22. Deep Dive: How to Keep New Year’s Resolutions & The Importance of Sleep

Deep Dive: New Year’s Resolutions

In-Depth Analysis with Alexandria

Make Resolutions You Can Keep

ALSO in PINK is the podcast all about lifestyle design. So, what does that mean? It’s essentially exploring who you are, who you want to be and how you want to live. To help you on your way, these deep-dive episodes go all-in on a particular topic. I’ll highlight a specific aspect of the KonMari Method, personal style or lifestyle. And I’m open to suggestions. If there’s something you’d particularly like to learn more about, drop me a line.

Today’s deep-dive episode focuses on New Year’s resolutions. Should you make them and how can you keep them? And what’s the one New Year’s resolution we should (really) all make?

It’s All About SMART Goals

  • S for Specific. Don’t leave any room for misinterpretation.
    Instead of the generic: I want to get fit, try something more specific, like: I want to be able to run 5K.
  • M for Measurable. Plan how to track your results. Hold yourself accountable. Use an app or a calendar or a piece of paper to track your progress. Schedule in time to run and put a lovely little tick on your calendar. Mark it on your app. Track your success.
  • A for Achievable. Set a realistic goal. A realistic New Year’s resolution. So I’m guessing it’s not going to be “qualify for the Olympics” if you’ve never done much in the way of fitness. Instead, how about: I’ll run three times each week.
  • R for Relevant. Make sure your New Year’s goal aligns with who you want to be: I’m committed to this New Year’s goal because I want to feel fit and strong. I want to be in the best shape of my life post-pandemic.
  • T for Time-bound. Break your goal down and set deadlines for each stage of the process needed to achieve your goal. So, something like: by the end of March, I want to be able to run 5K.

That’s why a programme like Couch to 5K is so effective. It’s a SMART goal in action. It gives you a specific goal. It breaks it down week by week. It holds you accountable. And it’s achievable – even for someone like me who is historically a terrible runner.

Sleep Is Your Superpower

If there’s one resolution we should all prioritise, it’s this: improve your sleep. Sleep scientist Matthew Walker has a fantastic MasterClass on this topic. He does a wonderful job of breaking down the science of sleep in terms we can all understand.

Matthew Walker’s 6 tips for better sleep:
  1. Regularity. Go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time every day (yes, weekdays and weekends). Even if you have a dodgy night of sleep, wake up at your usual time.
  2. Temperature. Keep it cool. Your brain and your body need to drop their core temperature in order to get to sleep and stay asleep. Aim for a room temperature of about 18°C or 65°F.
  3. Darkness. Darkness in the evening helps trigger the release of melatonin, a hormone that helps us feel sleepy. With that in mind, try to stay away from computer screens and mobile devices in the last hour before bed.
  4. Walk it out. Don’t stay awake in bed for long periods of time. If you can’t get to sleep after 25 minutes, instead of lying awake in bed, get out of bed and do something different.
  5. Be aware of the impact of alcohol and caffeine. As a rule of thumb, try to stay away from caffeine in the afternoon and the evening. And try not to go to bed too tipsy. Caffeine can decrease the amount of your deep non-rapid eye movement sleep: that deep restorative sleep. So, even if caffeine didn’t keep you awake in the night, you probably won’t wake up feeling refreshed the next morning.
  6. Have a wind-down routine. It takes time for your brain to feel ready for sleep. Help yourself out by disengaging from mobile devices an hour before you want to go to sleep. Instead, try to do something relaxing. Find a wind-down routine that works for you. And when you’ve found it, stick to that routine.

Take this MEQ test to help you figure out the best sleep cycle for you.

Make The Right Resolution For You

Take a step back and consider two things:
  1. Why do I want to make this specific change in my life? What are my motivations?
  2. Do I just want to do this because other people are doing it? Am I doing this because Sarah from next-door is doing it? Or because Mark said it was a good idea?

It’s all very well to be inspired by others, but focus on what’s right for you. What’s right for who you are now and who you want to be?

Theme or Resolution?

How about setting a theme for the year? This makes a nice alternative/addition to a resolution. Listen to the full episode for details.

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