Whenever we’re about to close out the current year and head into a new one, there’s always societal pressure to make New Year’s resolutions. That said, there’s nothing like a pandemic to put everything in perspective in terms of what’s important and what isn’t.
Mental health and wellness has become a huge priority for us all. Therefore, if it makes you feel happier to set some goals for the year ahead and hold yourself accountable, do it.
Alternatively, if you’d rather not make New Year’s resolutions because life is hard enough right now and it’s an achievement just getting through every single day, I totally get it. I’m proud of you either way.
If you did want some goal ideas for the new year, I’ve got you covered with the following ways to create a better version of yourself.
1. Make Your House a Home
First things first, did you know that your living environment has a significant effect on your mental health?
Research shows that chaotic spaces can create feelings of overwhelm and anxiety. That’s why it’s a good idea to clean and declutter so that you can stay calm in even the most stressful periods of your life.
(Say it with me now: “tidy home, tidy mind!”)
Likewise, the lighting, temperature, smells, sounds and colour palette can impact how comfortable, relaxed and safe you feel. If there are loud noises or it’s dark and cold, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you will feel unmotivated and unhappy.
Try to place colours and objects in your home that are meaningful and reflect your personality to boost your mood. You want to be able to look forward to spending time in your home and cherish it as some much-needed respite from the rest of the world.
2. Work On Your Healing
Let’s face it, as human beings, we’re all flawed. We’ve all got things that we need to work on in terms of past trauma that needs healing so we can improve on ourselves and keep levelling up.
There’s no shame in getting the help you need sometimes, whether it’s a friend’s shoulder to cry on or therapy with a licensed professional.
Either way, don’t be afraid of reaching out as we head into the new year. Remember it’s a sign of strength, not weakness. And it can lead to growth beyond comprehension.
3. Be More Environmentally Friendly
If you haven’t already heard, the planet is in disarray. Thanks to global warming, the temperatures on earth are increasing at an exponential rate.
To quote Boris at the COP26 conference earlier this year, if we continue down the path we’re currently going down, “before a million years are up, we will have made this beautiful planet effectively uninhabitable — not just for us but for many other species.”
That’s why we need to take care of the planet collectively. We can all do our bit in terms of:
- Reducing excessive consumption
- Switching to LED light bulbs and energy-efficient electric appliances to save energy at home
(To name a few examples of climate change-related goal ideas.) Otherwise, it will be our grandchildren who pay the price.
4. Work on Your Fitness
A healthy body and healthy mind go hand in hand. Ergo, if you want to feel happier going forwards, you need the help of those feel-good endorphins that we can only get from exercise.
In my personal experience, my mental health improved significantly once I devised a weekly exercise regime. Just doing a one-off session only had short-term results, whereas, being consistent was a total game-changer.
That said, don’t feel guilty if you can’t muster up the energy to do a 60-minute intense HIIT workout every day. Sometimes, a fifteen-minute walk in the great outdoors is enough to work wonders. (Trust me.)
5. Be Kind to Others
We’re all in this crazy little thing called life together, which is sometimes easily forgotten when you get caught in the mundanity of the every day.
I’m a big believer in seeing the good in people, looking out for thy neighbour and being kind — always. After all, you never truly know what someone else is going through until you’ve walked in their shoes, whether it’s your sibling or the supermarket cashier.
Also, I’ve learned that there’s always a reason that people act the way they do. Give others the benefit of the doubt as we head into a new year until they give you a reason otherwise.
6. Let Go of What No Longer Serves You
As we get older, we develop and change in ways that we probably didn’t even think was possible.
You can’t expect to be the same person at 31 as you were at 21. Similarly, you can’t expect the same inner circle to serve you at 31 as they did at 21.
If you do manage to grow and adapt with the friends you’ve had since high school or university, that’s great. However, sometimes you no longer align with someone else’s personality, wants and wishes — and that’s okay.
One of the bravest things that we can do in life is walk away from the things that no longer serve us, whether it’s a toxic family member, job or relationship. Don’t delay, do it today for unbelievable effects on your mental health.
7. Embrace Positive Thinking
When I was in my twenties, I read a couple of books that changed everything for me.
- The Secret by Rhona Byrne (*) talks about the power of manifestation and how to use manifestation to create the life you want for yourself.
- Good Vibes, Good Life by Vex King (*) discusses the power of positive thinking and how self-love is the key to unlocking your greatness.
As human beings, we are all guilty of indulging in negative self-talk. “I’m such an idiot” is a common phrase for getting a question wrong at work or we often tell ourselves “I’m unlovable” when the person we’re dating suddenly ghosts us.
The truth is, by learning to be kinder to yourself, love who you are and think more positively, you can attract kindness and more positive things to you as time goes by.
8. Make Career Goals
The most popular goal ideas we tend to have ahead of a new year are career-related.
Having a career gives us a sense of purpose and can be wonderfully fulfilling if you’re fortunate enough to have a job that you enjoy. (Although, we all wish we could win the lottery so we didn’t have to work — right?)
Setting career goals keeps you motivated and on track to actualise the life of your dreams. Just make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to achieve them.
After all, we’re all on different timelines here. Success is subjective and it may come at 33, or it may come later on in life — and that’s perfectly fine.
Avoid playing the comparison game and constantly feel pressured to push towards the next milestone. In fact, some of the most beautiful times of life are when you’re just coasting by in peace and harmony.
9. Focus on the People in Your Life Who Add Value
I’m putting this item in my goal ideas list because I recently had an epiphany when it comes to friendships.
I had some friends for years who I was continuing to be friends with just because I’d been friends with them for years. They didn’t celebrate my wins with me or really take any kind of interest in my life — they were just in my life because we were in the same friendship group.
One day, I decided that I didn’t want people in my life “just because.” Life is hectic and challenging enough as it is, so I want my interactions with my nearest and dearest to feel effortless. If they no longer cared to reach out to me, I had to learn not to care either.
Plus, my time is precious. We only get a finite amount of time on this earth, and I want to spend it with my ride-or-dies while I still can. (Who’s with me?)
10. Take Time for Yourself
Lastly, since the country reopened fully after the third lockdown, everybody’s been running around like they’ve got ants in their pants. (I get it because I’ve been exactly the same way.)
That’s why it’s so important to slow down when you can. You don’t always have to have a full calendar or see a bunch of people in a short amount of time.
Likewise, you don’t constantly have to be doing chores around the house or life admin. Give yourself permission to do nothing sometimes — it’s a simple joy that we all deserve and it can really help us regroup and mentally prepare for the months to come.
Taking These Goal Ideas and Tweaking Them for Your Situation
Even if you’re not feeling New Year’s resolutions this year, these goal ideas can give you a new focus.
Above all, it’s noble to have things to work towards, but it’s more important to do what makes you feel happy and healthy on a daily basis.
I’m in your corner always!
Katie Davies is the Yorkshire-based freelance writer who founded Trendy Tourist. Since 2017, she has written for over 100 companies on a range of subjects, from fashion to marketing. When she’s not producing content, you can find her shopping, exploring a new place or sitting somewhere having a cup of builder’s tea.