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Amanda’s Winter 2022/23 Newsletter Column

Resolutions or no resolutions ... in her latest column, Amanda looks to others for inspiration on a topic which appears to be wearing a bit thin.

I’ve noticed a shift in the past few years in the answers I hear to that perennial January question, “Have you made any New Year resolutions?”.

Maybe living through a pandemic has made us realise we’re more grateful with our lot than we thought, or that life’s more transient than we cared to think about. Maybe as I get older, the answers tend to come from more mature voices with a lot of life experience behind them. Or maybe I just know a lot of cynics!

The over-arching theme I hear seems to be one of why bother placing extra pressure on yourself. And if you do decide to set any, at least make them ultra-practical and easily achievable. Or just repeat last year’s which you didn’t achieve. That means you won’t bother beating yourself up if the same happens this year as you’ve already been through that. And you also have a ready response, whenever the dreaded question comes up, without having to waste energy thinking about it or feeling bad afterwards for your monosyllabic response of “no”.

The little I know about the history of making resolutions is one of their alleged purposes being to set you on the straight and narrow again after indulging yourself over the holiday period. Another element I remember once being told was to use the start of the year to reflect and wipe the slate clean so to speak; whether that be to repay debts, forgive yourself or others, or reconcile relationships which may need it.

Seems to me the first option is no longer considered to be a New Year resolution at all and has been superseded by taking part in dry January, Veganuary, or whatever ‘anuary’ you decide to follow! But it could certainly tick your New Year resolution box in 31 short days, so definitely ultra-practical and, with the current exorbitant cost of living, possibly far more easily achievable than when the country was in better shape.

The second option certainly seems to make more sense in terms of life satisfaction but doubt any on that list will fall into either the easily achievable or ultra-practical categories. Makes you wonder why we can’t re-name and use April Fool’s Day more productively for such slate cleaning, when the days are longer, sun higher in the sky and we don’t feel like we’re in the middle of our hibernation period in terms of energy levels.

So, perhaps it’s time to think outside the box as regards any resolutions this year. Perhaps I shouldn't be adding extra tasks or restrictions to monitor in my life for the next 12 months. Let's face it that only  encourages the little conscience monster that lives on my shoulder to shake its head before I’ve even formulated a thought about breaking one, let alone acted on it. Perhaps, instead, it’s time to relieve myself of one or more routine tasks and not feel guilty about doing so ... put that way, there are probably endless opportunities to simplify bits of life that get under my skin which might be in for a reckoning in the year ahead!


This column appeared in our Winter 2022/23 newsletter. If you would like future editions of our quarterly workplace wellbeing newsletter sent directly to your inbox, please sign up here.

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