Some of us might have kickstarted our New Year’s resolutions on 1 January. Others of us might still be considering what it is we want to achieve once we’ve taken down the decorations, finished all the Christmas chocolate, and packed the kids back to school. Either way, as we hit the second week of January, a burst of motivation is in order to keep things on track or just get things moving.
At HuffPost UK, we’ve been taking inspiration from the people who adopted some of the most popular new year goals – committing to running, cutting out booze, adopting a recycling habit and more – and came out winners. People who have been there, done that, and changed their lives.
Here’s what we can learn from their experience.
1. Cut Down Your Plastic Usage
Plastic is now so prolific that according to one scientist, earth is now in the “plastic age”. Emma Ross, a London-based mum-of-two, pledged to massively cut down her use of plastic in 2018. She already had her reusable coffee cup, water bottle, and canvas bag, but wanted to take it further. So Ross pledged to remove all milk bottles, single-use sanitary wear, plastic-packaged food, endless bottles of shower gel, shampoo and conditioner.
2. Run A Mile A Day
Lots of us know that doing more exercise would help us physically and mentally – but come February, it’s the same story as packed gym sessions start to thin out, and we lose the motivation to commit to regular sessions. So why not take Gillian Henry’s advice and make your exercise goal more achievable while still being a challenge? Gillian, a psychiatric nurse from Carlisle, Cumbria, ran a mile every day of 2018, getting fit, while also raising money for mental health charity Mind.
3. Learn To Spend Time Alone
Seeking solitude can be healthy – to think, be creative, and develop self confidence. In January 2018, Lauren Wilden, 27, was six months pregnant and her maternity leave was creeping up. She wanted to learn to love spending time alone before her baby arrived as she knew she wouldn’t be able to go out as much, and her partner would be going back to work. In just three months she went from hating being alone to learning to love her own company.
4. Cut Down On Booze
People stop drinking alcohol for a multitude of reasons – physical health, mental health, and financial savings. Taking part in Dry January may be one goal, but why not extend it throughout the year? Dan Burns, 21 from Northumberland, did this in 2018 – he quit alcohol because he was struggling with his mental health. And while he fell off the wagon a small handful of times, the vast majority of his 2018 was booze free.
5. Cut Down On Sugar
We’re eating way more of the sweet stuff that we realise: statistics show that adults in the UK are consuming nearly three times our recommended daily sugar allowance. That’s not good for our bodies – or our teeth. It was some pretty big dental bills that convinced Deborah Millington, 41, from London, that she needed to give up her daily bottle of coke. And in 2018, she managed it.
6. Plan A Dream Holiday
Not all resolutions have to be about cutting things out or pushing yourself harder – you can also plan something you’ve always wanted to do, like a dream holiday. Olivia Tripp, 23, embarked on something pretty special last year: a five-week escape across America, Canada, and Cuba, that she booked in January, and then looked forward to for nine months. Usefully, she also had that time to plan, save, and book accommodation.
7. Buy Less Stuff
She hasn’t achieved it yet, but HuffPost UK parenting reporter Victoria Richards seems pretty committed to tackling consumerism in 2019. Lots of us are thinking along the same lines: how much do you buy for the sake of buying – to get that buzz of a new purchase, that only fades away a few hours later? Victoria, who has a thrifty approach to purchases for herself already, has vowed to not buy anything new for her kids this year. Don’t worry, they will get to play? Instead she’s intending to go to mobile toy libraries and do toy swaps throughout the year.