January is always seen as a fresh start. “New year, new me” and all that. However, for me, it’s not about letting go of who I was in the year prior. Rather, it’s about evolving into a new version of the same me to live life as healthily and happily as possible.
I always strive to be a better person, reflect and heal, and keep learning. Remaining stagnant and comfortable can limit our growth and stop us from becoming who we’re meant to be.
If you’re on my wavelength, I’ve come up with these goal ideas that are good for levelling up in the new year and beyond. See if any of them resonate with you.
1. Make Your House a Home
First things first, did you know that your living space has a significant effect on your mental health? Research shows that chaotic spaces can create feelings of overwhelm and anxiety.
Taking the time to clean and declutter your everyday environment can help you to 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 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 spark joy to maintain a good mood and comfort level. 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 to improve ourselves, from processing grief to healing past trauma.
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. Remember that reaching out is a sign of strength, not weakness. And it can lead to growth beyond comprehension.
3. Be More Environmentally Friendly
Thanks to global warming, the temperatures on earth are increasing at an exponential rate. To quote Boris at the COP26 conference, 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. If we don’t work together now, it will be our grandchildren who pay the price in the future.
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 experience, my mental health improves significantly once I’m in a weekly exercise regime. Just doing a one-off session only has short-term results, whereas, being consistent is a total game-changer.
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 in the 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, needs 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.
We are all guilty of indulging in negative self-talk sometimes. “I’m such an idiot” is a common internal dialogue if you make a mistake at work or “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 more kindness, positivity and great things going forwards.
8. Make Career Goals
The most popular goal ideas for the new year tend to be career-related. 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 feeling pressured to push towards the next milestone. Some of the most beautiful times in life are when you learn to appreciate being in the moment, treasuring where you are, what you have and just how far you’ve come.
9. Focus on the People in Your Life Who Add Value
There are some friends who you continue to be friends with just because you’ve been friends with them for years. They aren’t really present in your life anymore or take an interest like they once did — you just see them occasionally because you’re in the same friendship group.
You may decide that you no longer want people in your life who are there “just because.” Life is hectic and challenging enough as it is, so it helps if interactions with your nearest and dearest are effortless.
Plus, time is precious. We only get a finite amount of time on this earth, and you may want to spend it with the people who care enough to check in and make plans with you. Friendships should never been hard work, no matter how long they’ve been around.
10. Take Time for Yourself
Lastly, for the last year or so, everybody’s been running around overfilling their schedules and trying to make the most of post-lockdown life. (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 to enjoy your life. Resting is productive. And so is taking time for yourself so that you can avoid burnout.
By taking time for yourself, I don’t mean physically being on your own doing chores around the house or life admin. Give yourself permission to do nothing sometimes. This is a simple joy that we all deserve and it can really help us regroup and mentally prepare for what’s to come.
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Final Thoughts on These Goal Ideas
Even if you’re not feeling New Year’s resolutions this year, these goal ideas can give you a new focus.
Remember that it’s good to have things to work towards, but it’s more important to do what makes you feel happy and healthy on a daily basis.