly like to do? Whether it's a city you'd like to visit or a skill you'd like to try, January is the perfect time to do it. Book that train ticket (or flight!), sign up for a taster class. The best changes you can make in the New Year are to jump at the opportunity to try something new that really excites you.

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