How to keep new year’s resolutions

I’ve always loved writing a list of new year’s resolutions. The slightly less enjoyable part is loyally carrying them out on each day of the following year. Nevertheless, I subconsciously view them as yet another opportunity to fuel my self-growth addiction and faithfully composed a list of things to improve upon.There’s little a writer loves more than producing a meaningful document so even lists appear like a chance to use your noggin creatively. If the contents of that list intimidates or bores you however, you can kiss your future productivity a tearful goodbye.

Only 7% of people keep their new year’s resolutions until the end of the year.

I am not in that 7%. My sister falls firmly within that bracket for 2014, but that’s another story of Capricorn determination she can relay to you. The other 93% of us fail to adhere to our noble list of good intentions because we’re often trying to deprive ourselves when we should be adding value to our lives. In light of the above statistic, I’ve decided to take an abstract approach to resolutions for 2015. I devised a brainstorm so my resolutions appear less like obligations and more like a contract of emotional commitments. On an average day our thoughts are dominated by work and social commitments, so why heighten our stress levels with a list of “don’t”s when we can simply gain more by promising we will strive to do? It’s ludicrously simple and rails against our adult assumption of huge responsibility, yet some good life advice is to think of a way to make your life easier and then do it. Originally I read that sentence in a chapter of Gala Darling’s Radical Self Love e-book but I think it encapsulates the technique of setting achievable new year’s resolutions perfectly.

Resolutions should not be punishments

A resolution shouldn’t equate to an act of self-deprivation. Instead it’s comparatively similar to setting goals so you have a grasp on the bigger picture and your personal aspirations. By mindfully jotting down my aims for 2015, I reminded myself of my over-arching ambitions. You’ve probably been working towards something anyway – whether that’s a tangible goal like learning how to play pool or accepting that feelings aren’t facts, and this is your chance to maximise the scale of your everyday to-do list. I encourage you to write your 2015 aims down on a piece of paper or type up somethin’ pretty and print off the page. That way, you can keep the list somewhere safe and visible to you at all times. It’s important to treat the list like a possession beyond another rambling word document (or blog post!). Sticking the list on a wall in your home or office ensures you’re reminded of the promises you’re making to yourself and increases your chance of success!

Despite the advocacy of a materialistic approach, I urge you to refrain from envisioning a 2015 filled with banality. Everyday things are necessary and shouldn’t be avoided: sure, but there is so much more you can achieve in life too! If your list of changes are mundanely practical or relatively inconsequential, you won’t feel inspired to act. Contrarily, if you give yourself a list of mammoth demands that mismatch with your personality type, fiscal resources or lifestyle, you are also setting yourself up for a fall. The method illustrated above this post attempts to find a happy medium between soul-exposing generalisations and routine tasks.

Hopefully the spontaneity of the mindful timer test has produced attainable resolutions. In fact, while I was writing I recall discarding several ideas because the time limit forced me to emotionally connect with these aims and my list was consequently more inspirational for me. Sometimes we allow ourselves to think from a social perspective and imagine what we should resolve to change, but success can only come from a concerted effort. I also think the foreboding time limit could easily become a metaphor for life but unfortunately I’ve graduated from University now so won’t provide that analogy for you. I’m sure you don’t mind.

In summary, my filtered spider diagram of resolutions doesn’t feel like a list of burgeoning demands and that’s precisely why I think I’ll want to keep my resolutions, rather than feeling like I have to. Good luck with yours!

Happy 2015 everyone. 

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How to shop for Christmas presents on a budget, last-minute!

Today I hurriedly hunted for gifts on the busiest shopping day of the year (UK-wise, the Saturday before Xmas) before meticulously wrapping each purchase to feign advanced preparation.

Last minute shopper like me? Keep reading…


HOW TO SHOP FOR CHRISTMAS PRESENTS ON A BUDGET, LAST-MINUTE

1. Shop alone: I’m an Aries. I walk fast, talk fast and do everything with purpose; shopping included. While others see shopping as a social activity, I see it as a necessity so will only attend with friends upon the promise of free lunch. More importantly, if I need to buy specific items (eg: presents) I make like Jason Derulo and fly solo. It’s not as much fun but your chances of focusing on your objective are higher when your alternative is facing a fruitlessly empty-handed walk home. Alone.

 2. Preparation is key: Buying presents for people is hard; it requires thought and carries expectation. That’s why I advise you to think of the category you’re seeking to purchase from (beauty, home decorations etc) and a £10/£20 price limit. Most people have materialistic preferences, i.e I’m a sucker for merchandising, while my sister prefers practical gifts. Analyse this area before you set off and where you’re likely to find certain items.

3. Don’t rely on impulse buys: It may be tempting to think “I’ll decide once I’m there” but I’m here to administer some tough love. A) that won’t happen and B) you’ll probably regret whatever you buy. Why? Because you haven’t had time to convince yourself it’s the ‘right gift’ and besides, you’re more likely to buy what you want and not what they want. This is a common predicament that most of us have experienced first-hand. In-store, we’re bombarded with different choices for the same product in terms of colour, design, style etc. so you have to deliberately steer away from your personal preference in favour of what’s most suited to the person you’re buying for.

4. Plan your shop route before heading out: Try to stick to a particular shopping centre if possible, especially given the fact you’ll be in a hurry to get it over with! Integrally: go in, source the items, pay for them and only then can you browse for pleasure.

5. Treat yo’ self: I have heard the refrain “I really like it but I’m not here to buy for me!” on too many occasions. If you’ve stayed within your budget and aren’t below the poverty line, you can afford to buy some gifts for yourself. You’ll have to part with your hard-earned cash eventually so throw some materialism into the self-loving mix. After all, it’s Christmas.

xmas