New Year's Resolutions. Love them or hate them, we all secretly have goals and challenges we want to accomplish or overcome by the year's end. Whether they're health-focused, self-improvement driven or financially motivated, the turn of the New Year delivers the promise of bigger and better things to come.
Now that we are heading into 2020, you may find your iron-clad will and superhuman level self-control waning (or if you like me, you never had them to begin with). If you aren't on track, or haven't really thought about what needs to get done, then this is your chance to get motivated.
To navigate the pitfalls and challenges of setting New Year's Resolutions, and safeguarding your goal-kicking success, we've delved into the most common resolutions and simplified what you need to do to tackle them in 2020.
Key things to remember
1. Set realistic goals and time frames
If you have $2 to your name, don't expect to own a lush pad on Bondi Beach, the lastest BMW and become Australia's youngest millionaire by Christmas. Take into account your current situation, what is required to meet your goals and what is already in store for you in 2020 (i.e. loan repayments, study, holidays, family commitments) before setting your goal timeline.
2. Breakdown large goals into numerous smaller goals
Don't let the weight of your long term goal get you down. If you want to own a home, set smaller goals like improving your credit score, paying off current debts, saving enough money for a deposit, and getting pre-approval on a loan. That way you are setting up a timeline to achieve your major goal and also scoring some wins under your belt along the way. Nothing like a boost of positivity each time you get one step closer to your end goal or have spent another day sticking to your resolution.
3. Don't forget the reason behind it all
It's easy to get caught up in how well other people are doing and lose sight of why you're setting a New Year goal in the first place. Focus more on yourself and how you are going to be the best version of you, and less time on how good that friend from high school looks on Insta.
If, like us, you overindulged during the Christmas break with endless feasting and far too many boozy brunches, then a New Year health kick might just be what the doctor ordered.
Being healthy isn't just eating lean or cutting calories, it's being to able to completely nourish your body. Best way to start is to keep a diary to monitor what you currently eat, drink and do to stay active. From there you can really see what habits have been formed, and identify areas where you can improve. There are plenty of free apps, like MyFitnessPal, and calculators, like Eat for Health, that helps map out your macros and exercise to ensure you are getting everything you need each day.
One simple change you can make to lead a healthier life comes from chef, nutritionist, author, and accredited fitness trainer Teresa Cutter, The Healthy Chef:
"Keep it simple, keep it fresh and prepare the food yourself. You know exactly what’s going into your body and your body will thank you for it with endless energy, glowing skin and vitality".
To ensure you keep on track, stay organised and not get bored, we've rounded up our most popular health food articles, to give you all the creative foodie inspiration you need on where to shop, eat and drink for a healthy 2020. If in doubt, make a booking with a nutritionist – that way you can get professional advice tailored to your own body, lifestyle and health goals.
No better time to put your 2020 #healthylifestyle goals into action!
Be active and exercise more
If spending less time on the couch and more time in the gym is your aim for 2020, then here are our top tips for leading an active lifestyle this year:
Going four times in a week and then skipping the next fortnight does not set you up for a successful #fitin2020 campaign. Start small, turn up to each session and increase where you can. If you can only slot in one session a week, make sure you are smashing it every single time.
Team up with your partner or bestie to smash your fitness goals together. By teaming up and pushing each other to work harder, you will stick to your goals and feel unstoppable.
Mix up your fitness regime
Take part in a combination of different exercises to keep things interesting and ensure you are working your full body. From dance fitness, barre, Bikram and pilates, to yoga, boot camp, swimming and running, there are plenty of things to keep you moving in 2020.
Forget the gym, head outdoors
Incorporate exercise into your everydayLeading an active life doesn't purely mean exercising and extortionate gym memberships. You can easily fit in some extra activity by making a few simple every day changes: e.g. take the stairs instead of the escalator, or try walking the five blocks instead of ordering an Uber. Trust us, your bank account and diary will be more than appreciative.
Be financially savvy and secure
Save more and spend less...easy right? In principle...yes. In reality, your finances are a touch more complicated than that.
If you are handy with an Excel spreadsheet, then draw up an easily trackable budget that gets your money working harder for you. Allocating dough to survive, splurge and save will allow you to reclaim control and gain freedom with your finances.
For the spreadsheet adverse, there are a tonne of apps that will do the hard work for you (CC: You Need A Budget and Mint). But if you really want to get on top of your finances, we can't recommend the bestselling financial help book The Barefoot Investor enough. Life changing stuff.
Learn something new
Nothing like learning something new to spark a change in your life this year. Whether you are looking to flex your creative muscles or expand your linguistic ability, there are plenty of new challenges to tackle and conquer before years end.
Get creative and learn the art of painting, knitting or pottery. Either sign up to a class or strap on an apron at home and prepare to get your hands dirty. No crafternoon is complete without a bit of liquid inspiration, so make sure to pour yourself a glass of wine before getting stuck in – you deserve it!
For foreign cinema fiends and keen travellers, learning a new language may be on the cards for 2020. Take it at your own pace online with Duolingo, where you can learn over 30 languages (even High Valyrian, for all you Game of Thrones fans). For those that need some more hands-on help or encouragement, sign up for an 8-week language course at Sydney Community College.
Why not learn an ancient practice? Meditation is the ultimate me-time experience and is only becoming more and more mainstream. There are too many benefits to count – it not only forces you to slow down, breathe, unwind and clear your mind, but it’s a proven antidote to stress. With something to suit all styles and levels of meditators, if you’re ready to learn or enhance your practice, check out our fave meditation centres.
Reading – the cheapest way to travel. If your finances aren't allowing you to jet set in 2020, then allow the written word to transport you to historic moments in time, distant places, and into the future. Whether you love reading and can't find the time or have far too many tomes to choose from, there's something for everyone to read in every stage of their reading cycle. Regardless where you at in your reading journey, do yourself a favour – switch off your phone, cancel Netflix (I know, sacrilege) and immerse yourself in a great read this year. Believe us, you won't regret it.
Get started: Read an article
Question: Out of ALL those lifestyle and foodie articles you tag your friends in on Facebook, how many do you actually read? Take the time and actually read the online articles you are sharing. You may like what it has to say, or you may find it completely useless. Either way, you'll be fully informed!
Stuck in a rut: Find something new
Haven't found a book that you love or been burnt by an awful ending? Mix things up and pick a new read. Just because those bookshelves at home are full, does not mean you need to start your reading journey there.
If you're in need of inspiration, head to homegrown book blogs like Camper Reads (formerly Mali Reads) and Diva Booknerd. Offering up honest reviews and recommendations based on genres and moods, you will never pick up a dud book again.
Master reader: Start a book club
If you feel confident in your reading taste, rope in your friends and start your own book club. Pick a new book each month and make it your excuse to catch up over wine and literary tales.
Get ahead in your career
Climbing the corporate ladder is different for everyone, but one thing's for certain, it's always challenging. Whether you're bored and looking for a new job, keen to find a new career path, or need to boost your yearly takings, there are so many ways to get ahead in your career this year.
Finding a new job can be tricky but the best place to start is LinkedIn. Refresh your profile, get your colleagues to endorse your skills and get your work history up-to-date. Reach out to new people and expand your network by engaging with posts and forums within the platform – you never know who you will get in contact with. To help take the pressure off, you can now alert recruiters on the platform that you are open to new opportunities.
If you need to brush up on your skills before jumping into a new role, or you're looking for a complete career change, this year is the perfect time to upskill. From the killer short courses at General Assembly to the intensive University of Sydney lead programs at the Centre for Continuing Education, the sky's the limit.
To give your bank balance the boost it so desperately deserves, why not set up your side hustle? Pick up a craft or hobby and turn it into a money-maker. The team over at Work Shop have hands-on classes that will get you slinging jewellery, ceramics and illustrations quicker than you can say 'self-employed'.
Drink less alcohol
Coming out of the prolonged festive season (the year starts in March right?), a lot of us are feeling the holiday hangover. To get you back on the wagon, here are some easy ways to keep sober, and carry on:
Dedicate alcohol-free nights
Allow yourself a few nights a week of alcohol-free frivolity. To make it easier, keep your school nights dry and leave the G&T's for Friday to Sunday.
Swap cocktails for mocktails
Just because you are going alcohol-free, doesn't mean you can't have some fun. Stay clear of the soft drinks and opt for a fun and fruity mocktail. Here are some of our faves around Sydney.
Do it for charity
If you can't trust yourself to stay alcohol-free, put your money where your drink is and give up booze for charity. With yearly events like Dry July and Ocsober encouraging teetotalling, you can help others while you help yourself. Your liver can thank us later.
Live more sustainably
Sustainability is much more than a trend – it’s a movement that’s sweeping the city. Small changes to your everyday life like using recycled bags (looking at you plastic-free shops), ensuring you recycle your items correctly, and even make a buck at the bottle and can depot, you are immediately making a positive impact on the environment. To lead a sustainable life outside the home, here are some ways you can up your game:
Along with recycling and supporting our farmers by buying local, organic produce, go one step further, and choose to dine at places that not only source their food ethically but also give back to the environment. From Inner West farm Acre Eatery to fine diner Chiswick Woollahra, there are plenty of eateries that are working sustainably.
Building, renovating or just dressing up the décor in your home this year? Sydney is a design lover’s dream, with stores selling modern, vintage, quirky and beautifully bespoke pieces. And now, you no longer need to compromise style for sustainability. If you want to go green, you can! Eco-chic homewares stores are popping all over the city, just waiting for you to fill your home with fabulous, feel-good purchases. We have picked our 10 faves here.
For your next holiday, go green and opt for an eco-friendly escape. Eco-tourism has come a long way. Once upon a time, ‘green’ getaways were associated with less-than-luxurious conditions, but with more and more travellers choosing to connect with nature and stay in sustainable places, that’s changed. These eco escapes don’t just tread lightly on the environment – they teach you how to do it, too. On your trip, you can learn about the natural surroundings, whether it’s the beach, bush or rainforest, and how the resort is making a conscious effort to conserve it. At some, you can even step up your own green game and get involved! For a feel-good holiday, check out the best conservation hotels across the country.
Donate time and money to charitable causes
Take the moment to think of others this year and use your time and money to make a difference in someone's life. Whether you make donations to charity, choose to sponsor a child or volunteer in your local area, there are plenty of worthy causes doing great work and needing support.
To get started, head online to St Vincent de Paul and The Salvation Army to check out what available volunteer position there are in your local area. From making meals and door knocking, to working in the local op shop and tutoring refugees, the time may mean nothing to you but will mean the world to someone in need.
Another way to help is by donating your pre-loved clothes and furnishings. This year, take a weekend each season to Marie Kondo your life. Clear out the boots from last season and try to cull your collection of LBD's down to a joyful pair. Pay it forward and donate your best workwear to Dress for Success – a charity helping women get back on their feet and into employment with a stylish, confidence boosting wardrobe to take into interviews.