10 ideas for a better January

 

Non-controversial opinion: January is hard work. The short days, the weather, the pressure to start on that impressive but wildly ambitious resolution can add to the stress and anxiety which your New Year plans are so desperately trying to counteract. So, we have a different method. Embrace one or two of the ideas on this list and you’ll be set for a very happy January indeed. Controversial opinion: January is the best month.

 

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See

There’s so much on our doorstep. The England Coast Path will become the longest trail of its kind in the world this year and there are openings galore, from the National Open Water Swimming Centre in Brighton to the largest gardening project in Europe, RHS Garden Bridgewater.


Do

Take up scuba diving – becoming an Olympic sport for the first time this year – or ‘micro adventures’, exploring nature that’s close to you. Embrace the challenge, whether that’s hiking, biking or paddleboarding on the Thames.


Restore

Cull your social channels so you only engage with what you’re actually interested in. Try ‘forest bathing’, the Japanese practice shinrin-yoku, where you head to the woods and take it all in. Allow yourself to rest (season two of Sex Education and a new eight-part thriller The Stranger are coming to Netflix, just saying).


Volunteer

Actually make use of your workplace’s volunteering days. Build friendships with elderly residents at a cocktail party hosted in care homes by the charity Magic Me, or take part in beach cleaning with the Marine Conservation Society. Cook for Kitchen Social, a charity that provides hubs during school holidays for London children living in poverty.


Learn

Join a club and pick up a new skill. Cook recipes from a new recipe book or specific chef each month. Read actual books or embrace podcasts – research shows exercisers are 51% more likely to work out if they’ve saved an audiobook for the gym.

 

 


Achieve

Conquer an anxiety that holds you back. Do the thing you’ve been putting off for ages (that difficult conversation for example) and reward yourself afterwards. Start the side hustle you’ve been daydreaming about and see where it goes.


Trend-set

Wear an up-and-coming design label, buy from a fledgling start-up or try the new food stall before everyone else does. Get out your diary, do research and book into the launch nights for upcoming exhibitions and pop-ups.


Go

Head to 2020’s European Capitals of Culture: Rijeka, Croatia and Galway, Ireland. Visit Bhutan – on track to become the world’s first organic nation – or Uruguay, set to be a key destination this year. 


Champion

Make use of food sharing apps, such as OLIO, donate to a museum, publication or crowdfunding campaign you admire.


Appreciate

Practice gratitude and you’ll more easily find things to appreciate. Write an out-of-the-blue email to someone who encouraged you back at school or in your career. Make time to visit those people you never get round to see – you’ll benefit as much as they will.


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