When waking up on the first day of a new year, the pressure to start all of those new habits you were banging on about at last night’s NYE party feels painfully real. Talking about doing the thing is no longer good enough, it’s officially time to go and do the thing. That’s what we’re told anyway.
Whilst I’m all for embracing new habits and charging towards new goals, the first of January isn’t the time to put unnecessary pressure on yourself. With a sore head (probably) and the dregs of post-Christmas fatigue still casting a shadow on your day, tackling the big things might not be the best idea on day 1 of 365.
Sure, the ideal New Year’s day would look a little like a scenic walk, a cosy hot chocolate in a pretty pub, outfit shots in the chilly air and coming home to work on our 2018 selves – new content, fresh schedules and all – but we probably feel more like a brisk walk around the park, a pint followed by a box set whilst finishing off the Christmas chocolate.
A little bit like NYE always being underwhelming, the 1st of January always holds expectations of change and progress and the pressure to half-accomplish all your new year’s resolutions within a 24-hour timeslot. Of course, it’s pretty impossible, but that doesn’t stop us trying, does it?
Instead of putting the pressure on today, I thought I’d throw some ideas out about what we could do instead.
Low-pressure activities that are manageable, easy-to-complete and that could help you get a start on your new year mindset without ending up internally screaming about being a failure mid-breakdown at 6 pm after failing to write a million blog posts, workout and quit sugar on day one.
2018 is a marathon, not a sprint.
Sort out the anything drawer
The drawer of crap. You might be creative so it could be a bag of crap, a basket of crap or even a cardboard box of crap – the point is, it needs sorting. Maybe it’s the bag of Christmas wrap that needs a home or your desk drawer full of sticky note ideas. Empty it and organise it.
Start a new book
I always intend to read more each year, but it never happens. Reading just 5 pages of a new book stimulates your brain for a few minutes and gives you a taste of the book. If you do nothing else but this you can at least say that you’ve started something new today.
Go for a walk somewhere new (or stop at a different pub)
More exercise and visiting new places top the resolutions lists. Kill two birds with one stone by strolling through a new village, checking out that new pub or even by taking a different route home and finding a great sunset stop.
Drink a glass of water with every other drink
By this point of festivity, most of us are severely dehydrated. Drinking more water keeps us healthy but the shock of ditching the G+T for a cup o’ plain water can feel a bit blue. Having a glass of water before or with every other drink you have today will keep you hydrated and kickstart that hydration-habit.
Wake up with a stretch
Doing a full-on workout can be a massive shock to the system if you haven’t done as much as a 1 minute jog in the last year… so having a good old stretch at any point in the day is step one to getting more active. Stretching isn’t as intimidating as proper exercise either, so you might actually do it.
Research local classes or groups
Hobbies are great, but what if you don’t have a hobby? Check out what’s going on around you. Get inspired to try pottery, archery or even join a choir. Spend some time researching and getting pumped about a new pastime.
Find 5 things to sell on eBay
eBay is a great way to earn a little bit of extra dosh and it’s a fab way to clear out some clutter. Find 5 things to list today (listing is free) and feel the buzz when you have more space in your room as well as some pocket money when your pieces sell.
Brainstorm January content ideas
As much as we want to write three-million blog posts in advance, it seldom happens. If you’ve had a blogging break then start with a 20-minute brainstorm of content ideas. Jump from one idea the another laterally and watch as you fill up your content calendar with ease.
Listen to a thought-provoking podcast
If you’re hungover or feeling as if you can’t face business, blogging or life-improvement talk, then listen to a podcast or two. Ctrl Alt Del and Hashtag Authentic are my favourites, both of which always get me thinking and inspire me to do something. It could just be the kick in the butt you need, but if not, they’re just great fun.
Write a few thank-you cards
Writing thank you cards is a great practice of gratitude. When you start writing thank you’s for the wonderful presents you received or social gatherings that were hosted brilliantly, you realise just how much you have to be thankful for. A great activity if you’re feeling low today.
Find a box for your receipts
Money management is a bitch – but you probably want to get better at it, right? Don’t try and do your taxes or make a budget today, you’ll probably stress out and freak out and abandon it all. Instead, find a nice place to keep your receipts, invoices or whatever. A nice box file, a cleared shelf in the office, some labelled plastic wallets – whatever does it for you.
Eat a colourful meal
After a very beige Christmas, I’ll be looking forward to some fruit and veg later on today. It’s well known that the more colourful your plate is, the healthier it is (unless it’s a plate full of Haribo) so get creating and enjoy a rainbow meal – kickstarting your healthy resolutions without the pressure.
Hoover under the bed
I know it’s scary, but do it now and you could leave it until next year. If you’re planning to be tidier or more organised this year then getting the worst job out of the way will subside the feeling of dread when it comes to upholding your weekly tidy-up in 6 weeks.
Interact with 3 new blogs
Not only does the blogosphere need a boost, but the quickest way to get your blog work out there is to make some noise. Not just shouting about your pieces, but interacting with other great content, sharing it and most importantly, letting the blogger know that you like their stuff. Make someone’s day.
Fold your clothes like Marie Kondo
I’ve been folding my clothes this way for a while and it is useful. If you’ve had problems with your wardrobe and want to buy less and wear more this year, then implement this method. You basically stack clothes up but then lay them in your drawers on the stack’s side so you can see each item. Google it and find some fab examples.
Mix and drink a mocktail
If you’re partaking in dry January or if you’ve just had too much alcohol these last few weeks, then make a funky mocktail. They don’t taste boring but they are way better for us and will help keep our minds clear for all that awesome goal-getting.
Do 5 sit-ups, 5 squats and 5 push-ups
Most of the difficulty of exercising is deciding what to do. Maybe you think you should run, or do yoga, or start playing badminton, but what if you just want to do something right now? Doing a few body-weight exercises will warm your muscles, get your heart rate up and will mean that if you don’t get round to that run, you’ve done something.
Start a gratitude list
If you’re not sure what you’re working toward for 2018, then how about looking back at 2017? Make a list of what was great, achievements and things you’re thankful for. This helps give us some perspective and can ease your mind about not achieving massive and wonderful things on the 1st of January (you’ve got a whole year, remember).