Good morning everyone and happy January 1st! As I’ve mentioned before on my blog and numerous times on Twitter, I am so in love with this time of the year. It’s full of hope and positivity and motivation. The New Year represents a time when you can re-evalutate your life and really think about the direction in which you’re moving, and whether or not you like it. You can make so many plans and goals and ultimately, at some point in the year life will just take over until the next New Year’s Eve. And the best part, is that you get this new beginning every single year.
This year, it could not be a more perfect time for change, or a fresh start. It’s the first day of the week (Monday), the first day of the month (January), and the first day of a brand new year (2018). How often have we told ourselves “I’ll start on Monday”??
To be clear, and slightly paradoxically, I do actually disagree with the statement so often thrown around at the New Year, that being “new year, new me!” I am so against this phrase because it insinuates that in order to make changes in your life, you need to change everything about yourself. That you as you are isn’t good enough. And who wants to believe that?! Being authentically you is so important in this life, because no one wants millions of the same person walking around. Following the crowd just turns you into a sheep, and blending into life isn’t really living. You can still be you, while changing things about yourself. Do I make sense right now?
For example, when I started taking care of my health, going vegan, when I started singing, when I started blogging, when I did ANYTHING, I wasn’t changing who I was. I’m not “new” because of these things. I am enhanced. I am growing. I am evolving. If a Pokemon has just jumped into your head when I said ‘evolving’, you’re not alone. But it’s true! Making changes is only enhancing the person you are and helping you to grow.
Having said all of this, I have put together a list of 18 things we can all do this 2018 to make the year really great.
1. Be a tourist in your home city.
Why is it that whenever we visit new cities around the world, we become engrossed in the history, the culture, and everything the city has to offer us? And yet, most of us have barely explored our own area. It wasn’t until last year that I started to visit all of the beautiful art galleries Dublin has to offer and it’s really inspired me to be more of a tourist in Ireland and see more of my home country.
2. Make time to be creative.
Remember when you were a child and were just creative all the time for no particular reason? That creativity inspires so much motivation and drive and really helps you to express yourself. Make it a goal in 2018 to start being more creative. This could be anything from picking up an adult colouring book, actually taking up painting or art classes, learning a new instrument or improving your skills with a current one, going to a dance class, start baking!
3. Declutter your space and your life.
Decluttering is something that helped me immensely this years in so many ways. And no, I’m not only talking about physically decluttering! Mentally decluttering is something I believe we should do as often as possible, and I try to do it at least four times a year. Decluttering physically and moving towards a more minimalist approach to life just simplifies everything and makes you so much more grateful for the things you do have. Plus you end up with a lot more space! Mentally decluttering is something I learned from Sarah Knight’s best-selling book The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck*. I would highly recommend it to anyone!
4. Make healthier choices.
I wanted to include something about health in here, because I do believe that we all have a duty to ourselves to strive to be as healthy as we can be. I’ve learned that there are people who would kill to have a healthy body and mind (and I can relate to this myself), so taking yours for granted just doesn’t seem right. I’m not saying that we all have to turn into health nuts and gym bunnies (unless you want to!), but healthier choices are things that are within all of our grasps. Swapping crips and chocolate for fruit and popcorn. Drink more water. Start going on a daily walk. Get a personal trainer. Start swimming. Learn how to make healthier meals. Swap takeouts for homemade comfort food made from healthy ingredients (totally can be done, and I will absolutely share my favourite recipes this year on the blog!). You don’t have to make every single choice a healthy one, but making more will improve your quality of life and make you a happier and healthier person. Balance is key to everything, and you should never restrict yourself.
5. Meditate and learn to raise your vibration.
Meditation is one of the healthiest habits you can take up for your mental wellbeing. It helps to slow down your thoughts and (as Buddhists call it) your ‘monkey mind’. It helps you to stay calm and process your emotions better, as well as creating a new awareness and contentment within you. Another thing meditation does, is that is raises your vibration. I will be going into further details on this in upcoming blog posts, but when you raise your vibration you are becoming happier, improving your mood, and opening yourself up for the Universe to bring great things into your life.
6. Be nicer to animals.
The level of animal cruelty in this world is truly baffling. I’m not here to push my opinions on you in this post, but what I will say, is find how you can help. Vegetarianism and veganism aren’t the only ways. Be kinder to the animals you meet along your life. If you want a pet, consider if you can adopt one from a shelter instead of buying from a breeder. Don’t contribute to polluting natural environments like our oceans and forests. Go pescatarian? Stop wearing fur. Stop buying leather. Only buy cruelty-free products that haven’t been tested on animals. Even if you just do one thing I’ve listed here, you are helping! So thank you.
7. Establish what your core values are.
Figure out what you stand for. This could be politically, but not necessarily. What do you value in a friend? In a relationship? What do you expect from people? What kind of person do you want to be? Do you value integrity? Honesty? Loyalty? Establishing what your core values are will help you find like minded people and also stop you from settling.
8. Practice gratitude.
Keep a gratitude journal and every morning or night write down ten things you’re grateful for. Gratitude will change your mindset and the way you see the world. Ultimately it will lead you to notice the good things in life more and more and not pay attention to the negative, which of course makes you happier.
9. Find a cause you’re passionate about.
One of the most fulfilling things in life is helping other people, or the planet. Finding a cause that you are passionate about can provide you with such a sense of purpose. Whether this be helping at a food bank, taking care of animals in a shelter, running the marathon for a charity close to your heart, fundraising for a cause you believe in. Feeling like you’re contributing to the causes that need it is one of the best things I’ve ever experienced and I plan on doing it a lot more in my life.
10. Establish a routine.
Making a routine that works for you can really help your mental state. There are always going to be exceptions to the rule, but having a set time you wake up at and a morning routine can really help you be happier and start your day off well. Even if this routine is a herbal tea and workout before leaving for work, having a routine in place can make you feel more grounded.
11. Challenge yourself!
Make sure you do something that challenges you this year! Completing it can give you a real sense of accomplishment and boost your self esteem. This can be anything from a fitness challenge like an endurance course, or a reading challenge to complete by the end of the year, it could even be that you challenge yourself to try at least one new meal every single week. Whatever it is, go at it with full force and you will be so proud of yourself when you’ve completed it.
12. Read more diversely.
Reading is one of my most favourite things to do. But something I think we all need to do is read more diversely. Try a different genre. If you only read romance books, try reading a historical fiction or a fantasy book. Read books by authors from a different ethnic background to you. Read about people who lead different lives to you in different professions.
13. Be more mindful in your day-to-day living.
Work on being more mindful in your life. Take more care with the things you do and don’t let your thoughts run away on tangents or anxieties that are not real. Be really present in the moment.
14. Educate yourself on other religions.
The only way to introduce tolerance and acceptance, is to educate yourself yourself on other religions. To banish hate and prejudice, education is the way forward. You cannot fear what you understand.
15. Cross off something that’s been on your bucket list for years.
Why do we say “I’ll do that someday” as if the future is guaranteed? As if we are guaranteed a tomorrow, or guaranteed our bodies will be healthy forever? This year, do something that you have always wanted to do, but have put it off for the future. Go skydiving. Visit New Zealand. Run a 10k. Join a dance class. Take singing lessons. Write a book. Do something you have always wanted to.
16. Learn how to practice self-care and actually do it.
Self-care is so essential for people these days. We live in a world where we are constantly plugged in, connected to the world and glorify being busy. Self care will help you to take the much needed time for your mental and physical health, as well as sheer enjoyment. Taking care of yourself is not a luxury, but an absolute necessity. When you figure out what kind of self-care works for you, do make sure you actually practice it.
17. Help the planet.
Find small ways you can help our beautiful planet. You can do this in even the tiniest of ways. Switch to a bio-degradable wooden toothbrush, as the others don’t decompose for thousands of years and can pollute our waters and kill wildlife. Use less water by turning off the tap between using it and by taking showers instead of baths. There will be lots of blog posts coming soon about ways to help the planet.
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