It is the start of the year which means one thing: we are all desperately trying to figure out how to be the very best versions of ourselves in 2023.
Some of us might've already figured it out. But there will be some of us who are still looking for a little guidance and direction.
Like me, you may have set yourself a couple of New Year's Resolutions with all the best intentions to follow them. You may also, like me, have already broken one of those resolutions within a matter of days. What can I say? I am a living cactus and a nutritionist's worst nightmare with my sub one litre consumption of liquids a day. I know what you H2O lovers who buzz off getting their wee as clear as possible (too much?!) are thinking...
In my defence, I think the reason I keep failing is because resolutions are goals whereas habits are behaviour changing routines. Habits are where we want to focus our time and attention to generate real long-lasting change.
Now I'm not slagging off goals. I love a goal! I have a reading goal for this year, in fact. Goals are great at helping us to measure our progress and success. However, goals tend to be something we set ourselves for a certain period of time whereas habits are for a lifetime. I don't know about you, but the return on investment sounds much better for habits over goals, don't you think?
Keep reading to find out the four habits I upheld last year that had a real impact on my life. Spoiler : one of them is not going to be drinking more water.
Why I had to build better habits
The last few years haven't been the easiest for me, something you'll know if you've read my blog or listened to my podcast for a while. Of course the last few years haven't been easy for any of us really, let's face it, but I've had my fair share of personal battles.
I never thought I'd be able to live a life free from overwhelming anxiety and depression. At one point, I was trying to come to terms with the fact that they were always going to be a part of who I was. But over the last 18 months, things have dramatically improved.
There are many things that have helped me get to a better place and I truly believe the four habits I share below helped change my life in 2022. That's why I won't be giving up on them now.
1. Push myself out of my comfort zone
We think we have to go big or go home when we see this sentence. We automatically jump to the end result, get overwhelmed, know we lack the confidence to get there and then scare ourselves out of taking the first step. In the comfort zone we stay.
So I started pushing myself out of my comfort zone by starting small to help build my confidence overall. I started by doing smaller, more achievable things like signing up to gym classes I wasn't sure I would be able to do and cooking meals I'd usually find quite challenging.
I did one thing every week to prove to myself that I could do more than my self-esteem would often let me believe. The more I did, the more my general levels of confidence grew. Before I knew it, I was doing things I never thought I'd be able to do, like applying for a new job and singing solo in public for the very first time.
Proving to yourself that you can do things you never thought you'd be able to do is an extraordinary feeling. And it's a feeling I'll continue to chase throughout 2023.
2. Make time for the things I enjoy
This one feels obvious yet it's something we are all guilty of not prioritising at times. We often let people pleasing dictate how we spend our time out of fear of letting other people down or not impressing our boss or colleagues enough.
But our hobbies and interests make us who we are. They help us build our confidence and give us something to look forward to. Also, most importantly, they make us happy!
So next time you question whether you have time for the things you enjoy, maybe ask yourself: 'What would I say to the person I love most in the world if they were struggling to justify time for the things they enjoy?' Likelihood is you'd be telling them to go and have fun. So why should it be any different for you?
If you want to be happy, it's important to make time for the things that make you happy. That's what I'll be doing in 2023.
3. Surround myself with people who make me feel good
The energy you surround yourself with should never be underestimated. No, I am not about to go into some spiritual speech but I do think it's something many of us turn a blind eye to far too often.
So that's why I made more time for the people who made me feel good in 2022 and less time for people who didn't. I made more time for the people who made me smile and laugh, were genuinely interested in my life and made efforts to see me. I made less time for the people who brought the kind of energy to my life that regularly left me feeling deflated, anxious and frustrated.
We don't get to choose the people we work with a lot of the time (don't we know it) so it's pretty important that we actively choose who we spend our free time with in 2023 - I know I will be.
4. Carve out time to re-charge
I've hit that delightful time in my life where my bank account is hemorrhaging money because of weddings. This isn't due to change over the next few years.
Now I love a wedding, but with all the travelling, drinking and dancing, it can be a tiring couple of days. It's especially tiring for someone, like me, who refuses to give less than 100 percent on the dancefloor.
That's why last year, I used an extra day of annual leave after every wedding as a dedicated 're-charge day'. This extra day gave me the time I needed to relax and unwind before heading back to work. It was also helpful to have an extra day to recover from a lack of sleep and maybe a hangover when you're over 25, let's be honest.
In 2023, I plan on keeping this habit up, even protecting a weekend or two each month to ensure my energy levels aren't completely depleted by 1 March. Don't want Harry Styles to have to cancel his gig in Coventry because I'm too burnt out to attend after all.
As Einstein so famously said, 'Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.' The likelihood is that if you've made it to the end of this post, things you've tried before simply haven't worked. I reckon it's time to shake things up and give something new a try.
Make 2023 a life-enhancing year by embracing one, two, three or maybe even all four of the habits above.
Follow me on Instagram for more tips from me about how to improve your well-being as well as advice from people who are much more intelligent than me who I invite onto the podcast.