New Year’s resolutions: WhoDunnit Dinners' 8 tips for a happier, more connected life
So many of us say that our New Year's resolutions don’t last longer than New Year's Day. And yet the tradition persists. It's supposed to be a chance for a fresh start and a new, better version of ourselves. Are we kidding ourselves? Is it more demoralising to make empty promises that we can’t keep? Here are the Whodunnit Dinners' teams thoughts about how New Year’s resolutions done well could bring us a happier and more connected life.
First tip: don’t beat yourself up for past failures. But do look back at your previous resolutions and learn from what went wrong. Were you aiming too high with three classes every week at the gym? What were the barriers to your success? Did you underestimate all the other challenges and commitments of everyday life? If those barriers are still part of your reality then you need to reconsider and be more practical with your choice if you are going to be successful.
So you tried Dry January and failed, when that first Friday after-work trip to the pub beckoned. You’re not the first and you certainly won’t be the last. Think about what you were trying to achieve. Are you trying to reset your relationship with alcohol after a month of over indulging? Maybe you should be thinking smaller and more long term. If you find yourself having a glass of wine every night (and more at weekends) then how about just taking one day off a week: say, Monday. Over a year that’s actually 52 days of being tea-total, which is far better than the 31 in January and much more realistic. Then perhaps each year you could add in another day until the balance is healthier.
Do you leave your resolution decision to the night of December 31st and expect to make a thoughtful proposal for a significant life change? Is this likely, when you are fueled by one too many glasses of rose-tinted prosecco or glass-half full beer goggles on New Year’s Eve? Use the quiet days between Christmas and New Year to really reflect on the past 12 months and give it some proper thought.
For many people in lockdown, a solitary walk became part of their daily routine and this is something to embrace on a regular basis. Research has indicated that regular walking is good for the body and spirit.
Evidence also suggests that any exercise in which you are moving forward takes us to a more positive mindset and improved creativity:
Take a walk on your own before NYE. Take some time to think through things you’d like to change and how you might make a start to do that. (See Tip 2 above!)
When you get an idea for something you’d like to do, ask yourself: ‘Why?’ But don’t stop with one ‘Why?’ When you have your answer, ask yourself why again and keep asking yourself why until you end up at the root of what it is that you really want. You might be surprised with where it takes you.
Aim for an outcome, not just an activity. So, rather than: ‘I’m going to do an art class in the evenings’ think about what it is that you want from that. Is the outcome you are looking for to make new friends; is it to unwind or is it to bring some creativity to your life? Will the cost of that art class really take or add stress? By thinking through what you are really wanting out of it, you are more likely to find success.
So much of our happiness is about our relationships and connections with others. Instead of trying to change something about yourself, pledge instead to spend time with people who make you feel good about being yourself as you are. Identify those people and how they can be a more regular part of your life. Perhaps a monthly games night - or a WhoDunnit Dinners murder mystery party! Once you are stronger and happier, any other change or improvements you try to make are more likely to stick in the long term.
If you’re really stuck for ideas for your New Year’s resolution then reflect back on your last few months and try to think of moments when you were really happy. Was it meeting an old friend for a beer? Watching a documentary on a particular subject? Taking your mate’s dog for a walk? Seeing your family for dinner? Clearing out your garage? Why not resolve to do that just a little bit more. Instead of making yourself a ‘better’ person, make yourself a happier one. Make a date in your mind, or one day a month when you will make that happen more regularly. Tap into that joy for a happier, more connected life.