January 16, 2017, by Siobhan
How To Make This Year Better Than The Last
Christmas has passed us and January has arrived, along with countless new years resolutions just waiting to be broken and dark, rainy days that tempt you to hit the snooze button for the 7th time. I feel as though the new year tempts a lot of people (myself included) into wanting to make drastic lifestyle changes and set goals that are pretty much impossible goals that would require a fairy godmother at the very least to make them a reality. Instead of starting 2017 attempting the impossible, I’m going to offer a few tips on how to make small, realistic changes, and hopefully make all of our years better than the last.
- Ditch the timescale.
‘I’m going to lose 6 lbs this month’. Oh are you? Do you have psychic powers? Do you come from the future? Didn’t think so. Whilst it’s good to discipline yourself and set targets to keep motivated, confining yourself to short time scales can put you under a lot of unnecessary pressure and then actually demotivate you if you don’t reach your goal. With losing weight being my example, a month to lose 6 lbs would require a serious lifestyle change that is simply not feasible in such a short space of time. Instead, have that goal of losing weight in the back of your mind, and make little changes that will help you on your way. Aim to drink 2 litres of water a day, or swap your sugary snacks for fruit. You’ll see gradual changes that will stay, rather than flopping at the first hurdle.
- Prioritise what’s important.
Again, you might really want to lose weight, but as a university student with a flurry of assignments and fast approaching exams, I think it would be fair to say that the latter is more important. I’m not saying that you should now devote 100% of your time to studying, that would be a million times worse! But you must consider the things in your life, whatever they might be, that have the most importance to you. Learning to prioritise things is an important part of growing as a person; I know I look back and think about all the time I wasted doing stupid stuff and I certainly regret it!
- Appreciate the now.
Sometimes we become too focused on the future or cling to the past too much, and we become vacant in our everyday lives. Looking too far into the future and focusing on large goals can be detrimental; looking forward to say, graduation (which for me is more than 2 years away!) can leave you withdrawn from the stuff you’re doing that will get you to that day wearing a funny black hat. I for one am terrible for fast forwarding myself years into the future and thinking ‘where will I be 5 years from now? Am I ever going to get a good job? Will I still be living at home sponging off my parents?’ But the truth is you don’t know, and you won’t until you get there. Yesterday is history, and tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a live recording, a piece of the puzzle that makes you who you are. Without being too cheesy, every day is an opportunity to do something that makes you happy. So why waste it? Why say ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’? The only thing we have in our lives that we can spend, but never get back, is time. So, appreciate the time you have today, and do with it the things that make you happy.