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5 Goals to Set Yourself in the New Year

Christmas and New Year parties are over and you’re broke.

The days are short and dull. It’s dark, cold and you’re back at work. This is the Sunday blues and then some.

The New Year hangover can be pretty hard to shake off (as can those pesky pounds – and we’re not talking bank balance) but, with the power of positivity, January can be a lot less disappointing. So banish the blues and seize the new beginning with these five goals to set yourself for a year that is the best yet:

1. Make Manageable Changes

People always say they are going to find health and happiness by dieting and exercising, but if self-improvement is your game, being realistic should be your aim. Don’t try and fix everything at once: over-analysis and strict rules often backfire, which does nothing for your self-esteem. Take stock and make little lifestyle changes in manageable chunks. For example, if your goal is to exercise at least four times a week but you currently only make it to the gym twice, think how else you might incorporate exercise into your routine. Can you pull on your pumps and walk to work on a Wednesday rather than jumping on the bus? Or, if you have a sweet tooth but can’t face going cold turkey, how about restricting sugary snacks to the weekend? When you live a healthy lifestyle, you feel better about yourself and your body – but change doesn’t happen overnight. For sustainable results, take small steps and go slowly.

2. Find a New Hobby

Having a ‘hobby’ might sound like a throwback to secondary school, but channelling your energy into something new is a sure way of boosting your mood. This year, why not vow to try something you’ve never thought about doing before: find your inner-sommelier with wine tasting and impress your friends (and dates) with your ability to navigate a wine list, or sign up for a jewellery making class and unleash your creativity. Or how about being bold and having a go at something outside your comfort zone, such as snowboarding or Bikram yoga. Set yourself a challenge and learn something new about yourself.

3. Make More Time for Yourself

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Boost your mind, body and spirit by making more time for yourself. When it feels right, press pause and take stock. Rest and relaxation is important in helping acknowledge feelings, celebrating accomplishments, and gaining some insight. Stop spreading yourself so thinly and learn how to do less. Don’t fear missing out (FOMO) but take joy in being in control. Exhaustion is not a status symbol.

4. Get On Top of Your Work

According to the HSE, 39% of all 9-5 absences in 2013-14 were caused by work stress, depression, or anxiety. Whilst no one looks forward to going back to work after the party season, it pays to practice good time management quickly. Create a routine that encompasses both work and life. During the day, work in time bursts (because no one can concentrate for hours) and focus on appropriate chunks of work to tackle rather than taking on a laundry list of endless tasks. And how about setting your own deadlines before the real deadline so that you feel less pressure? When you’re on top of your work you feel in control, and being in control means you are less stressed and can enjoy the little things which make the week tick along nicely.

5. Makeover Your Mindset

It’s easy to say you are going to ‘be more positive’, but a lot of people fail at this because there are a lot of negative things in life which bring us down. To succeed, you need to train yourself to be more mindful. Appreciate what you have and stop comparing yourself to others. Live in the now and don´t let your thoughts drift into the past. Take stock of all that you feel grateful for and find a sense of purpose in your life. You may not always succeed in finding your positive place, but it is better to try than to be negative all the time (if it helps, start your day by reciting a mantra or affirmation – a tried and tested method of self-improvement).

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