I’ve been thinking a lot lately (as you do at the close of the year) about my last year’s resolutions and how they went. Instead of making typical resolutions like the popular “lose weight” or “earn more money”, I chose to pick 29 small reminders to be happier that year. Some of them were sensible, others a little silly (like eat cereal for dinner if you want to), but all of them were important little reminders to make better choices in that year. So for this year I’m narrowing it down to 12 simple ways to be happier in the New Year – all of which I believe will help us worry less about those things that do not matter at all and subsequently spend all of our energies on the things that do matter: loved ones, seeing the world, being successful in your own interpretation of the word and being happy in your own interpretation of the word.
1. Spring out of bed each morning
One thing I will not be doing in 2016 is spending any more time than necessary in bed. The important message here is to always get a good night of rest and keep a good system going, but never spend too long getting up in the morning – CARPE DIEM!
2. Eat like a king for breakfast
This year I ate like a king for breakfast and started eating less during the day (usually snacks throughout the day and skipping a set lunch), followed by a light dinner around 7pm so that I had digested before bed in the evenings. This has helped me to be more productive throughout the day and nourish my body instead of worrying about every little thing I put into my mouth. I found that I was less hungry throughout the day anyway, so I was less likely to crave bad food.
3. Walk whenever you can (with a beat-driven soundtrack)
There’s walking and then there’s walking like you own it. Time by yourself should be enjoyed, not feared… so this coming year I pledge to spend more time walking everywhere to have that alone time where I can escape into my headphones and switch the world off, even if its only for a half hour each time.
4. Eliminate toxic people from your life
Every year (or most of us more often) we tend to go through our belongings and throw out all of the things that no longer serve a purpose to us. I think its also important to have a “clean out” of the people we surround ourselves and just ask ourselves “are they still a good friend?” or “do I get as much as I give from this friendship?”. Even if you’re just taking a break from someone, it is more important to spend all of your time and energy in a few people who are genuine, lifelong friends than to spend all your energy so sparsely that you don’t have people you could rely on no matter what. That’s my logic anyway!
5. Listen to your heart & your head
Someone once told me: “Brooke you need to listen to your head instead of your heart” in reference to a break up. Looking back she was probably right, but I think what is even more correct is to listen to both and consider what it is prompting you to make a decision: are you acting on impulse (heart) or are you overthinking it (head)? Consider why you’re feeling the way you are and make a rational decision that considers both. They’re both important in the long run!
6. Accept yourself (& own it)
One thing I can say for certain is that the last couple of years have been incredibly refreshing in terms of self acceptance. As a confused teenager who never really saw where she fit in, these last couple of years travelling the world solo have taught me that the only way to figure out who you are is to spend time with yourself, accept yourself, and be proud of who you are – quirks and all!
7. Stop skipping meals
One thing I struggle with travelling so much is consistency. If you have a similar trait whereby you often skip a meal, lets try and combat that together. It is always best to nourish your body and give it what it needs, when it needs it… you’d be surprised how much more productive you are when you are treating your body right! On that note, I pledge to drink more water in 2016.
8. Make each day count
Just. Fricken. DO. IT. It was a couple of years ago that I sky dived, a year ago that I bungy jumped and a few weeks ago that I swam with a crocodile. ALL OF THESE THINGS TERRIFY ME. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from travel it is the more we push ourselves, the more we realise the only boundaries we have are the ones we set for ourselves.
9. Work Hard, Play Hard
Spend more time with friends. Have a glass of wine on occasion. Make a day trip to the beach. Dance the night away. The calculation is simple: work hard, play hard. You’ve gotta earn it to enjoy it.
10. Be selfless
It is good to spend time with yourself but it is also good to spend time with others. A helping hand can often make someone’s day – be that a neighbour, family member, or a stranger on the street. Always give more than you receive. My favourite quote of all time by J.K. Rowling: “If you want to see the true measure of a man, watch how he treats his inferiors, not his equals”.
11. Talk yourself through it
I’m still unsure why talking to yourself is frowned upon. Quite personally, I love it. Sometimes you’ve just gotta talk yourself through it (out loud), take a few deep breaths and get over it. Is it really worth wasting your energy over anyway?
12. Dance like no one is watching
In the mirror, in the street, in your knickers… just dance because it feels – so – good.