With a shiny New Year just a few days away, many of us will be reflecting on this year, what we did well, what didn’t go so well and what habits and ambitions we do and don’t want to take into the new year with us. With that in mind, here are the 13 New Years resolutions that you will want to keep:

Realise that the only person who can change the path you’re on, is you

We are all guilty of putting up with situations when we really don’t have to. We become so used to being in a dead end job/treated badly by parents/friends etc and can have a tendency to trudge on in these patterns with no end in sight. At what point do you realise that it doesn’t have to be this way? Here’s the catch; it doesn’t have to be this way but the only person who can change this, is you.

Don’t put up with bad behaviour (including your own)

On how many occasions last year did you think ….. I wish I hadn’t done/said that/reacted in that way? How many times were you upset or disappointed with how people have treated you but ultimately, you put up with it? If you behave better, it will encourage others to treat you better and equally, in stopping people from stomping all over you, they (and you) will respect you more, leading to higher self-esteem and better relationships with those around you.

Set obtainable goals

Often we set ourselves goals that are meant to last the entire year and by 23rd January they are just a distant memory. Setting goals is a good way of wanting more for ourselves, showing us that we really do matter. Maybe the issue is the goals we set are not obtainable. Give yourself goals to work towards, that will not make you feel like a failure because you can’t complete them.

Don’t rely on others to help you complete them

Ever heard the expression…. ‘you can only count on yourself’? That’s a good one to remember here…. no-one else will have the self-interest needed for the goals that you set yourself and in order for them to mean something, it has to be you who completes them. Don’t choose goals you can’t complete without help; this needs to be something that you can do for yourself.

Ask for help when you need it

‘Pride comes before a fall’ as the warning says. What is pride exactly and why do we cling to it so intently? Why rush around trying to achieve the impossible when people are often only too willing to help and would love to be asked. The biggest way of not setting yourself up for failure is to recognise when you need help and ask for it.

Say sorry (and mean it) 

Saying sorry can be one of the toughest things to do. Not only are you saying that you’re wrong, but in most cases, you are acknowledging that your actions hurt/upset/inconvenienced the other party. Be brave, say sorry and acknowledge the other person’s upset. At the same time, is there anything you need to say sorry to yourself for? We are so tough on ourselves whilst trying to battle through often stressful situations, of course we’re going to stumble and screw up. We can be our own worst enemy, racking up every mistake and committing every stumble to memory then not forgiving ourself for it. Say sorry, mean it and let it go.

Move on/let things go

If there was one thing on this list I’d recommend (which is hard, the list took a long time to get ‘just so’) it is this: Don’t let your past or other peoples’ actions, haunt you. It doesn’t make anything better and it’s not worth it. The only person negativity affects is you. I had a friend who told me once: ‘be angry for a day then let it go’. She told me this 10 years ago and I still adhere to it today. Acknowledge that it hurt/upset/embarrassed you. Feel cross/outraged etc. for a day then let it go. Move on, clear your thoughts and enjoy living in the now.

Be healthy/give up vices

You are an adult and whilst it is (possibly) legal for you to have the vices you do, it doesn’t mean that you should have them. Make this year all about being the best version of you and in doing so, give up unhealthy, unsociable vices. You’ll feel much better physically and empowered emotionally for it. 

Get more sleep

Do you ever get the feeling that if only you had enough sleep, you could take on the world? Have you noticed that if you’re tired, criticism feels so much harder to bear? Do yourself a favour and get off to a flying start this New Year by making sure you get enough sleep, even if it does mean having to cancel plans occasionally. Looking after you is the best thing you can do for your mental and physical health.

Have fun

No-one has fun 100% of the time but that doesn’t mean that life should be all work and no play. Before you rush off to pick up the Marlboro lights or reach for the class As, remember fun comes in lots of different ways and anything that makes you feel like crap the following morning, isn’t worth it. Challenge yourself to do something (fun) that you wouldn’t have considered before, you may well surprise yourself with how much you enjoy it!

Do something new

We all put off doing things for when we have more incentive/money/time and the reality is that we never really end up following our interests. This tells us that we put ourselves way down on the pecking order when we should be at the top of it. Don’t save the course/travelling/new language until a ‘better’ time. Do it now and feel proud of yourself for getting on with it.

Listen to more music

Music is well known for being a mood alterer. Try listening to your favourite dance song and see if you still feel sad? Use music to help you change moods when times in your day are tough and to brighten your atmosphere when at home. Want to go a step further? Book to go to a gig or two of an artist you wouldn’t usually listen to. I found one of my favourite artists this way (thanks to my husband) and now love his gigs and listen to his music daily.*

Be brave/put yourself out there

We like to think that we’re brave most of the time. However, often we sit within a comfort zone, rarely dipping a toe in the water for fear of failure. As Elizabeth Gilbert said at her recent talk in London: “So many people don’t make their work because they’re afraid of what will be said about it”. How can you know what you’re capable of achieving without putting yourself out there to test what you can do? Be brave and see how much you can achieve over the coming year.

*The artist is Steven Wilson – he is a musical genius and a night at his gigs is food for the soul.