Nicola Alpe: New Year’s resolutions to make and actually keep

Let’s agree that New Year’s resolutions are universally loathed. Even the best of intentions are often ditched by February.

Any new routine that starts in the middle of a holiday or peak socialising season is nigh on impossible to maintain. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

If you feel compelled to make 2021 the year you finally smash out that goal, then some little changes may bring big results.

Here is my list of resolutions that can make a difference and are easy to implement:

Go to bed earlier

Seriously. Weren’t we all so rested when we weren’t binging and streaming? I remember not watching Outrageous Fortune because the 9.30pm start was too late. If you need convincing, every hour of sleep before midnight is said to be worth two after midnight. According to research, we are all sleep-deprived, dehydrated and getting about in a zombie-like state, so getting to bed even 30 minutes earlier can be a game-changer.

Get up earlier

Goes hand in hand with the previous point. As a mother, I rage against people who say to get up before your children to journal, meditate or work out. Do they not realise that small children don’t wake up at the same time every day? And if they hear even a smidgeon of action from the living quarters they will be up in the dark to interrupt the thoughts you are pouring out into your journal?

So those without children I encourage you to enjoy this time and get up 30 minutes earlier. And those with children, why not still give it a try? It’s not time for much, but it will help you start the day calmer, it will allow you time to prepare your own lunch alongside the kids and you may arrive at work less of a wreck.

Be of service

It’s great to drop some coins in a bucket outside the supermarket but how about donating the most valuable of all commodities, your time. Keep up your Covid-era kindness and look out for elderly neighbours a little more, stopping in for a chat. Find organisations that mentor youth nearby. Sometimes these kids might just need some much-needed encouragement. Try organisations that pair you with a family as a pseudo grandparent. Volunteer at an animal shelter. Bake for charity. Think of all the contact and life you could be a part of by joining in.

Get outside

It’s tricky come winter but explore a new part of your surrounds on foot each month, go barefoot in the garden, alfresco yoga, commit to more walks on the beach or in the bush, more picnics, pledge to swim every day even through winter. It’ll do wonders for your mood and your health.

Be content

Stop living vicariously through others. Enjoy the life you are in as opposed to living for the future. We need things to look forward to sure, but life shouldn’t be about lurching from one holiday or event to the next. If that’s all that’s keeping you going then 2020 must have been a killer. Use 2021 to build a life you can be content with and can find enjoyment in every day.

Look people in the eye and say thank you

Smile and let it reach your eyes. Turn your face to the sun and drink it in. Be grateful for your health and the health of those around you. Focus on your child’s warm body in yours during a hug. Bank the fleeting eye contact from your teenager. Hold your parent’s hand and be patient with them. Take responsibility for your life and live it well.

Bring on 2021.

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