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New year, new you? How to keep your resolutions

I, perhaps like you, used to be sceptical of New Year’s resolutions, a bit of a new-years-resolution critic. You can see my reasoning for it: does anybody ever even keep them for the first month, never mind the first twelve? And if no one keeps them, what’s the point of creating them in the first place?
Now, however, I embrace the time of resolution creation as another opportunity to better myself as an individual. What changed? I learnt the key to a good new year’s resolution. This involves making a resolution realistic, achievable and important to you.

Making resolutions realistic involves different things for different people. For me this involves making them vague and adaptable. Instead of saying ‘I will go to the gym every day in 2016’, why not say ‘This year I will be more active’. Adaptable resolutions allow you to vary the way they can be achieved, so if you fancy taking up your flatmates offer of a bike ride one day rather than go to the gym, you won’t be deviating from your goal.

A vague use of frequency might not be the kick-start everybody needs, but everyone can learn an important lesson from this idea. A good new year’s resolution is going to take some work, and so diving in headfirst and trying to hit the gym everyday as soon as you get back to uni is going to be difficult (particularly if you ‘forgot’ to do those readings over Christmas!). A less fixed aim means that you can slowly ease yourself into 2016, and then increase the frequency of your task, significantly reducing your chances of quitting before we hit February!

The use of vague terminology also means that you don’t feel like giving up on your resolution because you failed to meet its terms once or twice. If you only said you’d try, then any setback is no excuse for quitting, you should still keep trying. The key to sticking to your resolution is accepting that at some point you will break that promise to yourself, but that’s okay.

Finally, choosing the content of your new year’s resolution is the most important thing. You have to choose something you want to do in order to improve yourself. Otherwise the resolution is unrealistic; you won’t have the drive to achieve it. Remember that your idea doesn’t have to be about improving yourself on the outside, resolutions that focus on mental improvements are important too. For example, setting yourself the resolution to be nicer to yourself. This may involve appreciating when you look good, accepting compliments, taking part in activities in improve your happiness and forgiving yourself more often.

If you fancy embracing the chance to, if not to create a ‘new you’, then to build on the person you already are for the better, check out some different ideas of new year’s resolutions I’ve created to get you started below!

Say yes to more opportunities. Ever seen ‘Yes Man?’ You don’t have to take it so far, but you can take a leaf out of Carl’s book and seize more opportunities; you never know where it might take you.

Reduce your carbon footprint. Buy more local produce, put on an extra jumper rather than turning up the heating or cut down on your meat intake.

Spend more quality time with yourself. If you spend lots of time partying maybe you need some time in, or out, enjoying your own company. Watching a movie or visiting a new part of Edinburgh, there’s always a chance to indulge yourself.

Organize your time more efficiently. exams might seem to be in the very distant future but there’s still plenty to do. You could write up a weekly schedule of work or create individual day plans when you’re feeling swamped. Make sure to leave time for regular breaks and don’t worry about taking a day off!

Image Credit: Giorgio Montersino @ Flickr

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