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Top 10 Life-Changing New Year’s Resolutions for 2020

9 December 2019

Welcome to 2020

It’s a fact that changes don’t happen overnight, yet every year we make New Year’s resolutions, believing next year is going to be different. It’s high time we realised that we have to make real strides all year round to bring even the smallest lifestyle changes into our lives. But we all need a start date to focus on, don’t we? When we have a start date, it gives that date an air of importance and seriousness it deserves. Setting a date not only builds up anticipation and enthusiasm, but also helps in planning and making arrangements for bringing that change. New Year is fast approaching so now’s your chance to take a look at your life and make a list of resolutions to help you accomplish a personal goal or improve your overall lifestyle in 2020.

Embrace minimalism

Well, there’s more to life than just material possessions. Minimalistic culture is one of the coolest and most beneficial ways of life. As opposed to consumerism, minimalism can be defined as living a purpose-driven life by owning fewer material possessions and letting go of the excess personal belongings that are lying idle in your attic or garage. As per the book- “Live a Meaningful Life”, by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus- “Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favour of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfilment, and freedom”. Clutter in your house is clutter in your mind. Take a real life example - you just got a call from your friend and she has invited you over to her place for a weekend get together. After you hang up, the first thing you do is head straight to your closet to find an appropriate dress for the occasion. But because you have hundreds of dresses to choose from, the anxiety of not finding a suitable dress will soon overshadow the excitement of being invited to a party. Start your new year by practising minimalism. It not only makes room for the important things in life but helps you make wise buying decisions when you are bombarded with sales offers. Make a 90 day rule. If you haven’t used something for the last 90 days and won’t be using it for the next 90 days, discard it. As someone once said, “Travelling the world becomes easier if all your belongings can fit into your backpack”.

Create a work-life balance

Create a work-life balance

If you describe yourself as super-stressed, you are not balanced, you are not healthy. While certain amount of stress is required to spur us on, too much of it can make us irritable, depressed and susceptible to various ailments. Superman and Wonder Woman are fictional characters. Don’t try to emulate them in real life. The hurry to “get it all done” at work as well as at home can only leave you stressed. Create a work-life balance by setting priorities, remember all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Make some time for your friends and family in your busy schedule, so that you have something to look forward to at the weekend. Drop activities that sap your time and energy. For instance, one of the most time consuming activities is scrolling through your social media feed all the time. You could also save time by doing your grocery shopping online and instead book a date night with your loved one. These little changes will help you enjoy a good work-life balance in the coming year. In the words of Nigel Marsh, the author of Fit, Fifty and Fired Up “If you don’t design your life, someone else will design it for you, and you may just not like their idea of balance”.

Take control of your finances

Take control of your finances

A good budget can save a marriage. Yes, you heard me right! One of the many reasons married couples decide to split is their inability to manage finances well. Over 50% of marriages end in divorce and the primary reason for separation is financial disputes. The first thing you can do to take control of your finances is make a budget and then stick to it, no matter what. In the words of Dave Ramsay, a popular American business and radio host, and – “You must take control of your money, or the lack of it will forever control you”. To tame this unruly beast, prioritise your basic household needs including rent, and utility bills. If you think you are over spending on any of these things, try renting a smaller place, or buying a smaller car or cutting back on groceries. Always make a list when you go grocery shopping and don’t buy anything that’s not on your list. Create long-term goals, like sending your child to university or starting your own business one day. Don’t just pray to make your dreams come true, do something to fulfil them, for instance, eliminate money-suckers like restaurants and vacations once in a while to save that money for future plans. If you are married, and still don’t know how to take control of your finances, read this short story- 10 ways budgeting saved my marriage.

Apply the one-hour-a-day formula

You might have heard yourself complaining all the time about how you aren’t able to find enough time to pursue your hobbies or do the things that you really want to do. You don’t necessarily need a large chunk of free time at your disposal to follow your passion; the one-hour-a-day formula can help you achieve your life goals in 2020. Remember, it takes time to make time. Divide each day in three 8-hour blocks. Deduct 8 hours for work and 8 hours for sleep and you are left with 8 hours of productivity. Take out 2 hours of commute if you are driving to work. Now you are left with a six-hour block each day that’s entirely yours to do with as you wish. Write a book, play a piano, join a salsa class or start planning for the business you want to start one day. If you still think that an hour a day is not enough time to get anything done, you are wrong. An hour of exercise can keep your weight in control, an hour of upgrading your job skills will keep you updated about the new trends in your niche, an hour of meditation can keep you calm and composed throughout the day. In short, if properly employed, an hour a day is enough to make important changes to your life. Just analyse how you are spending time, rework your schedule, get over your inner resistance and voila!

Eliminate toxic multitasking

Top 10 exercises to do at your desk

Single tasking can be life-changing for you! We often find ourselves in situations, especially at work environments, that place a high value on multitasking, but this not a good workout for the brain and for your overall health. As opposed to the prevailing perception, multi-tasking not only exhausts the brain but it defies its ability to reason and make sound decisions. The brain is not designed to do more than one thing at a time, so frequently switching between tasks overloads it; think about talking on the phone while driving. Though hands free technology has made it possible to drive and to talk on the phone simultaneously, studies show that the visual brain doesn’t activate fully when we do that, which means that while we may feel like we are watching the road, we are merely looking at it. If you have been multitasking for years, it can be a bit difficult to break that habit. But it’s not impossible. Make a to-do list and identify your priorities. Don’t procrastinate or get distracted by other “urgent things”. If you always feel scatter-brained and anxious because of the incessant digital interruptions and distractions, put that phone down for a while. Technology is a good servant, but a bad master.

Stop wishing you were someone else

We often believe the grass is greener on the other side, but that’s not always the case. So, stop imagining being someone else in 2020 and start looking at yourself to see the beauty and superior gifts you possess. You are unique like an individual snowflake, so enjoy every bit of what you are, how you look and what are you capable of. Don’t let the “not good enough” thought blackmail you. It is good to admire people for their accomplishments but living in an unrealistic world and spending time obsessing over things you don’t have is a complete waste of time. Someone’s going on a vacation, or has a new car, or bought a new house, fine. Congratulate them but don’t start comparing their lives to yours. You can’t love yourself if you focus on everything you aren’t rather than everything you are.

Change morning habits

Top 10 exercises to do at your desk

What do you do in the first 10 minutes after you wake up in the morning? Grab your smartphone, scroll through your social feeds, check work emails or your WhatsApp messages? If that’s what you have been doing as a morning ritual, you need to change that in 2020. Reading a stressful work email or a bad news story first thing in the morning can potentially damage your day, before it has even begun. Do you set your alarm earlier than needed just so you can hit the snooze button? Get rid of this “One more minute” habit you start your day with. It’s just delaying the day. Instead, keep your cell phone or alarm clock out of reach or maybe in another room, so that you have to get out of bed to stop it. The next thing to include in your morning routine is stretching, as it brings several health benefits like improved blood circulation, stress relief etc. The third habit you need to change is skipping breakfast. Make something the night before if you don’t have enough time to make breakfast in the morning. Avoid having coffee first thing in the morning and try developing the habit of drinking water instead. Consuming water on an empty stomach banishes headaches, improves digestion, boosts the immune system, relieves fatigue and flushes out toxins.

Look for solutions instead of problems

Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions! That’s what we expect from everyone around us but when it comes to ourselves we fail to practice what we preach. Especially at work. Raising concerns can be extremely beneficial for an organisation, but it depends how you do that. Do you frame your critiques as ideas for positive improvement or do you just complain? If you do the latter, you need to change that habit in the coming year. Bringing up issues and always looking for problem areas can make you less productive at work. It can hurt your job performance. Don’t focus too much on why a problem emerged but instead think about possible solutions. You will go a long way if you promise yourself to do that in the coming year.


Top 10 exercises to do at your desk

Volunteering is known for its feel-good benefits. Although the world has seen a surge in youth volunteering in the last couple of years, people at the other end of the age spectrum have also been contributing just as much, maybe even more. Volunteering in old age brings with it a sense of purpose, a feeling of contributing to the community and increased self-esteem. But like any good habit, volunteering is best acquired in the early years of your life. And volunteering doesn’t necessarily mean handing over money to someone sitting by the road or writing a big cheque to a non-profit organisation. Giving money is just one way of doing charity. If you don’t have money, you can always give your valuable time. Help your aged neighbour when he is having trouble lifting his heavy grocery bags, help someone by donating blood, or by giving them your old but wearable clothes. The most beautiful example of an informal voluntary activity is often seen during Christmas, when many families distribute free food to the poor and needy.

Stick to your New Year’s resolutions

Despite the fact that every year we make New Year’s resolutions, most of us soon find ourselves falling back into our old ways. So, the last resolution for 2020 is to stick to the resolutions we made on 1 January. The best way to bring about change is not to wait until 1January to start something new, start it now. Why wait until New Year’s Day to start? If you want to lose weight, or join a gym, or quit smoking, do it now. If we keep deferring, no doubt we’ll do the same when the calendar flips over to 2020. At least start making arrangements to accomplish your resolutions. For instance, if you have a New Year’s resolution to join a gym, inquire now about things like membership fee, available timings etc. If possible register your name and pay in advance, so that you can’t back out, even if you want to. Or you can use the “swear jar” method by paying your friends £1 every time you ditch your New Year’s resolution.

And, most importantly, talk to others about your goals. Ask your family and friends to speak up if you slip and order a pizza instead of having an apple or forget another goal on your resolution list. Make print out copies of your resolutions and put it up on your refrigerator or stick it to the wall behind your computer at work so that it catches your eye.