Did 2019 feel like your best year ever? Or, like many women, did it pass in a blur of commitments leaving you feeling that there are just not enough hours in the day? If so, look no further, ditch those stressful New Years resolutions and read on – because the BEST way to ensure you have a transformational 2020 is to make some small but impactful changes. Continual growth (and decline) is made by a series of small adjustments to our habits. Grandiose resolutions may sound impressive but they rarely result in the change desired – for most people they’re just too difficult to stick to.
1: Turn no into yes (and vice versa).
Start looking carefully at the invitations and requests you routinely accept and decline. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of thinking ‘that’s not something I would do’ or ‘I’ve always agreed to it in the past….’ Who we are and whom we become is the sum total of all the decisions and choices we make during our lives. It’s a great exercise to start questioning those choices and inviting change by shaking up our routine. One of the reasons that time appears to speed up as we age is that we generally have fewer new experiences. New experiences force the mind to pay attention rather than using ‘shortcuts’ in thinking. Remember those ‘endless summers’ of your youth? Reconnect with that feeling by accepting some invitations you might normally refuse and politely declining some requests that you always accept (but would really rather not). A simple ‘Thank you so much for asking but I’m afraid that doesn’t work for me / I’m not able to’ will suffice. Uncomfortable – maybe – but definitely worth it.
2. Be your own best friend
You know those mean words you say to yourself when you make a mistake or look in the mirror? Make it a rule NEVER to say anything to yourself to that you’d not be completely happy saying to a) your best friend or b) a child. Would you tell a small child ‘you are useless, ugly and fat’? No? Then why on earth would you say it to yourself? The most important words you will ever hear are the ones you say to yourself. Next time that mean little voice inside your head pipes up – thank it for its contribution but politely remind it that it’s neither helpful nor wanted.
3. Reconnect with simple pleasures
Make a list of all the things you wanted to try or liked doing when you were a kid. Always fancied having a go at horse riding? Loved painting? Give it a go. Make a commitment to spend at least one hour every fortnight doing something that you have always wanted to try. Mix it up – try different things out. It could be something simple like visiting a city you always wanted to see, having a go at roller skating, making a mosaic or even trying new food. The key is to continually try new things. Some you will love and some you won’t but you’ll never know if you don’t have a go. A life full of enjoyment is a rich life. Stop waiting for the time to be right and start doing things now.
4. Prioritise sleep.
Most people need between 7-9 hours good quality sleep to function effectively. Although no doubt you can survive on far less, you won’t be able to really THRIVE. Sleep researchers have discovered an indisputable link between good quality sleep and overall happiness. So do yourself a favour and start practising a healthy sleep routine. Allow yourself adequate time to wind down after work (and no – a glass of wine does not count as a healthy way to wind down!) Stop using all electric devices at least 90 minutes before bedtime (and that includes the television) Go to bed and get up at the same time every day and keep your bedroom cool and dark.
5: Slash your ‘to do’ list
When you make a list of things you need to do in a day – either at home or at work – calculate realistically what you can achieve in the time available by working out how long each task will take, and then dump the least important 40% – yep – you read that right. Dump 40% from the list. You’ll feel successful and energised if you complete everything on your ‘to-do list’ rather than feeling like there’s never enough time in the day. Give yourself some breathing space and don’t be tempted to pile on extra tasks if you finish a little early.
Incorporating these small shifts in thinking into your day-to-day life will create powerful change. So here’s to 2020 – your transformational year!