So, it turns out that New Year’s resolutions are really hard to keep after all. It’s often suggested that this is because they tend to be too vague (the classic “I’m going to lose weight’ is admittedly so lacking in detail that it’s not clear it even amounts to a resolution), but there might be another simpler reason: they take too long!
It’s all very well telling someone they can achieve their 'learn a new language resolution' if only they’d set out a year’s worth of goals with timescales and methods, but there’s nothing like writing lengthy plans to make a person lose interest in the whole affair before they’ve even begun. All is not lost, however. For those of us with shorter horizons than Edmond Dantès, there are plenty of alternatives to the all-or-nothing resolution. Here are some ideas we’ve put together which don’t necessarily take all year and definitely won’t require a life coach to get you through.
Try something new for 30 days
Google’s Matt Cutts regularly does a 30 day challenge: he simply thinks of something he’s never done before or would like to do more of and commits to doing it every day for 30 days. It’s a great way of setting yourself achievable goals and if you don’t like what you’ve chosen, do something else next month. You might not be able to manage a year of running every day, but a month is surely within the realms of possibility. Here are some ideas to get you started (you can find loads more on Matt's blog).
- Learn a new word each day. This is a nice easy one to get you started. Obviously we’re pretty biased here, but Logsit is a great way to keep track of all the words you’ve learnt!
- Don’t eat any meat. Even if you really love eating meat, it doesn’t do any harm to learn a few new recipes to better utilise the vegetables in your fridge and add a bit of variety to your diet.
- Draw a picture every day. If you’re feeling brave, post them to Instagram or your blog; if not, pop them in Logsit so you can flick through a private record of your artistic progress.
- Hand-write a letter and post it every day. If you can’t think of anything to write, just tell the reader about the 30 day challenge you’re doing. It couldn’t hurt to inspire your friends and family and everyone loves to receive a nice letter.
If you need a bit more inspiration, be sure to check out Matt’s 3-minute TED talk. If 30 days sounds too long, why not make them 7 day challenges instead.
Do more of something
Try giving blood the maximum number of times this year. Book your first appointment straight away and find out how often your blood service suggests you donate - most blood services offer the ability to book online, so you might be able to book right now. Set a reminder each time you give blood or use a responsive reminder in Logsit, which will reset automatically each time you check-in. Giving blood is one of the kindest things you can do. One day any one of us might rely on the contribution of generous blood donors, so why not be a donor yourself.
Do less of something
We’ve probably all tried a detox of some kind at some point in our lives, but they don’t really work do they? Well, a pilot study by the New Scientist suggests that giving up alcohol for just 5 weeks can have benefits for your health and sleep quality, at least in the short term. Why not give it a try? It’s only a month.
Keep track of something that matters to you
Everyone can identify a few things that they ought to be doing more consistently. Perhaps you’re not phoning your relatives enough or maybe there’s a health symptom that’s worrying you. This kind of thing can make us feel anxious and making plans to deal with it can be scary. A good first step is simply to commit to monitoring it. How long has it actually been since you phoned your grandma or suffered a headache? Keeping track can help to put things in perspective and will give you the information you need to take action and remove that niggling anxiety from your life.
Whatever you decide to do this year, we hope it’s the happiest, healthiest and wealthiest year of your life. Good luck and all the very best from the Logsit gang!