January: a lovely, clean, new page. This is the chance to be the better, sexier, wiser, more popular version of yourself that you always knew existed somewhere inside, ready to be coaxed out into the open. In pursuit of this shiny new self, huge swathes of the country are busy scrawling lists of new year’s resolutions.
Here at Red Letter Days we’ve resolved to #LiveaLittle instead. A couple of years ago we urged everybody to Say No to Your New Year Resolution by doing rather than quitting, and this year we’re standing firm. Life’s too short to deprive ourselves. That said, much like a litter of puppies, some of us respond best to reward and others to strict discipline. We take our hats off to anybody who has set goals. It’s no easy feat to stick to them beyond the first few days, when the initial wave of optimism starts to wane. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of the 10 most popular new year’s resolutions and some tips for safeguarding against failure. You can do it.
1. Lose weight
After the gluttony of Christmas, it’s no surprise that losing weight is the most frequently forged resolution. It doesn’t help that the unfinished family tub of Quality Street is sitting on your sofa, calling your name along with all the other festive leftovers. Lock them in a cupboard, give them away or chuck ’em out.
The key to sticking to your weight loss goal is to avoid weighing yourself too often. Everybody fluctuates throughout the day and it’s easy to become demotivated if the scales don’t show you what you want to see. Rely instead on your old clothes. Every couple of weeks, try on an outfit that’s usually a bit snug and see it gradually loosen.
2. Get organised
As much as we’d all like to hire a PA to sort out our personal lives, it’s an extravagance few can justify. Nobody is going to start that novel or finish that tax return but you. Get into the right mindset and it’ll fall into place. Start by cleaning your desk and workspace. Buy a calendar, preferably a great big wall calendar that you can scribble all over. Tick tasks off as you go. And don’t forget to reward yourself when you complete your weekly task list.
3. Spend less, save more
Christmas and New Year’s Eve hit the coffers pretty hard. If you’re not skint in January, you didn’t party properly. Helpfully, Martin Lewis of Money Saving Expert has created a Budget Planner to help savers fill up the piggy bank. This is a very achievable resolution. Don’t catch the bus when you could walk, don’t buy a sandwich when you could make your own and, above all, say no to temptation.
4. Enjoy life to the fullest
This is what the team at Red Letter Days does better than anything else. We are the experts of living it up, if we do say so ourselves. Drive a supercar, take to the skies in a hot air balloon, get pampered all day at a spa and get merry at a wine tasting tour. This resolution is all about spoiling yourself… because why on Earth not and we currently have the best January Sale in town!
5. Stay fit and healthy
The fitness industry loves this resolution. Gyms are packed to the rafters in January with a steep drop in attendance by February. Queuing for the ice cream van is acceptable; queuing for a treadmill is depressing. Don’t make like the sheeple who sign up at the start of the year; wait until February if you must join a gym. Until then, YouTube offers a wealth of instructional fitness videos which you can use to get motivated. Supplement these workouts with some outdoor walks; you’ll have to wrap up but the UK is so pretty in the frost.
6. Learn something exciting
The 6th most popular resolution is to learn something new and exciting. It’s never been easier to get educated. There are apps for learning languages, audio books on every subject you can think of and pioneering new degree courses (Viking Studies at UCL, anyone?). Thinking of learning a language? German is closely related to English so you already have a headstart. We also recommend checking out Future Learn, which offers free university courses online.
7. Quit smoking
Giving up the ciggies is a very common aim, one which ties in with being healthier and spending less. With vaping on the rise, it should be easier than ever to nail this one. If you’re a smoker, try the NHS Smoking calculator. It calculates how much you spend on cigarettes in a given period of time, but also the effect on your skin, fertility and other aspects of your well-being. You’ll soon be fantasizing about all the far more worthwhile things on which you could be spending that cash.
8. Help others achieve their dreams
Rather charmingly, the 8th most popular resolution is helping others to achieve their dreams. For mums and teachers, this one is very achievable. For others, it could be a case of reaching out to a neighbour, colleague or friend and pledging to join them in their own new year goals. It’s always easier when there are two of you.
9. Fall in love
Another hugely popular new year goal is to find a soulmate. We don’t need to tell you about all the matchmaker websites out there, nor that ubiquitous dating app. Give them a go by all means. But remember to be social and make an effort to meet new people beyond your existing circle of friends. Another top tip: stop watching unrealistic romcoms.
10. Spend more time with family
They annoy you but there’s no getting rid of them so you may as well try to get along. The 10th most popular new year’s resolution is one which we could all do with giving a little more attention. Frequent studies show that a healthy family relationship is crucial to building character and fostering a feeling of stability. So make some plans: a pub quiz or a film night at home with family takes very little effort and goes a long way.