wellness

'I write down everything I buy.' 5 women on the New Year's resolution that changed their lives.

There’s an iconic scene in the second season of Grey’s Anatomy in which Meredith Grey says: “Fresh starts: Thanks to the calendar year they happen every year. Just set your watch to January”.

“Our reward for surviving the holiday season is a new year. Bringing on the great tradition of New Year’s resolutions. Put your past behind you, and start over.”

Watching the show as a 14-year-old, no single piece of television had ever resonated with me more.

You see, there are two types of people when it gets to the pointy end of December. Those who approach New Year’s resolutions with glee and enthusiasm, and others who couldn’t care less.

Whichever category you fall into, that’s okay, you do you.

But, it’s with a well-meaning dose of optimism and determination that we asked five women to share the New Year’s Resolution which changed their life.

This is what they said.

These women kicked some major goals after the age of 30. Post continues below.

Video by Mamamia

Emily, 28: ‘Be more present.’

My new year’s resolution was to be more present. To try to put my phone away whenever I was at a table eating or having coffee, to enjoy that moment. It’s made me more aware of my surroundings. This sounds strange but I’m more engaged in conversation rather than being so distracted on my phone.

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I'm also less anxious and able to appreciate the taste of food, or a good coffee more, rather than eating whilst scrolling through social media. It's made me happier and able to appreciate the little things in life.

My resolution this year is to spend more time with my family, particularly my parents. When there’s a health scare within your family it’s a major wake up call that sadly parents are getting older and it’s a strange transition from them always taking care of you as a child to you taking care of them when they’re getting older. Definitely making family time a top priority is this year's resolution.

Alex, 24: 'I unfollow any Instagram page that makes me think less of myself.'

My best New Year's resolution ever was unfollowing any Instagram page that made me think less of myself.

It improved my life tenfold. It further reiterated how short life can be and to not spend it wishing your life or your body away because of what you see in a photo. It also improved my relationship with my partner. I used to follow people whose boyfriends would always make these grand gestures, such as buying them extravagant presents or taking them on holidays which made me question how my partner felt about me (yet he would be making me dinner and unloading the dishwasher which in reality is what I way prefer!).

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My Instagram is now filled with body-positive Instagrammers and affirmations. I’ve noticed that I'm more confident in a bikini at the beach.

I’ve also made a conscious effort to say to myself “I have lungs that can breathe and legs that can walk and that is enough,” when seeing someone’s body that I thought was better than mine, and that has also helped me greatly when scrolling through social media.

Inge, 46: "I cut down my 'fashion' spending."

I had to cut down on my spending approximately four years ago, and I told myself I had to wear whatever I bought at least once for every dollar I spent on it. I couldn't keep spending lots of money on clothes because once my house was done, my mortgage repayments would be close to $5,000 a month. I've stuck to it for five years now and my wardrobe includes things that I wear all the time, instead of cocktail dresses which I would wear once or twice.

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I ruthlessly culled my wardrobe, sold or gave away a lot of hardly-worn clothes, and resolved to only buy things that I really loved and that I knew that I would wear over and over. I also took note of the brands that were left in my wardrobe and realised that there were only a handful: Cue, Veronika Maine, All Saints, Jack Wills, Saba, Portmans, Willow (RIP), Dizingof and Cotton On.

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I remembered that one of the senior associates I worked with when I was a junior lawyer in Melbourne many years ago (who had the most beautiful clothes) had said that if she buys something, she must wear it once for every dollar that she spent on it. So I started doing it, and it worked! Instead of impulse-buying, I'd go away and if I was still thinking about the item three days later, I'd go back and have another look. If I still wasn't sure, I'd go away and have another think about it. It feels really nice to look in my wardrobe and see only things that I wear over and over again, and know that it's money well-spent.

I've just started writing down every single thing I buy, and seeing it all there in front of me is a real eye-opener. Clearly, I need to go to Kmart less.

Em, 29: 'Less screens, more books.'

Last year my resolution was to read more books, which I certainly have this year.

I found I was scrolling through social media apps on my phone all the time. I'd be on the couch the couch or in bed, mindlessly wasting so much time. I wanted to use my time more meaningfully and find ways to unwind without technology.

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Once I decided to read more, I really enjoyed reading for pleasure again. It was easier to fall asleep, I was less caught up with judging myself against people on social media and finding my creative side again. I still have a way to go but it's a good start.

I'm going to continue with the theme of taking care of my mental health. I might start meditating, going for more walks, or reducing screen time - or all three!

Jess, 25: 'It's okay to be average.'

I don't say this as someone who was, or is magnificently high-achieving - not at all - but the need to constantly be striving to achieve and be the best, would manifest into self-sabotaging behaviour. When I would inevitably fail, I would collate these minor set-backs as an indication of my self-worth, which wasn't a productive way of thinking. I'd have to talk myself out of a minor 'crisis of self,' force myself to get some perspective, before finally moving on, and getting on with the task at hand.

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Instead, in 2019, I tried to reframe my thinking from 'wanting to achieve' to 'letting myself learn, and make mistakes'. It was a forced move to 'enjoy the journey and not the destination'. Reading Dr Carol Dweck's book Mindset really helped. She talks about having an attitude that promotes learning, and improvement, over the belief that a person's amount of skill, ability and talent is fixed.

I've made an active effort to reshape my thoughts for the past year and I can confirm, it's a happier and more fulfilling way of being.

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