There are two kinds of people: those who don’t bother to make New Year resolutions because they know they’ll break them, and those who, every year without fail, do make resolutions… and end up breaking them! (Actually, there is a third kind – the less-than-ten-percent who do actually follow through on their promises to themselves, but they’re a very rare breed!) So, which are you? Do you know how to keep resolutions?
I used to make resolutions up until a few years ago, when I realised it was a waste of time, and really, I had little intention of actually keeping them. I just did it to feel virtuous after all the Christmas excess! Now I prefer to set myself goals, as they’re actually measurable. Plus, if it’s not called a ‘resolution’, I might actually convince myself to stick at it!
But, if you are one who likes to make resolutions, but also one who is absolutely rubbish at sticking to them, here are some ways you can give yourself a helping hand and at least make it to February before giving up!
Diet and Fitness
If your resolution involves eating more healthily, losing weight, getting fit or going to the gym, here are a few things to try to stay motivated…
PLAN!! That old saying, ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’ isn’t just nonsense. It’s well-known that writing down what you want to achieve gives you a much better chance of actually achieving it! In the case of eating better, a meal plan will help you in a few ways: If you plan a week at a time, you’re more likely to stick to those meals, especially as you know exactly what you’ll need to make those meals and only buy accordingly. Are donuts on the plan? No, so don’t put them in your trolley! A meal plan will also save you money, as you won’t buy excess food that will go to waste (or spend a fortune on donuts).
To get a FREE blank meal planner to print, fill in your details here to join my School Runs Shopping List!
Buddy up! Everything is more fun with a friend, isn’t it? (Except, perhaps, going to the loo – unless you’re drunk in a nightclub…). And, the chances of you sticking to your diet or exercise plan if you have a friend doing the same, are much, much greater. To have someone to be accountable to gives you the push you need, and a little healthy competition doesn’t hurt either! Having a buddy to go walking with, or to go to your diet club with each week makes it much more fun!
Drink water. Water’s ace. It hydrates you, fills you up, makes your skin nice and clear, stops you having headaches… What’s not to love? Drink more of it and you’ll feel better. Feel better and you’re more likely to stick to your goal. Job’s a good ‘un.
I wonder how many people, come January, decide that enough is enough and they want a tidy home, rather than a toy shop with a sofa and TV? And how many, come February, are still living in a toy shop with a sofa and TV? The Christmas purge is an ideal time to have a re-jig of the house, the furniture, the storage, and it’s nice to start the new year off with a sense of cleanliness and clarity. But, it can be so hard to maintain those good habits unless we put some proper processes into place.
If you really want to get on top of your decluttering, you could try following Marie Kondo’s ‘KonMari’ method, as detailed in her book ‘The Life-Changing Art of Tidying‘, available from Amazon (affiliate link). It’s a little too prescriptive for me, but I know people who swear by it.
Once you have cleared the clutter and you’re happy with how tidy things are, make sure you keep it that way by having a box, basket or bag somewhere handy. At the end of each day, put everything in that isn’t in its right place. You can do this once the kids have gone to bed if it’s easier, but letting them help, making a game out of it will teach them good habits, so you might want to try it before bedtime. Give each child a pile of objects and they have to race to put them all back in their correct places. You can do this at a more leisurely pace if you’re doing it later on, once they’re in bed. Or race with your other half – whatever floats your boat…!
Check out my Hump Day House Blitz series for some ideas and checklists for cleaning, plus tips to keep on top of it once you’ve done the initial blitz.
Spend Less, Save More
We’d all like a little more in the savings account for a rainy day, right? Loads of people start the new year with good intentions of spending less so that they can save more. And then fall back into their old habits and finish the year putting Christmas on the credit card… I’ve already mentioned how meal planning can help to save you money, but here are a couple more ideas to help you cut down on spending and start saving!
Use vouchers and codes. I rarely (if ever) buy anything online without first checking to see if there’s a voucher code that I can use to get at least a little discount. There are a bajillion sites offering such codes, but I now use Pouch, which is a nifty little browser extension that takes out all the hard work, and pops up at the checkout to let me know if there are any codes I can use. I also check for vouchers I can use in the real world, for example, when I’m going out to eat or shop; Vouchercloud is good for this.
I have the Kids Pass app on my phone which gives me discounts and offers on loads of family days out, attractions, and restaurants which can really mean the savings add up if you’re trying to find ways to keep the kids busy during school holidays! You can sign up for a 30 day trial for £1, but it does cost if you go on to keep the pass.
Set up a standing order. If you’re serious about saving, set up a standing order to be paid into your savings account. If it’s automatic, you can just forget about it. Set it to go out on payday, and you’ll never notice it was even there. If you find you’re beginning to save money here and there, increase the standing order amount. By the end of the year, or your holiday, or whatever you’re saving for, you’ll have grown a nice little amount!
More Quality Time With the Family
So many parents promise themselves and their family that they’ll do less of the boring adulting and more of the fun family stuff. And then life happens, and the housework needs doing, the uniforms need ironing, the shopping has to be bought, meals cooked, and so on… blah. Particularly for working parents, there isn’t an awful lot of time to do the fun family stuff, so we really have to make a conscious effort. Here are a couple of ideas…
Activities jar. Write lots of different, fun things to do on pieces of paper and pop them in a jar. Each weekend, take it in turns to pull one piece of paper from the jar, and go with it! It could be watching a film together, going to a park, going swimming, making cakes… Anything is possible! Just make whatever you do quality time and really enjoy being in each other’s company.
Tech-free Tuesdays (or whatever day you want, I just liked the alliteration!). Choose at least one day per week where nobody is allowed to access tech of any sort (unless for homework). No phones, no computers, no tablets, no consoles… Make this a time to talk to each other. Sit and eat together. It’s up to you whether you include TV in the ‘tech’ category, as watching something together can be nice to do too.
Grow your board game collection. When I was a kid, we’d play board games as a family on a regular basis. These days, it happens less and less, thanks to the availability of tech (see above!). But, maybe it’s worth trying to make time to play games together again. Why not update your collection by buying one new family gam