2019 is here. To avoid the same ‘2019 is going to be my year’ people turning into ‘2019 was dead but just wait for my glo-up in 2020’ people, I’ve composed a list we should all collectively agree on for a physically, mentally, and spiritually successful year.
- Be Healthier (Duh)
It simply would not be a New Year Resolution list without this overused, over-pushed, and overly-joked-about goal, but I’m not pushing it in the way you expect or even joking about it. I’m not going to tell you to join a gym (unless you really, genuinely want to. As in genuinely.) or to try that new keto diet every digital influencer is pushing on your Instagram feed. I’m not going to tell you to count your calories and go plant-based. Instead, I am reinforcing the propaganda teachers have been pushing since primary school with colourful pie-charts and animated vegetable characters: eat balanced.
I love food. I will never tell someone to eat less because I cannot bring myself to advise something that I have not yet achieved myself. That and I just do not agree with it, to be honest. Eat as scarily big portions as you want – just make sure every meal has the right portion of each food category (you do not need to measure this to an exact art. It is never that deep).
Most importantly, find out what works for you. You may decide you don’t want to cut out meat but you want to stick to white meats like chicken and fish only. You might have the palate of a three-year-old and hate vegetables (you and me both, G) but realise that you love salad foods as a side, and sneak a cheeky lettuce and tomato next to your lasagne. You don’t have to follow the diet of a Victoria Secret model to feel and look physically healthy.
2. Be Consistent
For some reason, people believe sleeping eight hours a night and finishing every day with cleanser, toner and facial scrub is the way to go. But perhaps the fast metabolism and clear skin isn’t because of those exact steps you’ve taken.
Your body wants consistency. If you’re like me – working through the night and rising early in the morning for 9am lectures – and you get an average of four hours sleep, that’s actually fine. It isn’t ideal by any means but you can still function at an extraordinary level and possess clear skin so long as there is consistency. In other words, if you’re going to power through the day on four hours of sleep, do it every day. And I mean even on week-ends. I’m telling you now whoever invented Saturday lie-ins was an enemy of progress. The devil is a lie.
The same goes for your skin-care routine. You can literally get away with using a bar of Dove soap and warm water, but if that’s the path you’ve chosen, you better stay in that lane, my friend.
3. Read More
Another typical subtitle in every New Years Resolution list. If you’re not like me and you don’t read novels as if they are the key to the Matrix, I at least know that if you’re reading this, you do a lot more reading than you think. Though I am under the biased opinion that everybody should read novels, for all you non-bookworms: you are by no means confined to them. Read articles on topics that interest you: sport, psychology, philosophy, history etc. Read blogs on lifestyle, travel and fashion. Read movie reviews and theatre reviews if you’re a big film buff. Read newspapers. Just make sure you’re always reading because it is honestly the best, most effective exercise you could do for your brain. Think of it as if your brain were a flat bum and reading were the equivalent of weighted squats. Or your brain were some scrawny teenage boy’s deflated chest and reading is whatever weight-lifting exercise men use for their chest (I can’t lie, I clearly know nothing about men and gym equipment). You get my point. Get those gains.
4. Surround yourself with people who stimulate you intellectually
I get the desire to hang around people who make you laugh all day every day. But ‘good bants’ can only take you so far. Intellectual discussion doesn’t have to be as tedious as it sounds; no one is asking you to discuss politics, trust me. But what’s your philosophy on life? What do you stand for? What little things make you smile? Do you believe you’re in control of your own life? These 3am thoughts we all have when we can’t sleep (because #overthinking) don’t have to remain locked in a box in your own head. You’ll surprise yourself and others with how much they actually enjoy talking about these things with other people. There’s no greater satisfaction than finding out that other people agree with something you thought was your own weird little theory. Neither is there any feeling quite like having your own ideologies challenged and broadened. And the benefit? It teaches you how to argue well, how to remain objective, how to look at something from multiple different perspectives, and on top of it, it is one of the only transfers of knowledge that actually stays in your long-term memory without rehearsal because you’ll subconsciously associate the new information with the event or the person.
5. Invest in a planner
This is not even funny. It shocks me how many people get by without using a planner in this decade. Forgetting dates, or attempting to remember them off the top of your head, running late for meetings, and incomplete deadlines are the biggest stressors of any student or working adult. Your iPhone reminders can (and most likely will) fail you. I don’t know what it is about writing it down, but when you make the effort to put pen to paper, your plans just seem to solidify in your head and you are much less likely to forget them. So, if there’s anything in this world that you’re serious about, write it down.
6. Keep a journal
I swear this is not some pretentious, occult ritual for hipsters or a leisurely activity for philosophy students who believe they have all the secrets to the universe because they are the chosen one. If you have an opinion, any opinion at all, write it down. Even if you have no intention of turning it into an award-winning book, just write it down. As much as I love my own company, you can literally drive yourself crazy talking to yourself, especially if your deepest thoughts are as complex and intricate as mine. Don’t stop there – write about your day, your week, or your month if you’re a busy person. Forget how cheesy it all seems; it is so important for growth. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read passages I wrote in 2016 and compared who I used to be and where I used to be with who I am now and where I am now. You can be so proud of the person you are today and how far you’ve gotten, but in order to prevent falling back into old habits and toxic cycles, you’ve got to write it down. You can’t rely totally on your memories because the mind alters our recollection of them almost every time we tap into them. And if somewhere along the way, you’ve gotten lost and forgotten yourself, trust that nothing can remind you of who you are like your very own words.
And with that all said and done, I wish you a very Happy New Year. I hope and pray with all my heart that 2019 is really your year.
Live in peace,