Carrie Bickmore has successfully fulfilled her 2016 New Years Resolution. At the start of the year, she promised to bring more dancing into her life and, through dance classes and going to concerts and busting her moves while cooking in the kitchen, she did exactly that.
I am envious. But also inspired – I can do this, too.
Every year I make New Year’s resolutions. And never, ever do I get to the end of the year satisfied at completing them.
They are too vague – do more exercise.
They are unrealistic – abstain from alcohol.
They are also boring – do more exercise and abstain from alcohol completely.
This year, I’m going to make like Carrie, and make my New Year’s resolutions work for me. They’re small enough to manage. Big enough to make a difference. And, most importantly, measurable enough to be encouraging.
At times, my thoughts are quick to overwhelm. They spiral out of control and all of a sudden I’m thinking of the worst-possible-scenario that might happen if I move house and change careers (even though I’m not realistically contemplating either of those things).
Like all of us, I have read the benefits of breathing. How taking a few minutes each day to breathe in, breathe out, can sharpen focus and quieten the noise in the mind. Like most of us, I try this for a few days. Love the feeling. Then stop out of habit or busy-ness or boredom.
In 2017 I’m going to change this. And I’m going to do it using apps. There are so many! The Mindfulness App; Headspace; Stop, Breathe & Think. With headphones in, sitting on the floor in a quiet place, I can have little voices in my ears telling me how to breathe properly.
This will keep it interesting – I can switch between eight minute sessions, 12 minute sessions, half-an-hour sessions. I can browse different providers. I can try different techniques. My goal is to breathe mindfully for at least 10 minutes every day.
Use apps to breathe mindfully for 10 minutes each day. Image: iStock.
A project outside of work.
Recently, I read an article from a psychiatrist, who also survived the holocaust, about happiness and purpose. He wrote that having a purpose is more important than striving to be happy. That a purpose outside of work - like doing something creative, learning a language, playing in an orchestra - will lead to greater happiness because you are moving somewhere and doing something. Not staying still and wondering why you're feeling dissatisfied.
So, I'm setting a goal to complete a project I've been meaning to start for months. I've been contemplating it, but haven't put it into action.
I'm not going to make huge promises. But I am going to set aside two hours each week to sit down and work on this project for myself. I'll feel happier for having a purpose and, by the end of the year, (hopefully) I'll be left with something tangible.
There's an exercise regime (there's always an exercise regime).
I have made New Year's resolutions that revolve around getting fit, improving endurance, toning muscles, doing more yoga more times than I can count. They never last.
This year I'm going to change that. I'm going to set my self a very measurable goal. (Almost too measurable for someone like me who hates using organisational tools. The thought of a calendar makes me shudder.)
I am going to exercise four times a week. Three weeks of every month.
Exercising consistently is a 2017 New Years Resolution. (Because of course it is.) Image: iStock.
There's always a week when you're not feeling it. Or when the appeal of wines or dinners or just relaxing on the couch is more appealing than pounding the pavement - my resolution accounts for that.
There are also days of the week where work runs late, or you just can't fit 30 minutes of exercise in. My four-day plan also accounts for that.
To someone who exercises regularly, my goal might seem too simple. But that's the point. I've made it achievable. It will still see me exercising more consistently than I am now. To keep it interesting, I have signed up to a boot camp once a week with friends. I will continue pretending I can do yoga. And I will switch between running and swimming so I don't get bored.
Eating healthier breakfasts.
I am not overbearing when it comes to health. I love an almond croissant as much as the next girl, and my colleagues in the office will attest to the way I gorge myself with pies and two-lunches and sweets-for-afternoon-tea in the days before my period is due to arrive.
But, for the most part, I do my very best to cook my own meals, use fresh ingredients, and fuel my body with foods that are healthy.
My only downfall (except for the almond-croissant-period-is-about-to-arrive moments)? Breakfast.
I am hopeless. Every few weeks I convince myself that I'm going to make healthy bircher muesli or savoury muffins to improve my breakfast nutrition AND save money. Shopping day comes. I reach the dried fruit and nut aisle. And the thought leaves my mind completely.
In 2017 my New Year's resolution will be Special K.
Breakfast products from Special K are all about helping women eat well, to feel great. That sounds resolution-worthy enough for me.
The cereals from Special K are delicious and more nutritious than my poor attempts at bircher muesli. They contain ingredients such as berries, almonds, pepitas, multi-grains and whole grains that are good, wholesome and nutritious combinations.
Most importantly, Special K makes it easy. No time, stress or questions in the dried fruit and nut aisle involved. I can mix it up and keep it interesting with a variety of flavours. And, by the end of the year, I will be able to tell Carrie Bickmore that, while she's been dancing, I've been eating healthier breakfasts. Healthier and smug.
What are your New Years resolutions?
This post was written thanks to our brand partner Special K.
Special K cereals and snack bars are a delicious way to devour real, visible ingredients like berries, almonds, pepitas and multi-grains. For women who are on a journey towards a stronger, better self, Special K has their back every step of the way, with these nourishing ingredients that help women eat well and feel great. In January 2017 Special K partnered with food influencers and bloggers to help inspire women by sharing new food trends and recipes to keep breakfast interesting and fun. It’s time to ditch the doubt and #OwnIt.