I don’t know about you but I personally don’t like the word Resolution or the idea of a New Year’s Resolution.
From its root word “resolve”, it means making a firm decision to do or not do something.
Sure, it works for awhile when you are all ‘pumped up’ and motivated but long term? What happens when you “fall of the wagon” or get de-railed for some reason or another?
We all know the feeling you get then – defeated.
Also, making a decision to do something doesn’t mean you will do it or more importantly, that you will persevere in doing it and staying consistent.
Thus, I like a different approach.
A New Year’s DO MORE OF list.
With this list, I will try to do more of something every day.
Starting small, and staying consistent. Creating habits until they become automatic.
Like a morning routine that you’ve been following for so long that it feels strange when you miss it.
Here’s my DO MORE OF list as a sample to give you some ideas:
1. Daily reflection
Start a journal. Write whatever comes to mind.
You don’t need to write in long paragraphs. Just use bullet points like this method of bullet jounaling.
Some people like to write their intentions for the day every morning.
Others like to reflect on their days at night, how it could be better.
Others still use a pen and paper to generate ideas, log dreams, write goals, rant and pour out their emotions, even draw! The 5 min journal is a good format to start.
For me, I like writing because it slows down my thoughts and helps me think clearer. Journaling has helped me out of some dark times and continues to be an extremely valuable habit.
Whatever it is, just start writing and watch the magic of how words materializing onto the page can change you for the better. You won’t regret it.
2. Daily Meditation
In my experience, meditation is a practice that helps center my mind, grounds me and over time, helps you become more resilient to stresses of daily life.
Meditation also creates self-awareness, improves your emotional control and a number of studies have confirmed physiological changes in the brain itself which correlates to the slowing down of age related neurological deterioration. [1, 2]
Lazar: “Mindfulness is just like exercise. It’s a form of mental exercise, really. And just as exercise increases health, helps us handle stress better and promotes longevity, meditation purports to confer some of those same benefits.”Brigid Schulte, “Harvard neuroscientist: Meditation not only reduces stress, here’s how it changes your brain,” Washington Post, May 26, 2015
Traditional meditation involves getting into a comfortable position, closing one’s eyes and focusing on something like your breath or chanting a mantra.
However, I find that meditation is a personal practice that can come in many forms.
I have experienced the ‘meditative state’ doing various activities such as praying or saying the rosary, cooking, doing housework, taking a shower, gardening, walking in nature, or just lying under the shade of a tree, staring at the clouds! 🌤
So if the traditional method doesn’t work for you, don’t stop looking. There is bound to be something that does.
Remember, its a practice. So stay consistent to reap the benefits. Find something that works for you and stick with it!
3. Daily Physical Activity
Your body is built to move, it needs to move.
Connect with your body throughout the day, listen to it and move more!
Too many people walk around with poor posture and tight muscles and joints from living a sedentary lifestyle.
After a heavy meal, go for a walk outside until you feel better – in nature is best 😉
Stretch, dance, strength train, pick up a sport or martial art, walk, swim, cycle, etc. There is so much you can do. Find something you like and stick with it. Better yet, pull a few friends along or make some new ones!
Most importantly, don’t get stuck in one position for too long (i.e. sitting).
Stay active throughout your day!
4. Do Something That Excites You Daily
Do you have a passion? A hobby? Something that gets you excited, inspired and motivated? Something that you simply love doing?
Or a dream/aspiration for the future?
If not, get a pen and paper and start thinking!
Having a passion and purpose, especially if it is for the benefit of others, makes life all the more meaningful and worth living.
Spending some time each day working towards that dream keeps the dream alive and brings you a few steps closer to its realisation.
5. Make Someone Smile Daily
Making others feel good makes you feel good too.
A simple smile is all it takes.
While you’re at it, smile at your reflection every time you stare at yourself in the mirror!
6. Get out in Nature Daily
We haven’t evolved to stay indoors and stare at screens all day.
Get outside, get some sunshine! 🌞
Walk barefoot and feel the earth beneath your feet, the refreshing breeze 🍃, the plants dancing in the wind and rejoice with the singing of the birds!
Its totally free and easily accessible to everyone and probably the best method to de-stress
7. Learn Something New Everyday
Never stop learning.
I’ve set a goal of trying to read 30 mins a day but I know reading is not for everyone,
You could watch a Ted-talk daily, listen to educational podcasts while commuting or even subscribe to an audio-book service like Audible.
8. Consider the Consequences of our Actions
The other day we were in the car and my family got into a huge argument while on the road.
We’d allow our emotions to take over even though the initial cause of the argument was genuine care and concern.
Reflecting back, in the heat of the moment when we allowed anger to take the driver’s seat, we failed to consider the risks we were taking as 4 lives could have been easily lost if something had gone wrong.
From that experience, I realized that humans in general are not very good at considering the consequences of our actions, especially when emotions run high.
This applies to everything we do from what we put in our plates and mouths, to how we dispose of our rubbish.
Are you contributing to unnecessary suffering of animals who are raised in inhuman conditions?
What about the slow but sure deterioration of our planet because we want things to be convenient?
So remember, every action, every word, everything you do has a consequence, a ripple effect.
9. 1st Things First, 1st Thing in the Morning
In short, get the most important thing for the day done first thing upon waking – when you are fresh and productive and distractions are minimal.
10. Reduce Unnecessary Time
This continues from the previous point.
Peter Drucker, author of “The One Thing” has a saying that I often repeat to myself:
“First things first, and second things not at all”Peter Drucker
Basically what it means is to spend less time on unnecessary things like scrolling through social media feeds, too much TV, movies or computer games.
Some people think of these as a means of de-stressing or relaxing after a long day but in my experience, it often insidiously consumes huge amounts of time and leaves me thinking, “could I have spent my time better?”
Thus, I’ve slowly begun resisting the urge to open Facebook or Instagram until the late afternoon, when I have used up most of my brain and willpower doing more productive things.
In fact, I find that limiting ‘social media’ time or specifically scheduling it to a specific time, a very effective way of balancing things and preventing oneself from getting sucked into the black hole of social news and media.
Happy New Year!
I hope this short list helps you make 2019 your best year yet!