Last year, one of my new years resolutions for 2019 was to ‘be more Hinch’. No, not ‘hench’. Mrs Hinch – I’m talking about you.
I wanted to enjoy and love cleaning, taking it up like a long lost hobby with as much passion as I could have. I mean, in February, I even de-gunked the oven and gave it the deepest clean it’s ever had. Bless my cotton socks, I really was trying.
Come March, it was like ‘I’ll leave this daily scrubbing to those who love it’, and I hung up my rubber gloves. I do still use Zoflora daily though, so I didn’t completely fail. Now I’ll clean as I go, quickly and as pain-fee as I can. It wasn’t a new years resolution that was meant to be.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that technically I failed to keep my resoltuion. But that is because it was unachievable for me. I’ve never had an interest in cleaning, and no series of insta stories showing me a gleaming sink every evening was gonna change that.
The key is to set realistic resolutions that don’t take too much hard work -or fake interest – to do.
Here’s some I highly recommend taking up which shouldn’t leave to a failed year….
Bring your lunch to work twice a week
We all want to stop spending £6 a day on lunch at work, and sure it’s a nice idea to think that you’ll bring a packed lunch to your office every single day. However, life is busy and sometimes we don’t have the time or the right foods in our cupboards to prepare lunch every day at home. Unless you’re a culinary wizard, which if so, maybe you could try to do it everyday!
Instead, aim instead for a happy medium. Go for two days a week. And don’t fret over which days it should be; any day you’ve got leftovers from dinner, bung them in a Tupperware and bring them along. Or if you have a loaf of bread needing to be used up before the end of the week, then Wednesday and Thursday it is for homemade sandwiches!
Get ready for bed earlier
Promising yourself to get more sleep is one that will never quite stick. Or at least it’s a hard one too anyway. You spend most of your time fretting about getting to sleep quicker, and then stressing about how you’ve gone to sleep just as late as usual.
Sleep depends on being relaxed. You buy a new mattress and duvet set, spray yourself with lavender and wear a sleep tracker, but you’re mind will be cautious about the ‘new time’ you need to nod off.
Make it more realistic by stop saying you’re going to go to sleep earlier, and instead, aim to be in bed an hour earlier three times a week. If you normally go to bed at midnight, aim to be in bed, reading a book, with your phone plugged in across the other side of the room by 11pm. Aim to do this on Sunday, Monday and Thursday maybe as a start?
Commit to a fun exercise session twice a week
If you’re not a natural gum fan, then telling yourself to take up the gym and go 4 times a week will be an absolute disaster of an idea. You’ll feel uncomfortable and maybe in pain if you rush it so quickly, and then start to dislike it, and then start to make excuses.
Instead, just commit to one or two exercise sessions a week. It doesn’t have to be at the gym, but if you live near a health club, you could join one of those instead as they offer more than just a hardcore workout gym. You could do 30 minutes of swimming one night, and then hit the treadmill on the weekend. Think about what exercise appeals to you, and work it in via very small steps.
If you already exercise a fair bit, and are quite happy to hit the gym, then why not set yourself a challenge to try a different set of exercises at the gym? Or, try a new class?
Have a ‘dry weekend’ – not an entire month or year
It’s much easier to go three consecutive days each week without drinking, or two full weekends a month alcohol free, than to totally quit. If you’re quite a big drinker, going cold turkey could just cause more stress, and eventually lead you to quit.
It’s a sensible idea to reduce alcohol intake, although people who tend to commit to dry January or an alcohol free year can struggle with this.
Instead, why not try making sure that each week, every week, you have two or three consecutive “dry” days. Or, two full weekends of the month, you don’t drink. You can choose the weekends, so that if you have a friends wedding or a few after work drinks one week, it doesn’t fall on that specific weekend.
That’s not to say you should aim to drink for the other days of the week, or the other weekends. It’s more about the “consecutive days” element that forces you to add a level of mindfulness to your alcohol consumption that you may not have previously employed.
Set small savings goals
Saving is not an easy thing to do, especially if you’re a young adult trying to juggle an active social life in a lower paid job, in an expensive town or city. I don’t have a set amount that I put into savings. I’m self employed so my pay dates are all over the show, so I tend to just put a fraction of money aside when the bigger paid jobs come through.
Here is something to try: choose a low denomination you rarely get – a pound coin, a two pound coin or a fiver – and put it to one side each time one comes into your possession.
Or, do what I’ve just started to do: every day of the year, put the pence aside to represent the day, so 0.01 on the 1st Jan, 0.20p on the 20th Jan, and £3.65 on the last day of the year. You can read more about this here in my other blog post.
Shop for cheaper coffee
Last year I told myself to stop spending all my money at Starbucks and every time I did, transfer £3.05 (the price it was for a tall soya latte) to a savings account. I failed within two months because I just loooooove soya lattes, and even more so medium sized ones with sugar free caramel syrup, Mmmmmm.
They make me happy, and going cold turkey was not going to help. So, what I’ve started to do now is rather than forgoing your morning coffee altogether, instead opt for a filter coffee or a smaller size coffee. You can get filter coffee or an Americano with a splash of milk as low as 99p at places like Pret a Manger.
Also, remember to start bringing your own cup if you can! Saving the environment and all. Starbucks offer reusable cups that give you a certain pence off your drinks if you use it. Think of Mother Nature!