New year's resolutions: Some you probably will not keep and one you just might like to try early – Jim Duffy

It will all be over before you know it. Santa will be well gone, having cost us a small fortune.

Meditation costs nothing and no equipment is needed, just a quiet space and a bit of concentration, says Jim Duffy (PIcture: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images)
Meditation costs nothing and no equipment is needed, just a quiet space and a bit of concentration, says Jim Duffy (PIcture: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images)

The Christmas tree will be packed away with all its baubles wrapped in newspaper. The tinsel will be removed from window sills and a whole host of other inappropriate and random places.

Advent calendars will be burst with windows all ajar and chocolates consumed by eager kids. The next-door neighbours’ garish National Lampoon-like garden decorations will be removed. The Christmas dinner will be all over. And it will soon be time for all that rubbish we get on the TV at New Year. But, with the festive cheer behind you, what will 2021 look for you? Moreover, what resolutions will you make – and stick to?

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A new year is always an exciting chapter for so many of us. With all the Christmas shenanigans finished, we are ready to face another 12 months. We all want great things to happen in those months.

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Getting fit after the feast

None more so next year, than the dumbing down of Covid-19 and back to some form of normality. I cannot wait to stand at the bar of a pub and sip a pint of Scottish heavy, while perusing the gantry for a nice malt whisky chaser. I digress.

But, while we all crave a better 2021, we perhaps should start to plan it now, aim to put in place behaviours, habits and mindsets that will help us make progress and feel better. A resolution or two?

Shaolin monks meditate on a beach at Bognor Regis, England, in 2015 (Picture: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

Of course, having consumed so much food and drink over Christmas, many of us turn to weight loss, diets and exercise as the first resolution in a new year.

Having gorged on chocolate, cake, puddings, wine, pigs in blankets and roast potatoes our waistlines need some finessing. So, a gym membership seems the right thing to do. New year, new you, right?

The problem is it all seems like a good idea, but within two months, the motivation usually wears off. I know people who are still paying gym memberships from last January and gave up by March.

They just kept the direct debits going, just in case they made a comeback. The trick with this one is to plan for the long term. Aim for June to be fitter and stronger, not February in the middle of winter. This new year resolution business is a marathon, not a sprint. That way of thinking makes it worthwhile.

Eat more cabbage

Then we have that noble new year resolution of eating more healthily. To an extent, this sits well with a gym membership. But, in actual fact, it is more important.

Any good gym coach will tell you “abs are made in the kitchen”. So, what we eat is a large part of how successful our visits to the gym are. But, healthy eating is not an easy goal. Only this week, as I visited my local superstore, I was bamboozled with the range of foods, treats and offers to help make me get fat and pre-diabetic.

All the sugary foods and saturated fatty meals looked so good and were on special. Of course they were – they are cheap to produce and pack onto the shelves. The healthy stuff costs a fortune. Cheap booze, Mr Kipling cakes, buy-one-get-one-free muffins will not help that 2021 health kick.

So beware as you try to eat “clean” if you have to budget for it. It takes time to prepare fresh food and you have to plan this in. My tip – eat more cabbage. Cheap and the new superfood.

Next up is that age-old new year resolution of saving money. This is the year when you sort your finances and stop spending your precious cash on junk, offers, fads and gizmos. Financial discipline is the mantra and a 2021 budget is what is called for.

Only, like the gym membership, this one also fades fast. Getting rid of stuff one doesn’t need to buy is not easy. And 2021 is going to be tough. Car manufacturers, white goods sellers, airlines and clothing are going to be rammed down your throat as these sectors try hard to bring in cash.

You will be offered phenomenal deals that are mouth-wateringly tempting. And you will succumb. A consequence of which will be that financial rigour is busted and saved for another year. Who knows, maybe 2022 will be better in this regard. One thing that Covid has accelerated is our new need for living in the now and not worrying too much about 12 months down the line – right?

Slow down, switch off

So, all in all, we are not doing great with these traditional resolutions. The gym has gone by the by. Eating well is costing too much and has been usurped by the beige discount offering at the supermarket and as far as saving money – that ship has sailed.

But, there is one thing that we can work on in 2021 that may just make it a better year. And this one resolution costs nothing. How about we change our mindsets and try some meditation?

Taking time in each day next year to simply think nothing and be at one with our own selves. Just for 15 minutes each day. It costs nothing and no equipment is needed. No direct debit required. Just a quiet space and a bit of concentration.

Slow things down, switch off tech and TVs and think nothing. Maybe watch a few videos on “how to meditate” first? This is my 2021 gift to myself: 15 minutes each day, where I’m not thinking about the next hour, the next evening or the next week. I’m excited about it.

So, there you go, 2021 in 15 minutes. Time well spent that may even boost the rest of your New Year resolutions and put them into perspective. You could even practice this weekend in preparation for a fabulous 2021. Good luck!

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