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A New Year Brings Us New Opportunities

By Lucy E.M. Black

From the Jan- Feb 2024 Edition of PineRidge Arts ArtScene.

2024 is here, and many of us will have committed to some fresh starts and new year’s resolutions. Establishing new year’s resolutions is a tradition found around the world. People generally resolve to change undesired behaviors, accomplish personal goals or maintain positive practices. Increasingly, as I age and deal with health-related challenges, I feel a sense of desperation to get more done, see more, travel more, write more, in order to fully experience everything that is available to me. I have already established my goals for 2024 and have written them down. My two main goals have to do with my writing projects: where I want to travel to complete more research and when I hope to complete a new manuscript. In addition, I have also set a personal wellness goal as well as a house project goal. In the event that you haven’t committed to anything yet, I’ve compiled a list of some of the more popular new year’s resolutions, in the hope that something from it might be useful to others.

• Treat yourself to a spa day

• Take time for cuddling

• Drink extra water to keep hydrated

• Explore a counselling session to unpack your own mental health and emotions

• Volunteer for something new

• Follow a body-positive/affirming Instagram feed

• Listen to audiobooks or podcasts when working out, doing housework or driving

• Incorporate some light hand weights into your routines

• Learn a new skill or hobby – lots of great YouTube videos are free

• Invest in a foot care program – a pedicure and a new, comfy pair of shoes

• Create an attractive display of meaningful pictures and memorabilia

• Declutter your kitchen

• Donate all of your too-small clothes

• Invest in a new skincare routine – give yourself a facial, buy some new cream

• Play upbeat, oldies music

• Take a daily walk

• Stop multi-tasking and focus on enjoying one task at a time

• Create calming zones in your home

• Maintain good sleep hygiene – regular bedtimes, no screens before bed, darkened room

• Give more compliments – including to yourself

• Avoid toxic friends

• Eat fresh citrus daily

• Buy and consume blueberries

• Stay current but limit your exposure to the news

• Take road trips to explore new communities or arts centres

• Focus on being kind to yourself

• Make your home more fragrant by using a Lamp Bergere or candles

• Unplug from your phone during meal times

• Plan a vacation to somewhere fabulous you have always wanted to visit

• Work on your fitness goals, and eat healthier foods

• Stop procrastinating

• Meditate or improve your brain power by using apps on your phone

• Focus on becoming more polite

• Limit your TV watching

• Work on dressing with some style

• Focus on becoming tidier

• Set a savings goal

• Get a regular medical check-up

• Restrict the time you spend on social media

• Tackle a large project you have been putting off, but chunk it into manageable steps

• Develop your creativity – take a course, give yourself time to write or read or paint or play music

• Start journalling

• Face your fears and insecurities

Defeat is often an issue for those of us who set unrealistic goals. Telling myself I want to lose 40 pounds in six weeks is not only unrealistic but unhealthy. It is important to think about attainable and sustainable activities that will bring us closer to our goals.

Once you have identified just one thing (or more) that you would like to accomplish, think of ways that you can break the goal down into manageable increments or steps. If your goal is to start journalling, for instance, you could break down the goal in the following way:

Week 1 • Buy a journal

Week 2 • Create a quiet place to write and leave journal and pen there waiting for you

Week 3 • Commit to finding some writing prompts on the internet and print them off

Week 4 • Write for 15 minutes a week in your journal

Weeks 5+• Gradually increase the number of times per week that you write and the length of time that you spend writing

After you have met each goal, reward yourself with a small treat – an iced coffee, a piece of chocolate, whatever feels special and celebratory to you. Science tells us that it takes a full two months before a new behavior becomes a routine. If you’re someone who really needs positive reinforcement, choose to share your goals with a partner or special friend. Enlist them in your efforts to incorporate new behaviors in your routines.

I love the excitement that comes with a new year and a new set of goals. I wish you well as you commit to working on those things that will make you feel more fulfilled, more in control and fully alive.