At the start of every year, nearly everyone eagerly runs to set up new year’s resolutions, whether it’s to cut back on meat or start running more. Some people will not set them, as maybe they think they are setting themselves up to fail, but perhaps a better way to look at new year’s resolutions would simply be – ‘what are your personal goals right now?’…and what better time to reset, and reassess these goals, than with the resetting of the calendar?
But the question is, 3 months into the year…have the WMSH team stuck to their resolutions (official or otherwise)? If not, why not? Also, if they haven’t stuck to them…are they going to restart this month? There is still 10 months left of the year, so why not?! So I asked the WMSH team if they had any new year’s resolutions, and how they were going…
Around new year, I did start thinking about ways to re-ignite my fitness regime. Pre-Covid I played netball twice a week, as part of a local league, and got into working out for the purpose of improving my game play – getting those killer intercepts by generally being harder, better, faster, stronger (as Daft Punk would say). But I grew to really enjoy working out for itself. I find it great for my mental health, and regularly working out at home has been one of my main hobbies since Covid hit, and Netball has been off.
I did however, before Christmas, start struggling with the lack of direction my workouts had. Once it became clear netball wasn’t going to start again anytime soon, I was just kind of fumbling about, and starting to lack the motivation to work out as often as I was, despite always feeling better when I did do it. So since new year’s – I decided to pick a workout plan, and commit to it. My new goal ‘Become Captain Marvel’ (aka – get strong/toned/pumped). My new trainer – Jeff Cavaliere of YouTube’s ‘Athlean X’. It gives me a plan to stick to, he tells me what to do at each workout session, and how to progress. Aside from my lofty and somewhat vague desire to be as strong as a superhero, right now I’m focusing on a few simple, more specific goals – workout 3 times a week, every week, work towards being able to do a pull up, and work towards being able to do 30 press ups in a row. So far I’ve managed to stick to my 3 times a week goal…which should set me up to meet the other ones over the next few months.
I would say my one tip for keeping new year’s resolutions or working towards personal goals – to paraphrase Tim Michin – “be ‘micro-ambitious’…focus on the “passionate-dedication to the pursuit of short-term goals”. Now you might rightly ask, is being able to do a pull up going to change my life? Honestly – probably not. My ultimate, underlying goal is to ‘stay fit and stay sane’…but that has no parameters to work towards. It’s not very motivating. It’s the short term goal, that motivates me along the track towards the overarching goal – stay fit, stay sane…and become Captain Marvel.
My new years resoloutions were quite simple I think and were things such as, drink more water which will help me look after my skin and also things such as eating healthier. Most of my resolutions fit well together and to make me eat healthier I also said I wanted to start to learn how to cook, so I am not eating takeaways all the time or just frozen food. On top of this I want to run half a marathon by the end of the year, which means I have to start running to work up to it.
I would say I have done relatively well with sticking to my resolutions, as I have been cooking most nights and also drinking lots of fluids to keep me hydrated but I did not run in January, so I am going to start this month to make sure I don’t break my new year’s resolution of running half a marathon. I have only ordered 3 takeaways in the last 4 weeks, which is a lot better than what I was doing last year so I would also say I have done pretty well with keeping that resolution so hopefully I can stick to that for the rest of the year. One month down and ten more to go!
I don’t make resolutions but I do spend the period between Boxing Day and NYE engaging in ‘romjul’, which is a Norwegian concept based on enjoying the slower pace of life and embracing the cosiness of the longer nights, reflecting on the year that’s been and thinking about intentions for the year to come. I use this to remind myself of things like ‘yoga helps me be less stressed’, ‘get out in nature when you can, it makes you feel better’ rather than setting qualitative goals, otherwise meeting objectives during my leisure time starts to be a source of anxiety. This year I decided to spend more time reading philosophy. A lot of mental health advice is rooted in stoicism and I’ve found it full of surprisingly practical advice for, among other things, living through a pandemic (Derren Brown’s Happy is a fantastic starting place and Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations is also more accessible than you think it would be, if you go into it reading it as if it’s his blog rather than a classic philosophy tome). Slow start on that owing to a lot of too-tempting fiction. I also decided to devote more time to writing. So far (thanks to lockdown and not much else to do) I’ve written 90,000 words which feels a bit over-achievey and if I keep that pace up I’ll definitely wear out my laptop keys.
Forest app is great for helping diminish the power of distractions like doomscrolling. You set a timer and grow trees when you put your phone down, and I make patterns with my forests to help me stay motivated. You can also donate real trees when you rack up enough focussed time, I’m about to get my first one.
I never make them for fear of disappointment if I break them. Overriding focus of the year though is just to be happy and healthy.
My New Year’s resolution was to get back into yoga. I think are all a bit stiffer than normal after a year of living and working from our houses. So far, I have stuck to this resolution and do feel a lot better for it!
Some tips I would give for keeping up this resolution, and others, is to not be too hard on yourself, especially this year. If I have a day where I really don’t feel like pulling the yoga mat out, I jump on to the sofa and chill out instead, then try again the next day! For me, keeping a routine with my yoga resolution has made me keep it up. I use YouTube yoga videos to help me, a tip I have here is to find a yoga instructor on there that you like, some of them can be rather annoying which is not encouraging!