Do you make New Year resolutions? According to data, over a quarter of Brits make at least one at the beginning of the year. But maybe the more important question is “do you keep your new year resolutions”? According to Country Living magazine, the UK’s top 10 resolutions for 2022 are:
Eat healthier or change diet
Get fitter and take more exercise
Spend more time with family and friends.
Be more aware and take care of mental health
Sort out finances and cut back spending
Take up a new hobby, sport or other interest
Be more environmentally friendly
Look for a new job
Research shows that committing to a new habit or stopping an old one at the beginning of the year is more significant than doing it any other time. This temporal landmark helps us to start fresh with new conviction. Looking at the UK top 10 list of resolutions, it is no coincidence that many of these reflect a response to the excesses we may have indulged in during the Christmas season! It is also no coincidence that ‘blue Monday’, reportedly the most depressing day of the year, is about the time when for many of us, our good intentions on January 1st have fallen by the wayside.
So how can we get better at sticking to those new habits without the discouragement of failure?
Make your resolutions positive. Rather than commit to stopping something, determine to start something positive as an alternative to a negative habit. For example, if you’ve decided you want to spend less time on social media, commit to reading a book in that time instead. Keep a good book handy, maybe a daily devotional that you can dip into.
Make your resolutions realistic. If you decide you want to run 10km every day you might find you quickly give up. January weather and time restraints will soon make this very unappealing! Instead decide to get outside and be active for half an hour a day, incorporate this into your daily schedule so it’s not eating into extra time. That might mean walking to the shop instead of driving.
Think outside the box. Interestingly, according to this list, most Brits don’t give a hoot about their spiritual well being! We often talk about our mental, emotional and physical well being but neglect our souls, and yet this is foundational to our whole being. Are we looking in the wrong place for the change we need to make to upgrade our lives? Think about how you can start some good spiritual practices to connect with God daily.
Some alternative resolutions
We’ve come up with an alternative list which we think will cover many of the list above.
Eat a meal together as a family. Eating a meal together has been shown to boost mental health, strengthen family bonds and is more economical. Families who eat together also tend to eat more healthily.
Reduce your screen time! Social media increases anxiety and is isolating. Buy an alarm clock and charge your phone downstairs, read a good book instead and have screen-free times scheduled into your day.
Doing good does you good! Apart from the feel-good factor of helping others, you will be….well, helping others! Do this as a couple or as a family. There are so many ways you could do this, visiting a neighbour who is alone, help at a local food bank, set up a Gain collection point (link). You’ll do wonders for your mental and spiritual health as well as being more active and spending time with your family.
Do exercise together. Get an exercise dvd and move those bodies together. If space is a problem, go out on regular family walks or bike rides. Its much more fun doing this with someone. But, if you’d rather do this alone, go for a walk and use the time to pray or listen to a podcast to feed your soul.
Start your day with prayer. Maybe this is something you usually do but it’s so easy to get squeezed out in the busyness of life. But, if you give your day to the Lord you might be amazed at what a difference it makes. Here’s a simple prayer to get you started:
“Lord, help me today to live this day for you.
Remind me of your unconditional love.
Guide my conversations.
Give me love and grace towards all those I encounter.
Help me to see ways I can serve others and be a blessing to them.
Help me to forgive quickly.
Help me to be aware of my own failings and bring these before you in a timely manner.
Help me to bring the fragrance of Christ wherever I go and in whatever I do.
Keep my eyes fixed on you.”
If you would like to think more about your spiritual wellbeing, please do get in touch with us. At FamilyLife, we believe a relationship with Jesus Christ is the most transformative resolution we can make.