Let’s Start A Fresh New Year.
New Year, New Me. As social media users say. A phrase that is often used and yet rarely followed. A throw-away statement, uttered as we polish off that last drop of bubbly at the bridge between the old and new year. But as we step gladly into 2022, and we leave behind all the stress and uncertainty of the previous year in the hopes of a better one next year, this is our chance to follow through on our promise of a ‘new me.’ So let’s make a toast this season to becoming the best possible version of ourselves.
While COVID-19 may unfortunately still be prominent in our lives. There are still smaller and easier things we ourselves can do to make sure that 2022 is our best year so far. The most difficult part of improvement, however, is knowing where to start, so we’ve taken the stress out of it for you, and with that said, here are just a few ideas that you could introduce to your list of goals for the new year
1. Commit To That Fitness Plan
Okay, let’s get the big one out of the way first. I’m sure many of us (myself included) have dragged ourselves down to the gym within the first week of the new year and signed up with the intention of training at the intensity of an Olympian, but be honest now, how many of us followed through with that plan? (kudos to you if you did).
This year, start by setting yourself a sensible goal and find an activity that best suits you. Perhaps start by taking up a simple, daily exercise such as cycling or running. Start with a reasonable and sensible goal of taking part in the activity at least once a day and push yourself more as you get more comfortable.
This year, challenge yourself to tackle some off-road trails, the internet is brimming with trails for you to try out, and start planning a bikepacking trip.
2. Do Your Bit For The Planet
Most media outlets will not hesitate to fill our heads with horror stories surrounding the current global climate and will jump at every opportunity to tell us that we’re all too late, and while yes, it is, unfortunately, true that there are more negative stories surrounding it than there are positive, it is not, however, too late to do our bit for the planet. There are many ways in which we can all lend a hand to limit climate change. Most of which are merely small changes that can easily be introduced into our day-to-day routine.
Save energy at home by switching to LED light bulbs and energy-efficient appliances. Little things such as washing your clothes with cold water and leaving them to dry naturally as opposed to in an electrical dryer will make small but necessary improvements.
Walk, cycle or switch to public transport. We live in a world congested with vehicles, most of which burn petrol or diesel. Help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also aiding your own health and fitness, by making the switch to walking or riding a bike and for longer journeys, consider switching to public transport such as trains and buses.
Eat healthier. Producing plant-based foods requires less energy and generally results in fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and less meat and dairy, can significantly lower your environmental impact. Eating healthier is most likely going to be part of your fitness plan as well, so take pride in the knowledge that you’ll be helping a much greater cause in the process.
3. Get Out And Explore
While many of us are itching to hop aboard a plane again and get away for a while. We understand that it may not be as easy as it once was, with new variants seemingly causing restrictions to be reintroduced in many countries.
One of the most fantastic things about the world is that there is so much of it that we are yet to explore. And that doesn’t just mean globally, whether you live in the most remote parts of the country or one of the biggest cities, there are always plenty of new things to see and do, and getting out into open spaces is a perfect way to rekindle your love for your home.
Venture to a new park, find a new favourite reading spot, or even just try a new cafe. The possibilities are endless and you never know what you might find.
4. Try Something New
Perhaps you have always wanted to try your hand at piano, or maybe you have always been interested in creative writing or you might even still be planning on travelling abroad this year and therefore have the perfect excuse to familiarise yourself with a new language. Apps such as Duolingo are new, easy, and interactive ways to learn lots of new languages that let you choose how intensely you practice. Remember that thing you once saw someone do and thought to yourself “I wish I could do that”? Well, this new year what is stopping you?
Pick up a new book, listen to a new genre of music, push yourself to run or to cycle a route you never thought to try. This year, venture away from your comfortable local eatery and try something new, there is a vast amount of different cuisines from all over the world, perhaps it’s your turn to come out of your comfort zone and try one that you’ve never tried before.
5. Declutter Your Surroundings
At the start of 2019, Marie Kondo became a household name after the popularity of the Netflix series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” The show saw Kondo ask participants, to sort through their items depending on whether or not the item “sparks joy” and it got many of us thinking the same about the contents of our closets. 3 years and many lockdowns have since passed and many of us may have forgotten to stay on top of our clutter, but as we usher in a new year, let’s try and get back in control of our surroundings.
That top that your distant family member gave you for Christmas 2020, yes, the one that was thrown to the back of your wardrobe. You’re never going to wear it, are you? Drag it out with the rest of your unloved items and give them a new home. List them on second-hand shopping sites or donate them to charity, it’s up to you, either way, you’ll feel better for organising and tidying up your space and your unloved items might make somebody’s day.
6. Save What You Can
While the past few years may have been difficult, with many people losing their jobs due to COVID-19, this new year, try your best to put back what you can, start with a reasonable goal and surprise yourself by the end of the year by saving more than you thought you could. There are plenty of money-saving plans online and most of them are easy to follow, your future self will thank you later. Take it from me.
7. Make Time For Loved Ones
It was something we took for granted and it wasn’t until we were told we wouldn’t be able to enjoy it the same, that we realised how much it meant to us. While we do still need to do our bit to combat the spread of coronavirus, it is now easier to spend time with friends and family. This year, make sure to set aside as much time as possible to get out and see these people, not only for ourselves but for them too. Spending time going out for day trips, exploring the area, taking a bike ride, or just sitting down to a nice meal together could brighten up yours and someone else’s day.
If you’re a family with children, why not try and schedule some time to go for a family bike ride, it gets the whole family practicing a good fitness regime, and who knows, you could even inspire your child to pursue cycling as a career.
If you live far apart from one another and feel your chances of meeting in person are still very difficult, then set aside some time each week to catch up. Schedule a video call each week to catch up and stay close until the day comes around that you can get back to seeing each other in person.
8. Be The Change You Want To See
If there is one thing the world is currently lacking, it’s good news. Our televisions and radios are overflowing with negativity and two years of global uncertainty have left many of us feeling depressed or anxious. The best medicine? Kindness. The little things it seems many people these days have forgotten. Many of us were taught the importance of a please and thank you as we were growing up and of the impact, a smile can have on someone’s day. In the hustle and bustle of the city, it seems these simple yet effective gestures have been abandoned by too many.
This new year, become the change that you want to see in the world. Reintroduce gratitude and appreciation into your everyday life. Smile and utter a polite “good morning” as you pass your neighbour in the street. Add please to the end of your coffee order in the morning, hold the door for someone walking by, and thank the person that extends the courtesy to you. We are all fighting battles and they are not always visible, choose kindness this new year.