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Why I'm not making New Year's resolutions in 2024

Fed up with feeling pressure in January, content creator Sonya Barlow shares why she makes birthday resolutions instead of New Year's resolutions

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Did you know that around 80% of people fail their New Year's resolutions by mid-year? It's a common issue and I've been there, trust me.

I often wonder whether we make New Year's resolutions because we're pressured by other people and are thus setting ourselves up to fail as our heart isn't in the resolution.

Fed up with not keeping my resolutions, a few years back I decided to ditch the 'new year new me' mindset of January and figured why wait for the new year to work on self-improvement? After all, it's just a change on the calendar, and for most of us, it means little more than a day off (unless you work in retail).

Smiling woman at lunch
Sonya Barlow isn't making New Year's resolutions this year

I shifted away from making New Year's resolutions to focus on something different - birthday resolutions. My birthday is my new year, not January the first.

What are birthday resolutions?

My birthday resolutions are about making promises to myself with wellbeing in mind.

Some might call it selfish, but through my promises to myself, I set boundaries and commit to self-care rather than feeling burned out, damaging relationships, or teetering on the brink of a breakdown.

Lady sipping coffee outside
Sonya sets boundaries for her year ahead

I encourage everyone to consider birthday resolutions and make a commitment to themselves. Self-care isn't selfish; as you get older, it becomes increasingly important.

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What would your birthday resolutions look like and why? How will you maintain them without breaking them? Consider breaking them into smaller milestones to celebrate along the way.

Take your time with the new year to avoid making promises you may not keep. Your birthday is your opportunity to pause, reflect on your progress in health and spirit, and pledge to a brighter future. By the time I reach 32, these resolutions will have made me stronger in mind, body and soul, supporting my vision to save more, live sustainably, and explore the world.

These are the birthday resolutions I set this year…

I promise to prioritise my body over business

I've been dealing with chronic migraines and ADHD and they tend to flare up when I'm under pressure, whether it's from societal expectations, my workload or changing circumstances.

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Even though I have the freedom to manage my calendar as a business owner, it can be challenging, but it is a perk of the role. I want to make my body the main character by establishing a healthy lifestyle and wellness routine:

  • Go to the gym every other day for at least 30 minutes
Woman in pink in the gym
Sonya in the gym
  • Choose walking over taking the tube
  • Cook at least five dinners a week at home
  • Limit myself to just one evening event per week
  • Implement a 'do not disturb' policy on all technology between 9 pm and 7 am
  • Read at least one fiction book every month (I usually do this in the sauna; it's life-changing)
  • Go to bed by 10pm (I upgraded to a Simba mattress and it's been game-changing in my mission to go to bed early)

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I promise not to spend money on things I don't need

As a public speaker, there's an expectation to wear new and trendy clothes. However, with the economy in a crisis and my desire to be more sustainable, I'm shifting my spending habits to focus on what I need rather than what I want. Here's how:

Lady smiling in a grand setting
Sonya's birthday resolutions help her make time for self care
  • For every new purchase, I'll recycle or donate an old item
  • I'll sleep on a decision for 24 hours before making a purchase
  • I'll mix and match items inspired by mood boards on platforms such as Pinterest, TikTok, or Instagram

I promise to conserve my energy

Recently, my sister asked our family what a good day looks like. It took me a moment to reply, but I realised it's all about having a day filled with chai, conversations, and homemade food.

I'm a simple soul, while social media tends to complicate everything. Since turning 30, I've become more confident in defining my version of fun and setting boundaries when necessary.

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If it doesn't serve my energy, it's not for me. That's why my final birthday resolution has a dual purpose - conserving my energy and exploring:

  • Try something new every month (such as ordering a unique coffee or tea during meetings)
  • Travel at least once a quarter, looking for off-peak fares, hotel discounts, and off-the-beaten-path destinations
  • Give everyone a second chance
  • Check-in with my feelings every morning
  • Prioritise rest at the weekends (challenging for entrepreneurs, believe me)

Follow Sonya Barlow on Instagram for wellbeing hacks and career advice

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