Today is the last day of the year. For me, 2016 was a tough but also a very good year. There was big events and big decision and many changes but I feel like I have come so far this year and have learned a lot. I don’t know what your 2016 was like but in a few hours it is officially over and a new year and a fresh start commences. I am no fan of new years resolutions because I feel like they are just a device to make ourselves feel inadequate and highlight ones failures and shortcomings. However, I do think it is good to reflect, to be intentional and to dream. But rather than setting resolutions for the coming 12 months I believe we should set goals. You might think that it is just a different term for the same thing but I would define a goal more specific and more positive than a resolution.
Below I have come up with a list of goals that are fun and don’t involve a lot of pressure. However, if you implement them into your life they have the potential to transform your 2017 into an exciting and fun year with many positive experiences that can improve your overall wellbeing as well as that of the people around you.
- Recently I have been thinking a lot about rest. With 24/7 gyms, shops that are open every day of the week and our constant access to work emails makes it hard to switch off and take a break from all of our chores and tasks. The Bible shows us a pattern of 6 days of work and 1 day of rest. This day of rest does not have to be the Sunday if you have to work that day but marking one day each week where you don’t answer emails, don’t go grocery shopping, don’t study but instead do things that recharge your batteries. Spend time with your spouse, your family, go for a walk, read a book, bake a cake or do whatever else you enjoy doing. This is not only good for your own health and relationships but will also increase your productivity and enjoyment of your work.
- Learn a new language. I have set myself a goal of improving my French this year. Study vocubulary 10 minutes each day, get the duolingo app for your phone or sign up to Rosetta Stone. Watch films in the language you are learning and make friends with native speakers.
- If you enjoy writing sit down for half an hour each Sunday and write a short letter to a family member or friend. This will not only be a wonderful surprise for the recipient but it also will force you to slow down and take a break from the business of your day.
- Take up a hobby you used to have. Whether it is drawing, climbing, balancing on a slag line, crafting, knitting or tap dance – devote time each month to something you used to love. It does not matter whether you are ‘good at it’ or not – just enjoy being playful and creative.
- Do a 30-day vegan challenge. For one month, eliminate all animal products from your diet and see how you feel after. There is lots of resources online – you can find a bunch of vegan recipes and shopping lists on various blogs and on youtube.
- Sign up to an Alpha Course. This is a 10 day course where you learn the foundations about Christianity. This will widen your horizon, teach you about a religion, give you the opportunity to meet new friends and share a meal with lovely people. Especially if you enjoy a good debate or are interested in spirituality this is a great goal for you.
- De-clutter your wardrobe and choose at least 5 items that you will donate to a charity shop.
- Research a country you know nothing about. Read about it on wikipedia, set up google alerts to read news articles about it, cook a traditional dish and read a book by an author from that place. I have recently made friends with a guy from Nigeria and was seriously embarrassed how little I knew about his country (especially in comparison with his knowledge about Germany and the UK). So my goal is to learn about Nigerian history, politics and literature in 2017 and be able to cook him a traditional Nigerian dish next time we meet.
- Once a month, take a trip to a local museum or attraction or explore some of the nature around you. Often there is so much beauty and interesting things to see close to where we live but we never take the time to visit those places.
- Make time for the people and things you love. Postpone hoovering your house, procrastinate answering your emails and choose not to care about the dirty dishes in your kitchen. Instead go for coffee with a friend, play with your children, take your partner on a date, make something, play an instrument, go outside and just enjoy being alive. Do this as often as you can.
I hope some of these goals inspire you and will help you to make 2017 an amazing year. I hope you all have a wonderful new years eve and a great start into the new year.
Sorry for my absence around here in the last two weeks – I was on holiday and choose to spend time with friends and family rather than stress about writing blog posts (see goal number 10). I will be back here next week with more regular posts. Make sure to stop by, I have planned a few exciting things for you!
Stay bright and bold!