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.