Let’s be honest: every year, many of us take a moment to reflect on the past year and set goals for the coming year.
The trouble is, however, that most of us break our New Year’s Resolutions well before the end of January.
As a consequence, we end up feeling disappointed and frustrated, and the year is off to a bad start.
This year, we’d like to suggest a different approach, one that is simply kinder to ourselves as well as a bit more realistic. How about New Month’s Resolutions: setting a goal for every month of the year that is both positive and achievable?
Put together, these smaller goals can work to achieve something much greater, including increased self-esteem, a better relationship with friends and family and a healthier, happier approach to life.
Here are a few suggestions about what could be on your calendar this year.
January is for Relaxation
With the buzz of Christmas and New Year behind you, make a point of kicking back and taking some time out – maybe for a massage or a yoga or meditation class. December is a busy month for many of us, so January is perfect for a bit of me-time.
February is for Fitness
We all overindulge at Christmas, but rather than setting unrealistic fitness goals first thing in the New Year, spend a bit of time considering what sort of training you might enjoy. Some of us run for miles, others do a ten minute session in the morning before the family wakes up.
Enjoying your workouts means there’s a better chance you will stick with them and ultimately feel better in your own skin.
March is for Patience
Not seeing massive results from February’s fitness boost? Give yourself and others a break from overly high expectations and practice patience.
You’ll start enjoying the process and notice the small changes rather than simply looking for a big result.
April is for Appreciation
When setting goals, many of us start with things we want.
This month turn the tables and ensure you notice and actively appreciate something you already have every single day.
May is for Mindfulness
Picking up where April left off, rather than going through your day on autopilot, try to be mindful throughout. Where to start? Think about being aware of the little details of the day – starting with your morning coffee.
When you’ve slipped into auto-pilot, simply smile and try again.
June is for Joy
Summer is around the corner! Yes, Scottish summers can be unpredictable, but the long nights are here perfect for moving life outdoors a little. Enjoy the feeling of having more time in the day – not to work, but to spend time doing things you truly want to do.
July is for Kindness
Reach out – whether it is to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while or a stranger in need of help. These random acts of kindness will leave you and the person you helped feeling good for the rest of the day, which is a great reward for a small effort.
August is for Relationships
It’s a month for summer holidays, meaning many families will spend more time together than in other months. Use this time to get to know each other better.
It’s very easy to fall victim to routines during busy work and school months, and even a short break away offers great opportunities for having more meaningful conversation, relaxed walks and spending more time outdoors with family.
September is for Stress
We do need a bit of stress in our lives to stay alert and aware, but too much becomes a problem. Use this month to try and find out what stresses you. Once that’s clear think about solutions: can you remove the stressors? What helps you cope with it – not just for a moment, but long-term.
October is for Health
Having identified what stresses you out, now is a good time to think about your overall health.
Being mentally and physically in a good place is essential for your overall wellbeing and both deserve equal attention.
What adjustments are required for you to be happy and healthy and make sure you seek out any additional support needed to achieve your health goals, whether it be a personal trainer, dietician or mental health/well being therapist.
November is for Beauty
The days are starting to draw in and it’s a time when some of us may suffer the effects of SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder. We are often guilty of moving so fast through the process of the day that we miss the beauty around us – have you noticed that your morning commute now features a stunning sunrise?
Whilst November can have its share of rainy days, nature and our environment provides many spectacular moments to savour. Take the time to notice this everyday beauty and allow it to wash over you giving you a moment to take with you in your day.
December is for Peace
By now, you’ll be used to hearing Christmas songs every time you go shopping. Take the time to truly listen to the lyrics of traditional carols: many mention peace and joy. So before the busy Christmas period takes over when perhaps some relationships may be put under pressure, allow a few moments for reflection … and a sense of peace to ground you through this festive and frantic month.
Professor Ewan Gillon, Chartered Psychologist and Clinical Director for First Psychology Scotland with centers in Aberdeen, Inverness, Dundee, Perth, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Borders.