Did you know that by the 17th January, most people will have given up on their New Year’s Resolutions? It seems the usual plans to eat properly, exercise more and spend less are doomed to fail. Is this because they are not realistic or sustainable? Or is it because it is the worst time of the year to be considering change?
When we make them we are full of good intentions because after Christmas we feel we have indulged enough to last us a lifetime. When a New Year beckons we feel we should better ourselves in some way. Everyone is talking or writing about changing, improving, doing more of the right things and less of the wrong. So why by the middle of January have most of us given up?
January is undoubtedly a hard time of year. Everything can seem sad once the twinkling lights, tinsel and Christmas paraphernalia have disappeared. By the middle of the month we have left the comfort of home and returned to our student houses and accommodation. We have come back to a world of essays, formative and summative tasks, assessments and stress. Is it any surprise that we fail in our resolutions?
This year I propose that you do not set up resolutions where you will fall at the first hurdle. Instead, have one resolution: to take an attitude of gratitude. Every day, reflect on what you have to be grateful for. It is incredibly easy to keep a journal to note all of your positive thoughts and happy moments in a day.
Many of us choose to focus on things that have gone wrong and do not appreciate the kind words or actions of others. Every day contains good, even if it is something small like the bus driver waiting for you when you were running late or making a point you were proud of in a seminar. As you learn to look for the good in your life and celebrate it, it seems to grow.
It is easy to think of negative things when youíre tired and stressed, and this is when the attitude of gratitude journal is most useful. By spending no longer than 10 minutes at the end of a day taking note of all the things that you are grateful for, you will sleep better and cheer yourself up. It can be things that have happened to your family or friends too, as what is important is that you are focussing on the positive.
Acknowledging and appreciating what is right in your life is so much better than looking for ways to change yourself. So pick up your journal from a place like The Works for as little as £1.99 and start jotting down the things that you have to be thankful for. Let your resolution for 2015 be a new Attitude of Gratitude!