Yes, as soon as the merriment is over you are suddenly made to feel that you overindulged and that you need to make an improvement on your life to compensate for all the wrongdoing (fun). Whether you brand it ’new year, new me’ or a small change for 2015, here are some useful examples of New Year’s Resolutions you can keep that I have tried over 2014.
- January Staying Dry for January
Challenge – The original intention, much like the rest of the country, was to go through January without drinking alcohol. This would help my health, my bank balance and help me focus on what was important in 2014.
Outcome – It was a lot tougher than anticipated, but showed that you don’t need alcohol to have a good time. Its important to keep going out and not let sobriety stop you having fun otherwise youll regret the decision for the wrong reasons.
Conclusion Good idea in principle, and not as difficult as some imagine, but I would recommend this to anyone that hasnt given up alcohol before for a sustained period as the more difficult you find it the more you needed it.
- February Only using cash for all transactions
Challenge – After going a month without drinking and on the assumption I saved a lot of money, I looked at my bank statement and realised how much I spent on rubbish. Having enjoyed the challenge of January I decided to go for another one, which was to only spend cash for the month.
Outcome This is not alien to many people, as cards are relatively new invention. I saved a lot of money and every transaction was much more considered. If you are not great with money I would highly recommend.
Conclusion Probably my favourite challenge but it took organisation and would not be as feasible if you don’t live near cash machines, as I heavily relied on them.
- March No mobile internet for a month
Challenge By the end of February I had decided I was going to try and complete 1 challenge per month for the entire year. I decided that this month would be a tough one and I was going to give up mobile internet. I had found myself using my phone too much, looking at social media even when I was in a social situation, so decided to see what life would be like without it.
Outcome During the month I found that I noticed other people glued to their phones when there was lots going on and other things to do. However I missed a lot of messages from friends which were only available on mobile and this was annoying.
Conclusion A nice idea, but in the end the cons outweigh the pros and I wouldn’t recommend this resolution.
- April Getting up at 7am every day
Challenge I hope so far that I don’t come across as an alcoholic, spendaholic who never leaves his phone, these are just challenges. I’m not lazy either, but in April I decided to get up at 7 every morning. Having never been a morning person, I found that I could be much more productive particularly at the weekend.
Outcome This resolution was easier than first imagined and I found it very useful. I stuck to it even if I had a late night and found it made me more conscious of bed time as I need my 8 hours.
Conclusion As with many of these challenges, you know whether it would be good, and whether youd be able to stick to it. It is something I have tried to keep up, but the snooze button is still a good friend of mine.
- May Shopping for products locally
Challenge With a family full of farmers and living in an area that boasts an independent butchers, fish mongers and fruit and veg shops, eating from locally sourced independent shops is something I strive to do, and in May it was the only thing I did.
Outcome I avoided all supermarkets and made my own lunch most days. I bought bigger cuts of meat that would last me and be more cost efficient.
Conclusion This was tougher than I imagined, and more expensive. As I was shopping locally, I tended to go for different shops for different items and ended up shopping per meal rather than per week. However, I ate much healthier and really enjoyed speaking to the shopkeepers on a regular basis.
- June Learning a language (Spanish)
Challenge In June I decided to embark on something that would be of certain benefit and something I have wanted to do for a while. One day I plan on travelling around South America for a few months and learning Spanish is a key element for that. I had weekly lessons with a Spaniard and planned to do homework in-between sessions.
Outcome The lessons were good, but as they were after work I was usually tired and as the tutor came to my flat, I was often ready to unwind rather than do more learning. I also struggled to revise between lessons, which made further lessons more like the recaps I should have done myself
Conclusion This challenge needs self-discipline and commitment, neither of which I had at 6.30 on a Monday evening.
- July Write a diary of events
Challenge This was not a dear diary, and if anyone was reading it hoping for the latest scoop or office gossip they would have been left unsatisfied. This was a small initiative to write what I had done by every lunchtime and before leaving work so that I was on top of all my projects.
Outcome I have never been disorganised, however despite being time consuming this was very good and I always felt confident that I was up to speed on all my work and that nothing was ever forgotten.
Conclusion I would recommend this to anyone that manages a large workload, whether it is university projects or in full time work.
- August Running a mile everyday
Challenge – I think this is one of the more popular ones and I probably don’t need to go into the ‘why’, but starting preseason football training and getting lapped by the goalkeeper was certainly enough of an incentive
Outcome I ran 1 mile every morning, except for Saturdays when I had football. Contrary to common sense, getting up earlier and using energy running, I actually felt more awake at work and lost a stone in the month, which I had not expected.
Conclusion Unlike some others, this one I did carry on (until it started getting cold!!!) and I think it is more enjoyable than people give it credit for. The app mapmyrun (pictured above) was very useful in tracking times and routes, and also has a feature where you can race other people who have run near you using their routes.
- October Learning to touch type
Challenge This is something I am very conscious of. Having not really used a computer, apart from obligatory school and university, I found upon entering offices that I was relatively slow and to speed up I would probably have to stop relying entirely on my index fingers.
Outcome I used the website typingclub.com which is free and has many tutorials around different keys and takes some practise.
Conclusion I am very happy about this one, and although I still fight the urge to type with 2 fingers I am getting there and hope that I will get faster with time. The site was also a god one although I am sure there are others that would be equally useful.
- November Read a book a week
Challenge If there is one thing slower than my typing, it is my reading. I have always had dyslexia and can easily be put off reading a good book when faced with these difficulties; therefore decided to make it a challenge that I couldn’t avoid. I had to read a book a week during November.
Outcome I did manage it, and although I didn’t read War and Peace, the books I read were very enjoyable, my favourite was probably The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared. I wont review it but you can have a look on Amazon.
Conclusion This is another resolution which I have kept up, and now I have a few books under my belt Im not afraid to chuck a book I dont like. If you find this a little daunting start with an autobiography of someone you admire, they are easy to follow and can be very interesting.
- December Seeing everyone in my family
Challenge This one probably has varying degrees of difficulty depending on your family. Luckily, all of mine reside in the UK and don’t live in the Outer Hebrides. This was made considerably easier when 2 Christmas dinners were organised and left me with very few trips outside of my original remit.
Outcome Managed to see everyone, except for a cousin who missed the Christmas dinner to stay with their in-laws.
Conclusion Probably a bit of a cheat to do this at Christmas, and there is never a bad time to make the effort with family and it was something I really wanted to do. And it was a great way to finish the year.
If you were one of the clever ones who realised that I missed September, that is because I did. I had decided to try going veggie for a month, but I accidentally ate a chicken sandwich on the first day and then thought better of the challenge. I also planned on getting engaged, which had a very positive outcome so that was nice.
I really enjoyed my challenges and I hope it inspires you to try something a little different in 2015 We’d also be keen to hear resolutions you’ve tried or are going to try, so let us know on our Facebook or Twitter pages. Maybe next years resolution blog will be written by you?
Happy New Year!