A guide to New Year’s resolutions

Here we give you a few examples of simple, easy resolutions that will improve your life. PHOTO: Pixabay

Here we give you a few examples of simple, easy resolutions that will improve your life. PHOTO: Pixabay



It’s the New Year and you’ve made a number of grand resolutions to turn 2014 into your best year yet. Whether you want to drop 10kg or quit a bad habit like smoking, you’re dead set on achieving your goals.

But the truth is New Year’s resolutions are often so unrealistic and impractical that it’s impossible to stick to them.

That doesn’t mean you can’t change your life for the better, says Judy Klipin, a life coach from Johannesburg. “Think about two or three areas in your life that are challenging and identify a small change to make in each,” she says.

“The important thing is to be realistic, honest and set attainable goals. Committing to some exercise is more realistic than committing to going to the gym at five every morning.”

Here we give you a few examples of simple, easy resolutions that will improve your life.

IN THE MORNING

Have a morning routine: This helps your groggy-morning brain to quickly and efficiently navigate through basic task like eating, showering and getting dressed. It’ll help you get to work quickly and prevent you from forgetting important things, like your kids’ lunch or work laptop.

Make a to-do list: “To-do lists are important as they give one a sense of control and achievement,” says Aviva Baran-Rothschild, a lifestyle coach from Johannesburg. There are two ways in which you can approach your to-do list.

Start with the quick, easy tasks first. Ticking them off will give you sense of accomplishment. Or tackle the most daunting tasks first so you don’t have to worry them the whole day. “It should be seen as something to support you and make your life easier, rather than to use as a stick to beat yourself with if you don’t do everything on it,” Kaplan says.

THROUGHOUT THE DAY

Get physical: Going to the gym every day is a common New Year’s resolution, but it’s almost impossible to accomplish. Rather find ways in which you can incorporate physical exercise into your daily routine. Take the stairs, walk to the shops or play tag with your kids.

Declutter your workspace: It’s easy to feel deflated and overwhelmed if your work desk is covered in towers of papers and documents. For clarity and improved focus, clean and tidy-up your work desk at least once a week, says Baran-Rothschild.

One thing at a time: Avoid multitasking, says James Dhlamini from BTG Coaching in Kempton Park. Rather focus on one task and do it properly. “It takes a lot of energy to want to be in two places at the same time,” he says. “Conserve energy by doing one thing at a time.”

IN THE EVENING

Schedule some me time: For some people this seems almost impossible. But it’s important for you to set aside some me-time every day. “If you don’t do this, you may become irritable, resentful, feel unfulfilled and eventually burn out,” Baran-Rothschild says.

Assess what really needs to be done, decide what to say no to and ask family members to pitch in, Klipin says.

What you do with your me-time is up to you, but collapsing in front of the television doesn’t count. “Recreational activities are a very important aspect of daily life,” Johannesburg life coach Veronique Breugelmans says. “And as the word implies, recreation is about re-creation – actually doing something that creates an impact on your life. So lounging on the couch doesn’t count.”

Set out your clothes: Check tomorrow’s weather, decide what you want to wear and set out your clothes. This will save time in the morning when you’re still half asleep and you can’t decide If you exercise in the mornings, pack your gym bag the night before. It’s more likely that you’ll actually go to the gym.

Switch off from work: When you leave the office, leave your work behind as well. “You don’t have to answer emails after hours and you don’t have to pick up every time your cellphone rings or beeps,” Breugelmans says. “It doesn’t make you a better person to be on call 24/7.”

Switch off from technology: Switch off your smartphone when the family sits down to dinner or when out with friends. It’ll help you focus on real-life social interactions, instead of being distracted by messages, calls and social networks.

Reflect on your day: Take a few minutes to think back on your day. Did you accomplish everything you set out to do? If so, give yourself a pat on the back. “It’s also important to understand why we’ve not managed to do something we said we would,” adds Klipin. “Is it because it wasn’t really that important to us? Is it because we are tired? Is it because we are too busy? Understand the reasons why and then you can make the appropriate changes to your plan.”

Forgive yourself and others: If you’ve made a mistake at work, lost your temper with a friend, or acted in a way you’re not proud of, it’s important to forgive yourself and learn from the experience. “Learn to forgive yourself for making mistakes and learn to forgive others too,” says Breugelmans. “Holding on to anger, bitterness and regret is like holding acid in your hands. The only person you’re hurting is yourself,” she adds. Rather learn from your mistakes or actions and try not to repeat it in future.

Extra sources: openforum.com, huffingtonpost.com

– Petro-Anne Vlok

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