Building a routine in 2022
Why “new year, new me” can stay in 2022.
This is an ACTUAL guide on how you can build routine into 2022, a guide that promises death towards clichéd, motivational quotes from a millennial’s post on Facebook.
Okay, let me set the scene. It’s December 31st 2021 and the clock is rapidly approaching midnight. You’ve got a drink in your hand, the music is blasting, and an atmosphere of anticipation is looming. Ordinarily, I would go on to describe hugging random strangers as the clock hits midnight.
However, for the sake of realism, and in typical Covid-19 style, you were probably forced into self isolation. Spending New Years in your dressing gown, with a box of leftover Quality Streets and a glass of wine (this may or may not be based on personal experience).
But one huge factor of New Year’s Eve never seems to change.
I could write essays about how much I despise the whole resolutions conversation. It becomes almost a rite of passage for January small talk. Everyone and their dog universally needs to know how you plan on bettering yourself, what goals you need to achieve, how much weight you’re going to lose.
We even do it to ourselves, putting huge pressure to obtain unreasonable targets, spending money on gym clothing that’s three sizes too small, convincing ourselves we are going to get fit by the end of the month.
The bottom line here is I think that this notion is unrealistic and damaging. As the age old saying goes – “you can’t hate yourself into a version you love”.
This resonates with me instead of an in-your-face quote about motivation and goal setting because it encompasses the importance of self-acceptance.
So what does this have to do with building routine in 2022?
Personally, I used to approach the new year in one of two mind-sets:
A. Massive January blues, feeling sorry for myself that Christmas is over, and I have to wait a whole month before payday.
C. Overly empowering independent goal setting woman, who must achieve an ungodly amount of success and riches before the end of March.
Both approaches are equally as problematic. One results in a negative attitude, whilst the other is unsustainable and would result in a burnout.
So how do we find the middle ground, how do we find an option B?
Option B is all about sustainable results, its about appreciating the individual you are before trying to rip yourself apart to start all over again.
Option B involves reflection and appreciating all the strengths you demonstrated from the previous year.
The first activity I would recommend to get into this headspace is either mentally make a note of all your achievements from the last year and positive qualities.
This can be as simple as getting out of bed or opening the door for someone. Then make another list of all your positive traits. For example, I am proud to be loyal.
This isn’t about forcing yourself to feel amazing, and I can’t promise that this will change your whole year entirely, however it’s a good building block towards accepting who you are.
This is critical, as to stick to a routine you need to build yourself up and remind yourself of what you can achieve.
From here option B values pro-active approaches towards a better year. You set small and manageable changes for yourself – again NOT resolutions.
For example, this could be making your lunch the night before work to save stress.
It doesn’t matter if you forget one day. Just try again, there is no room to fail here. Unlike a concrete resolution, this removes the pressure. You take it in your own time and in a way that benefits your wellbeing only.
This is highly important when trying to achieve a new routine – consistency is key, as this is where habits are most likely to form. Finally, and in my opinion the most important aspect of option B is that you reward yourself.
This can be as simple as saying “although I don’t feel like facing work, I will buy myself a coffee afterwards”.
This will help you focus on getting through the day and having something to look forward to, rather than be in a state of constant stress.
Sometimes, all we can do is make it through each day, and to be honest, that is enough. I feel that resolutions don’t reflect how chaotic modern life can be. It’s important to recognise that we don’t always have influence over how our routine functions, – life, children and family can sometimes get in the way.
Giving yourself small rewards in between tasks enables you to take the control back, and ensures you make time for yourself to recharge.