So, it’s that time of year again – when we decide that life is going to be very different indeed. Christmas is over and simply because we’ve bought a new calendar we are determined to approach the New Year skinnier, healthier and an altogether improved version of our old selves.
The most popular resolutions involve giving something up – most usually chocolate, alcohol, cigarettes or anything else that’s bad for us – or taking something up, such as running, yoga, kayaking or anything else that is likely to result in a pulled muscle and general exhaustion.
It’s rather sad to think that nine out of 10 resolvers fail to keep their resolutions and by mid-January we’re back to our old selves.
With this in mind, we’ve come up with some resolutions that we all may be able to stick to…
Why not resolve to only eat the dark stuff on days with a Y in them? On a serious note, many psychologists believe that diets fail because we’re too hard on ourselves. Cutting down on foods that aren’t great for us combined with daily gentle exercise are by far the best ways to lose weight and stay healthy.
Generally speaking, processed foods are worse for you than home-cooked meals. So break out the cookbooks and start cooking things from scratch. You can control exactly what goes into your food. If you are cooking a curry then you swap the fattening double cream for low fat natural yoghurt instead!
Also try not to have sweets and crisps in the house – it’s easier to resist temptation if it’s not there in the first place.
Instead of going to the gym and exhausting yourself doing something you don’t enjoy, try taking up something that will keep you coming back for more. Take up dance lessons, maybe with your partner or with a few friends. Dance Web lists all sorts of different dance lessons and classes around the UK.
If dancing isn’t your thing then go for a form of exercise that is going to keep you fit and improve your overall wellbeing too, something like yoga. Or you could take up walking – a brisk walk up a hill is just as effective as going for a run, plus it’s the perfect chance to get some fresh air and see some scenery.
Be more romantic
In modern life most of us feel like there’s no time for romance but that doesn’t need to be the case. It only takes a few minutes to send flowers online, so you might as well do it while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil.
Set aside time to do romantic things. Instead of scheduling time to watch television or go to the pub you could try, for example, to plan something special, a winter picnic on the beach or a romantic dinner.
Random acts of kindness
Doing something for someone else will make you feel good and there’s also the chance that the favour will be returned. Clear ice from the path outside your neighbour’s house, help an old lady cross the street or simply smile at people as you walk to work.
If you are stuck for a way to give your good karma a boost then why not try The Wheel of Warmth, something set up by Age UK to spread warmth by getting people to perform small acts of kindness.
Write that novel
This might not be something you ever thought about doing; maybe you just write for fun. But why shouldn’t you write that novel? You have the plot and the characters whirling around your head, you just need to get it all written down.
Take a leaf out of the book of NaNoWriMo.org It’s a challenge that gets writers to write 50,000 words of their novel in the month of November. You don’t need to wait that long, or write that much, to make a start on this resolution but set yourself a daily, weekly or monthly word count and try to hit it. Set yourself something attainable.
Another great writing tool is 750words.com, which challenges you to write 750 words a day. It then gives you statistics on the speed and style of your writing. You can also earn badges for a writing streak and completing other challenges.
If you have the idea but aren’t sure how to write it all down, then maybe look into a writing course. Faber Academy does all sorts of courses from simple creative writing workshops to courses on how to get published.
Take up singing
You think you have a good voice but want to take it a step further? It’s not difficult to find a singing teacher in your area. You have a few options – you can either take a music class with others or you can have private lessons with someone who will teach you the advanced techniques that will get you ready for this year’s X Factor auditions.
City Academy has various singing lessons available, from beginner to advanced, and also across a number of genres such as pop, rock and choir.
Learn to cook
You should take advantage of all those cook books you received from Christmas. You could experiment, bake cakes or have friends over for dinner. Why not start your own version of Come Dine with Me with your friends and neighbours – the competition will spur you on to learn to cook as quickly as possible!
If you want to really impress, then you should take a cooking course such as the ones offered by Divertimenti. There’s everything from basic cooking skills to classes designed to teach you a specific type of world cuisine, such as Vietnamese street food.
Keep a diary
A diary could be used to track one of your other resolutions such as diet and exercise, or it can simply be a place to rant about your brother, swoon over a colleague or just keep track of the good things in your life.
A diary is a great stress reliever; instead of sitting around worrying about something you can just get it written down and off your chest. It’s great when there might not be someone on hand to talk to or if you just want to write down the funny thing your three year old said at the dinner table.
For sturdy, quirky diaries in a range of shapes and sizes visit Paperchase.co.uk
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