Before you even think about making a New Year’s Resolution, why not take a moment to appreciate everything you achieved in 2021? It’s been another 12 months of dealing with pandemic stress and #WFH life on top of everything else life throws at you, so just getting through it is worth celebrating.

With this in mind, it makes sense for our 2022 New Year’s Resolutions to be as flexible and friendly as possible. We really don’t know what the first few months of the year will bring – our social lives could become socially distanced again – so there’s no point setting yourself a target that’s too rigid or onerous.

This slideshow contains seven ideas for New Year’s Resolutions that could help to boost your physical, financial and emotional wellbeing without sucking all the fun out of life. Here’s to a 2022 where you make small changes that really work for you.

Bring in lunch twice a week

It’s a nice idea to think that you’ll bring a packed lunch to your office every single day but realistically, unless you’re some sort of culinary wizard, it’s not going to happen and you’ll just feel bad.

Aim instead for a happy medium. Go for two days a week. And don’t fret over which days it should be; any day you’ve got leftovers from dinner, bung them in a Tupperware and bring them along.

If you’re getting to the end of the week with no leftovers in sight, then go and buy the bits from Sainsbury’s for a sandwich. The bread and ingredients will last you the rest of the week.Photo: Alexandra Gavillet

Get into bed earlier

“Get more sleep” is potentially the most dangerous resolution of all. Because the more you think about getting more sleep, the less you’re likely to get. Sleep depends on being relaxed, and how relaxed are you going to be if you’ve spent £800 on a new mattress, sleep-optimising pyjamas and a sleep tracker and you’re just lying there waiting for them to work their magic?

So, stop saying you’re going to go to sleep earlier, and instead, aim to be in bed an hour earlier three times a week. If you normally go to bed at midnight, aim to be in bed, reading a book, with your phone plugged in across the other side of the room, by 11pm, on the three nights a week you don’t have anything on.photographed by Ben Ritter; styled by Jen Steele; makeup by Min Min Ma; modeled by Sabornee/Click Models.

Do Meat Free one Day

Meat Free Monday is probably called “Meat Free Monday” because alliteration sounds better. Therefore, don’t get in too much of a tizzy if your flatmate kindly makes you a huge, delicious, bacon-filled carbonara as a surprise on a particularly depressing Monday. Dig into it and go meat-free on Tuesday instead. Literally no one will care.

See also: Veganuary. Who says it has to be a whole month? Someone who liked how the words ‘vegan’ and ‘January’ sounded together, that’s who. Try doing ‘vegan two days a week’ or ‘vegan weekdays’. You’re much more likely to succeed and feel better about yourself.Photo: Ted Cavanaugh

Exercise once more a week than you’re already exercising

If gymming isn’t in your current lifestyle then committing to go to the gym every single day of the week is an absolute disaster of an idea. By day two, your legs will be so destroyed from squats that you’ll be forced to take the rest of the week off and boom; you’ll feel like you’ve let everyone down.

Instead, commit to just one sesh a week. Find out how the gym works, what time of day you do your best gymming, and what kind of exercise suits you. Don’t fall into the trap of signing up for expensive exercise classes if your local leisure centre could work just as well for you.

Once you feel comfortable with this, the option is there to build up a bit, but as long as you never go under that once-a-week commitment, you’ve never failed.

If you already exercise a fair bit, then commit to one more 30-minute exercise session a week. Remember though, fast walking counts, so if you can’t get to a class or do a run, get off the bus a few stops earlier and fast-walk to your house like the champion you are.Photo: Caroline Tompkins

Go three consecutive days each week without drinking

Some people make the mistake of resolving each new year not to drink during the week. It’s a sensible idea, although many people who’ve tried and succeeded have found themselves, in the words of mid ’00s lad-rock band Hard-Fi, “living for the weekend”. Being chaste throughout the week is pointless if you’re just going OTT as soon as it’s Friday night.

If you are a regular drinker and you do want to scale back on your drinking, though, this piece of government advice from 2012 can be quite helpful; make sure that each week, every week, you have two consecutive “dry” days. That’s not to say you’ll drink for the other five days, it’s just that the “consecutive days” element forces you to add a level of mindfulness to your alcohol consumption that you may not have previously employed.

Most likely, you’re already doing the two-day thing anyway – if you are, then congrats; you’ve nailed another resolution.

Save just one type of money

Saving is not an easy thing to do. Personally, I’ve got a direct debit that goes into a savings account every time I get paid but, realistically, by the end of the month, I’ve dipped my greedy fingers into it and extracted almost as much as I’ve put in.

So yeah, don’t do that.

Choose a low denomination you rarely get – a pound coin, a two pound coin or a fiver – and put it to one side each time one comes into your possession. At the end of the year, add it up. Chances are you’ll have made a couple of hundred at least.Photo: Meg O’Donnell

Switch your coffee for a cheaper coffee

Another money-saving technique; rather than forgoing shop-bought coffee altogether (another outrageously tough resolution to make), instead opt for a filter coffee. At Pret they cost just 99p and they taste pretty darn good tbh.

If you live or work close to a Pret, it might be worth considering their coffee subscription. For £20 a month, you’re entitled to order up to five barista-made drinks (including teas and hot chocolate) every day, which is amazing value if you make use of it. Leon has an even cheaper coffee subscription at £15 a month.

Also, if you bring in your own cup (environment saving and all that), plenty of places give you a discount for being a good friend to Mother Nature.Photo: Kate Anglestein

Use social media more mindfully

We all know someone who’s quit Instagram cold turkey – and quite frankly, good on them. Even Lush left the ‘gram in 2021. But for most of us, cutting down quite so drastically probably isn’t realistic.

Instead, aim to reduce your doomscrolling by setting yourself manageable boundaries: no social media after 9pm, for example, or no social media when you’re sitting down at a restaurant or having drinks with friends. Some people like to give themselves one or two “social media windows” throughout the day – these are the only times they’re “allowed” to check Instagram, TikTok and the rest. Again, it’s a nice idea, but don’t sweat it if this feels too regimented for you.

It could make sense to adopt a similar approach with group chats, because they can also become a major time sponge. Once your friends know you probably won’t reply at midnight, they’ll start waiting until morning to send you that funny but in-no-way-urgent TikTok clip.

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