Making new year’s resolutions used to be quite a popular activity, but I believe its popularity has decreased over the years. Perhaps people have realised that resolutions are not flexible, especially when life throws so many curve balls at you during the year, and a firm decision made on December 31st might not be the best decisions for one’s physical and mental health on January 1st. The biggest problem appears to be that people have realised most typical resolutions are not worth the effort.
While I agree with these sentiments, I admittedly still enjoy the concept of starting the year as if I’ve just begun a fresh novel (read last year’s goals here). It got me thinking about how I can become a better person in 2018 without the impossible goal of exercising seven days a week and cutting milk chocolate out of my life entirely. I decided that both mental and physical health matters, which requires more than just diets and facials, and this time Earth matters too.
- Choose beauty without cruelty
Are you even surprised that this is the first thing on the list? Probably not. I could talk a hole in your ear about why you absolutely should pay more attention to which companies you are supporting and whose pockets you are lining, but I won’t do that. Not today, at least. If you want to stay up-to-date with my cruelty-free journey and learn a lot of interesting things about the beauty industry, read through the Cruelty-Free Diaries. Bonus points if you subscribe to my blog!
- Get your documents in order
A bit of a strange thing to add to the list of whatever-the-synonym-is-of-New-year’s-resolutions, but I think that it is worth mentioning before you get bored and close this tab in your browser. Firstly, your documents include your ID, passport, vehicle’s licence, and all of those things we haven’t done because procrastination is the actual devil (and so is the fear of hour-long queues). Get it done now, and you’ll be happy you did.
- Be generous when dishing out compliments
It really doesn’t hurt to be nice, even to strangers.
- Declutter your space
The most obvious thing to do at the start of a new year is to declutter your space. As typical as it may seem, emptying out your cupboard (and handbag) can be quite therapeutic. Every year, I give away a lot of my old clothing and shoes to someone who truly needs it. There is always someone who needs it. The same can be done with old books, toys, blankets and even makeup!
- Go offline
I once read that social media is a relentless taskmaster. Thinking about how much time I’ve spent aimlessly scrolling through Instagram photos, getting worked up over Twitter drama, and angry-facing animal circuses and shady cosmetic companies on Facebook has made me realise just how true that statement is. Social media takes up hours of our time and energy every single day, and it’s not healthy. I think that a social media detox every once in a while is imperative.
I’m going to take this one very seriously this year, especially because this will be the first year that I have my own car. Exploring doesn’t necessarily mean hopping onto an aeroplane and flying off to Bali, it could be as simple as taking a drive to the sea or the mountain or a campsite. Find the biggest, oldest library in your city and spend hours amongst the books and the shelves. Go to a museum, the planetarium, a Sunday market, or just drive.
- Take your makeup off before bed
It’s not as easy as it seems, amiright?
- Stop accepting plastic straws
It probably seems absurd, but this is definitely one of the best little changes you could make. According to The Last Plastic Straw, 175 billion plastic straws in the USA alone make their way into landfills (and the ocean, which inevitably ends up in some sea creature’s tummy) each year, and enough straws to wrap around Earth’s circumference 2.5 times a day!!! Rather than continue being a problematic human being, be a slightly less problematic human being and say NO to plastic straws.
- Eat the cake
Too many people promote diets and meal plans that are just not healthy, mentally and physically. In the end, overconsumption of anything is a bad idea. Be healthy, be happy, and do what you have to do in moderation.
- Focus on stimulating your brain
2018 is going to be the year that I go back to being the girl who reads a lot, does puzzles too big for her table and challenges herself to think. I think that this is something we should all do, and perhaps it can coincide with going offline too. Unsurprisingly, sleeping is something that many of us should be doing more often too, as it improves your physical and mental performance.
- Stop buying wrapping paper and gift bags
Much like saying no to plastic straws, being more creative with how you present gifts to someone can make a big difference to the planet. In 2011, The Telegraph reported that the British toss 226,800 miles of wrapping paper away. That is enough to wrap around the planet nine times! We’re all part of the problem, and we need to do better. This year, rather than purchase another roll of wrapping paper, use newspaper or old books decorated with a pretty flower or tie it up with a string. Stay tuned for a blog post dedicated to this soon!
- Develop a nighttime routine
We have established that we need to get more sleep, but that is actually very difficult for some people who only manage to fall asleep at early hours of the morning. I think that a possible solution to that problem is to develop a nighttime routine that focuses on giving your brain adequate time to wind down before it’s ready to allow you to sleep.
- Spend more time with people who matter
Give more of your time and attention to the people who matter, rather than waste your energy on the people who don’t.
- Practice a new hobby or skill
Bonus points if you go out of your comfort zone, or make it extra challenging (like learning a new language).
- Start paying your debt & saving your money
There’s no time to stress about lawsuits and bad credit records. If you have debt, start paying it today. I’m no expert, but I do know that the longer you wait the bigger the figure and the bigger the burden. In the next few months, you’ll be grateful you started today.
- Go do that smear test
I hope that 2018 is the year that more attention is given to this. Marie Stopes says: “Not only can a pap detect sexually transmitted infections (STIs), it is also a quick and simple means of screening for early warning signs that cervical cancer might develop in the future. If abnormal cells are noticed during your pap they can be closely observed and/or treated to prevent cancer from developing.” If you have already turned 21 OR are sexually active, you should be going for this test already. Some clinics in South Africa do this for free.
- Put yourself & loved ones before materialism
Money and objects can be replaced. Don’t waste too much of your time chasing the wrong thing.
- Support local businesses
My favourite source for the best local cruelty-free products is Beauty Without Cruelty’s Humane Guide. I love scrolling through the long list of brands and choosing which store to browse through next. Another wonderful source for all things local is LOKAL. Unlike the Humane Guide, LOKAL shares “local brands, businesses, hotels and eateries“, so there’s something for everyone. Both of these sources are extremely helpful, and I highly recommend using them as a guide to supporting the best South African businesses!
I hope that the first week of 2018 has been a wonderful one. If not, it’s okay! Rather than see it as a forecast for a bad year, accept it as a test and continue being positive.
I am so excited about all of the content that I have planned to share with you. To keep up to date with my blog, subscribe using your email address and follow me on social media (all links in the sidebar).