Whatever your goals, we ponder the subtle power of swapping punishing resolutions for more mindful and nourishing intentions
9 January 2020| Last updated on 12 January 2020
All Credits: PA
Did you make New Year resolutions this year? There was a time when kicking off January with a list of goals was just something we did without question, but it seems there’s been a bit of a shift.
Only 22% of people were planning on making resolutions for 2019, a YouGov survey at the end of 2018 found, compared with 63% in a similar poll back when 2015 approached. The stats aren’t in for January 2020 yet but if social media is anything to go by, how we’re framing our New Year goals is certainly changing.
For starters, lots of us have swapped the term ‘resolutions’ for ‘intentions’ or ‘permissions’. This might seem unimportant but it actually taps into a meaningful shift in mindset.
Slow and steady wins the race
Take failure out of the equation
Taking care of ourselves and honouring our needs doesn’t have to be a success vs failure scenario. It can just be something we give ourselves permission to do – and keep doing, even if we have a bad week or life gets in the way sometimes. Setting intentions without the pressure of all-or-nothing targets, allows us to gently adjust the goalposts when we need to.
“I am all for a ‘gentle January’ – all about harnessing the impulse for change while respecting that there isn’t a natural resurgence of energy until spring,” says psychologist and health coach Suzy Reading, whose books include The Little Book Of Self-Care and The Self-Care Revolution (suzyreading.co.uk). “Toss aside punitive resolutions or plans for grand, sweeping change that is nigh on impossible to sustain. [Instead] focus on nourishment and small incremental waves of change,” she suggests.
And whether there are particular areas of your life you’d like to work on as we enter the new decade (work goals, fitness goals, relocation, family life, etc), or you’d simply like to welcome in a bit more joy and calm or prioritise your health more, self-care is a universal cornerstone. “There is nothing selfish about taking time to observe our needs and tune in with how we are feeling, head, heart, and body. This is proactive healthcare – nourishing ourselves so we can show up as the kind of people we aspire to be, to keep giving and keep going,” says Reading.
Like the sound of this? The reading suggests reflecting on the following prompts:
1. What nourishes you? Think along the lines of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health, use this to form your own self-care toolkit.
2. What have you been putting off? Plan one micro-step that takes you closer to seeing this through to fruition.
3. Are there any pastimes or joyful activities that you have let slip? What would you like to return to?
4. What healthy habits have you forgotten about? Jot down any that you’d like to reclaim.
5. What is your bodymind [a term used to describe the linked body and mind] crying out for? Take nourishing action and see the dividends ripple out beyond you.
You might not 100% believe these things at first or all of the time, but like absolutely everything in life, loving yourself is a habit you can work on, if you give yourself permission to do so. Reading suggests trying some mantras. These are a few of her favourites:
1. Sleep for sanity and rest for resilience.
2. I honour my boundaries and speak my truth.
3. I give myself permission to feel.
4. I have all the time I need.
5. I am my own safe place.
6. I am there for myself.
7. I advocate for myself.
8. I lovingly tend to my energy bank safe in the knowledge that everyone wins.