Definition: New Year’s resolution (n). – A firm decision made on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day to do or refrain from doing something over the course of the coming year.
Much like the goals we set for ourselves, the Oxford Dictionaries’ definition of a New Year’s resolution is non-specific. We might decide to exercise more, eat better, or become more mindful, but we rarely outline the granular, more achievable steps to actually get there. Perhaps, that’s why so many of us give up on our new plans by mid January, or forget about them altogether.
Andrew Ferebee, Founder of Knowledge For Men, would agree. He argues that one of the main reasons we fail to form new habits is because we’re attempting to do too much, too soon. Similarly, James Clear, author, entrepreneur and photographer, encourages embracing the impact of small gains. He explains that making a 1% daily improvement will help your motivation and willpower improve overtime, thus also making it more likely that you’ll stick to your new habit in the long run.
A Year of Living Slower: An Experiment to Live Better
The majority of our New Year’s resolutions aim to make us feel happier or healthier in some way, but often as Ferebee mentions, we’re impatient to reach the end goal which results in us setting unrealistic targets. To apply some slow living principles to this conundrum, we’re considering the small, specific changes we can gradually build up to try and improve our health and happiness in an achievable way.
We’ve designed A Year of Living Slower, a year of 12 monthly experiments that responds to today’s fast pace of life and focuses on improving well being by being more present and making conscious decisions. See our themes for slow living below:
January: Slow Living & Sleep
January explores the importance of sleep for our health and discusses the impact of creating bedtime rituals.
February: Slow Sundays
February embraces the idea of scheduling downtime and discusses ideas for slow living-inspired Sundays.
March: Slow Food
March encourages us to see joy in the mindful process of cooking from scratch and being conscious of where our produce has come from.
April: Slow Living & Getting Outdoors
April embraces the great outdoors and the power of getting back to nature during Spring.
May: Slow Travel
May talks about the power of a change of scenery and how to enjoy each destination more deeply.
June: Slow Tech
June explores our relationship with technology and how smartphones have created an always-on culture.
July: Slow Living & Seeing Things Differently
July focuses on the impact of making small changes to your routine and being more mindful on your commute.
August: Slow Summer Evenings
August encourages us to spend as much time outside as possible and make the most of the longer evenings.
September: Slow City
September discusses ways to slow down the rat race and explores London’s quiet spots.
October: Slow & Sustainable
October reflects on conscious decisions we can make to live more sustainably.
November: Slow Living & Self-Care
November encourages us to consider ways we can embrace moments of self-care and combine learnings from previous months.
December: Slow Christmas
December shares ideas around a more meaningful and mindful Christmas.
Instead of setting unattainable New Year’s resolutions, we hope this challenge, which is slow in nature, will outline areas where we can individually benefit from making small changes and focus on living better, rather than faster. Get involved and share your experiences with the hashtag #AYearOfLivingSlower.
We successfully completed A Year of Living Slower in 2019, but you can take the challenge during any year, or just try a certain month’s theme. Please note that the challenge was designed pre-COVID-19 and some themes may be less relevant right now.
In 2020, we focused on choosing a guiding word for the year.