Fun and Achievable New Year's Resolutions
By Tracey Bell
How quickly a year passes when we reflect on it at the end. It seemed at the beginning of the year we had all the time in the world to achieve our goals and resolutions, yet here we are; the book is still unwritten, the gym membership has sat idle for 11 months, and that nasty habit we vowed to kick lingers on. And now it's another year - time for another set of resolutions. But how about considering some fun goals for 2013? Setting a resolution that allows some creativity in achieving it? Imagine sitting back in 12 months time reflecting on the year that was and thinking "Yes I did it!"
Resolution 1: Step outside your comfort zone
Comfort zones differ in size for each individual, but it is usually a rewarding journey, wherever your boundary ends. Whether it is speaking in public, taking the family bush camping, or travelling to a far off land, the personal growth and sense that you can achieve more and more gives you added strength to tackle the day-to-day challenges in normal life. Where is your comfort zone? What is one step beyond its boundaries that you can take this year?
Resolution 2: Adventure
Adventure is a bit like comfort zones - each individual has a different definition. Often the word "adventure" conjures images of level five white water rafting, but for most, simply going on safari and witnessing Africa's spectacular scenery and amazing array of wildlife is a huge adventure, without the need to totally risk life and limb (just don't get too close to the lions!). Adventure need not be an extreme sport, but anything that gets you excited to be alive. Seeing those sights you have only even dreamed of - Victoria Falls or diving in Zanzibar - is an adventure. How will you add a little adventure to your life in 2013?
Resolution 3: Do something completely different
Make this year the year you really stretch your imagination and do something completely different. How much of our life is dictated by our perception of what we should do, rather than what we actually want to do? It's time to let your imagination run wild and start doing things you never considered. Take six months off work and volunteer with a conservation organisation in a remote part of the world. Or use your professional skills to train people in a developing country. Think about your talents; how can you use them to make a difference to someone's life?
Resolution 4: Engage with other cultures
With so much intolerance in our world, it's time for all of us to take stock and realise we are all humans regardless of colour or creed. This does not have to involve a trip halfway around the world; as nations in the Western world become increasingly multi-cultural there is plenty of opportunity to find cultural groups. Eat at your nearest Turkish restaurant, find an African dance class or learn Salsa. Or if you do visit another country, participate in home stays and completely immerse yourself. Can we make this year the year to learn, understand and interact with at least one other culture?
Resolution 5: Reconnect with loved ones
Family and friends can get lost in the hustle and bustle of trying to find that holy grail of work-life balance. But these connections are what keeps us grounded, so this year we should put some effort into our relationships. Enjoying some of the above resolutions as a family can bring everyone together. Imagine participating in a home stay with a family like your own in a completely different part of the world? That puts you out of your comfort zone, it's an adventure, it's certainly different, and you are engaging with another culture. And the experience can only enhance your personal relationships with your own family. What is one experience that can be enjoyed by the whole family this year? Or is it time to take that much talked about holiday with your friends?
Resolution 6: Discover your true self
Taking some time out to meditate can do wonders for the soul. It can revitalise and rejuvenate a person because it clears the mind, teaches you to remove all distractions, and focus. The clarity reached can direct you in both your personal and professional lives, making you more productive, creative, and comfortable with your decisions. A massage on the beach, sitting atop the mountain you have just climbed or simply spending 30 minutes each day in a quiet room at home are some examples of how you can rejuvenate yourself. For a more intense experience, consider attending a week-long meditation or yoga retreat.
Resolution 7: Take a holiday!
There must be time this year for you to relax and take a break from the chaos of day-to-day life. Taking a holiday can fulfil all of the above resolutions plus give you the seventh of just chilling out. And that must be the most important thing to do in 2013: giving yourself the opportunity to take a break. We get so wrapped up in work and other commitments that we often get to the end of the year so exhausted that Christmas festivities become more of a drain than a celebration. So this year, please make a solemn promise that you will give yourself the gift of a holiday!