10 Resolutions for the New Year
As betwixtmas nears its end and we start looking ahead to the new year, one’s thoughts inevitably fall to one’s new year’s resolutions. The tradition of the new year’s resolutions is age old, dating back to 153 B.C, as the month of January was named after Janus, a mythical early Roman god. Janus was a two-headed god, one face looking backwards, and the other looking forwards, allowing him to be able to see both the past and future as one, forgiving the crimes of the past and granting the wishes of the future. In worship of the god, it was a common Roman practise to resolve to start anew for the new year, praying to Janus for forgiveness and to bless them in the new year.
And as Aldous Huxley once said that, ‘there is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving and that’s your own self.’ So, with that said, if you’ve decided that this is going to be your year, permit me to offer some well-worn but useful resolutions that every Undandy should consider when compiling his own.
· Turn the phone off
According to research at the University of California, we’re consuming roughly three times the amount of information as we did in 1960. Though perhaps a touch dramatic, smart phone addiction is like any addiction. For most of us that remember the days pre-smartphones, switching off regularly, though easily said, can actually be fairly difficult to follow through on. But to name just a few of the benefits of increased memory retention, quality time spent with loved ones, improved productivity levels, are all things that will benefit you long term and actually make you happy.
· Read more
Confucius said ‘No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading or surrender yourself to self chosen ignorance.’ Although this might land on the more dramatic side of reasons why one really ought to try to read more, just remember that reading reduces stress levels, helps improve your short term memory and concentration. And a break spent away from screen time is surely time well spent, not to mention for the sheer joy of immersing yourself in.
· Travel more
On that note, St Augustine said the world is a book and those who don’t travel read only a page. Travel is not only good for the ‘sole’ but helps to expand horizons both literally and metaphorically. Though in recent times, ‘the tourist’ is gaining a bad repuation with the increase of budget flights, cheap Air BnB accommodation pushing out the locals etc…there will always be a way to travel the world consciously. Plan ahead, follow Frost and take the road less travelled and you’ll see what a difference a change of scenery and a new perspective can bring to your everyday routine and life. Bon voyage!
· Stop believing that good things will fall at your feet
As with anything worthwhile, a little effort is always necessary and goes a long way. Although Roger Federer and Cristiano Ronaldo all had genetic biases which helped them at the top of their game, it takes an awful lot of hard work and determination to become the greatest. In the book Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell calculated that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in any chosen field.
· Exercise more
Perhaps one of the most obvious resolutions in this list, but again something that will benefit you long term, and not only in increasing your aerobic capacity and muscle size. Regular exercise is proven to relieve depression, sharpen memory, and generally improve your levels of happiness. Mental and physical perfection? It’s a win win. Just power through the pain and you’ll surely gain.
· Prioritise sleep
The etymological urban legend that links many European languages with the formulation of the word 'night' by adding a ‘n’ to the word for ‘eight’ would perhaps suggest that eight hours of sleep per night is the perfect amount one should be sleeping. In the online world where it can seem that business never sleeps, make sure that you prioritise sleeping just as you would do your emails and try to get at least 7-9 hours. The key here is to work smarter not more and being fully charged for the day ahead will certainly help.
· Keep a journal
Unless you’re a budding Hemingway or suffering from bouts of amnesia, writing a daily journal can seem to be pretty low in an unassuming gentleman's list of priorities. However if you’re striving towards better mental health for 2019, journaling can surprisingly help boost your mood, help to reduce symtoms of stress and improve your working memory. Aristotle said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” And perhaps once you begin to unwravel daily life and curate your own perspective on this, you’ll begin to clarify not only life around you but also the shape you inhabit within it.
· Learn a new skill
Your brain is a muscle and therefore should be exercised as often as possible. When you engage in learning new skills, the white matter in your brain called myelin becomes denser, which over time increases your learning ability. So, whether it be a new language, cooking class or a new sport in your past time, never underestimate the importance of trying something new. Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?
The benefits of regular mediatiaton have long been extolled and endorsed by many leading entrepreneurs including Jeff Weiner, Ray Dalio and Marc Benioff. Even if you’re a spiritual skeptic, taking five minutes a day to control and regulate your breathing and take a moment of reflection can only ever be a good thing in this day and age.
· Wear good shoes
After all, one should always execute any resolution in superior style, starting from the sole up.
Here’s to good health, good principles and above all, good shoes.