You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again. – Benjamin Franklin
It might be total cliché, but it’s also undeniably true: time flies, and the years seem to slip through our fingers.
I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels like the next New Year’s Eve seems to roll around before we can so much as sing Auld Lang Syne.
The festive season is upon us yet again, and it will soon be time to welcome in 2018.
That means your thoughts will soon be turning to this year’s New Year’s resolutions, and your vision for the next 12 months.
Before you write anything down or set anything in stone, take a little time to reflect.
Read on for a few things you probably already know deep down, but could do with remembering before you decide on those resolutions.
1. A New Year Isn’t The Only Time You Can Make Change
Before you start thinking about your resolutions, it’s important to realize that there’s no need to pressure yourself with the idea that you’ve got one chance per year to get your act together and make changes in your life.
A lot of people seem to be under the impression that if you make the wrong resolutions then you’ll be stuck with them until 2019 rolls around.
And that’s a scary thought.
In fact, all you need to make a change is a new month, a new week, or even just a new sunrise.
You’ve got 365 chances in 2018, not just one.
2. But On The Other Hand, It’s A Great Place To Start
Whilst the point above is more than true, that doesn’t mean January isn’t a great time to reevaluate and make some changes.
You’re not stuck with the resolutions you make, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make them. There’s no time like the present, after all!
Psychologically, it feels like a new beginning in January. Possibility is in the air.
Whilst everyone is trying to make and stick to resolutions, there’s plenty of momentum around you to keep you moving toward your goals, so make sure you capitalize on it.
3. Resolutions Have To Come From A Place Of Self-Love
Some people seem to feel like they need to punish themselves in the New Year, for not being skinny enough, fit enough, kind enough, perfect enough… Or just enough in general.
That’s not healthy.
Whilst it is always great to strive to be a better person, you shouldn’t start from the basis that who you are at the moment isn’t up to scratch.
You have to accept yourself and love yourself for who you are, and only then think about how things could be even better, and how you can make the best of the gifts you’ve been given.
No self-flagellation, please.
4. Plan For Fun
On that note, please don’t make your goals for 2018 entirely things you’d rather not be doing.
If you hate the gym, don’t sign up for a membership. You’ll never go and you know it. And if you do, you’ll be miserable.
If your goal is to exercise more, find a way of staying active that you know you’ll love. Dance. Climb mountains. Sail. Being active shouldn’t be being a chore.
Make 2018 the year of self-care. Plan in plenty of time for laughter and doing more of the things you love with the people you adore.
5. You Only Live Once
Another cliché, I know. I’m full of them. Prepare yourself for a few more.
What have you been putting off? What have you been telling yourself you’ll do in the future? What have you been avoiding because you don’t yet have the ‘body of your dreams’?
Life isn’t a dress rehearsal and you don’t get a second chance to live it. Carpe diem and all that jazz.
Make 2018 the year you do something that absolutely terrifies you, but thrills you at the same time.
Start that business. Take that trip.
Morbid as it might sound, any of us could get hit by a bus tomorrow, and regret is not pretty. You’re not immortal, so stop putting off the things you want the most.
Is your partner/mother/friend trying to push you into making a change? Or are you feeling pressure from society?
You have to want it, as you’re the one that has to do it. Focus on the things YOU really want for yourself.
You do you, and let everyone else sort themselves out.
7. Set Goals Are Better Than Vague Resolutions
There’s no point in making resolutions if you haven’t figured out exactly how you’re going to act on them. You need to set yourself some goals.
If, for example, you’ve decided that your New Year’s Resolution is to travel more, then you should commit to getting your first trip away booked by, say, the middle of January, to go away in February or March.
If you’re looking to exercise more, then treat yourself to the gear you need in the January sales, get yourself booked into an exercise class, join a club, or pay up for that gym membership…
If you’re hoping to save more money, research the best savings accounts, open one up and set up a direct debit so that the money gets transferred automatically.
Whatever it is, it’s important to take a concrete and tangible step, preferably involving a financial commitment, to get the ball rolling.
8. Your Goals Need To Be Realistic
There’s nothing more counterproductive for getting the New Year off to a good start than setting yourself goals that are completely out of your reach.
Whilst it’s always good to push yourself, and you should never be afraid to dream big, you should also keep things achievable.
Just remember: you’re capable of more than you think you are!
If you’ve never been running before, for example, perhaps you shouldn’t make your goal to run a marathon within the first half of 2018. Start with managing 5km, and once you’ve mastered that, you can set your sights higher.
It’s got to be the right balance between setting your goals so high that you’re disappointed and discouraged when you don’t achieve them, and underestimating what you’re capable of.
What Are Your Resolutions For 2018?
With all that in mind, it’s time to make a few decisions.
Sit down, get comfy, pour yourself a cup of coffee or even a glass of wine (it’s been a long year!), grab a pen and paper, and write down all the things you’d like to achieve or change in 2018.
I always find pen and paper to be far better than doing this digitally, as your thoughts flow better.
Then, take a long hard look at what you’ve written. Decide which are the things you really want to do, and which are the things you just feel like you should do, or someone else thinks you should do.
Have another look at your list, and ask yourself if it would look the same if you knew this was going to be your last year on earth. Now add the things you’d want to do if it were.
Narrow your list down to 2-3 resolutions that make you feel excited and a little scared at the same time.
Your list should light a fire in your belly, even if it’s just a tiny wisp of a flame, so if it doesn’t, try adding something a little more daring.
Just dig a little deeper, I know you’ve got a dream buried.
What’s on your list? We’re dying to know. Leave a comment sharing one of your resolutions for 2018.
Katie splits her time between writing and translation. She writes about travel and self-care and never stays in one place for too long. She’s currently based in beautiful Cornwall, England, after long stints in Brazil and Mexico. She spends her free time trail running, exploring and devouring vegan food.