5 New Year's Goals We All Need... and How to Achieve Them

5 New Year's Goals We All Need... and How to Achieve Them

Navigating your way into the new year doesn't require a complete road map... but knowing a few directions, tips, and things to look out for on your way, can help your journey go a little smoother.

It's been a great year for getting to know ourselves; to reflect and see what we've already been through, what we've so far overcome, what didn't work for us, and what we can do more of. 

Personally, we've weathered ALOT of challenges throughout 2022, things like finances, health, family and relationships, as many of us do. Add in multiple, non definitive MH diagnoses, self-employment, eviction, navigation of MH support and obstacles around obtaining medication, plus various instances of what can only be described as police brutality, and that about sums up our year of '22.

It's been a tough one, but from those challenges, I can honestly and genuinely present to you:

5 New Year Goals We All Need

PITSTOP Social Petrol Head Automotive Lifestyle Clothing Streetwear Fashion Brand


1. "The Drive"

EXERCISE

Your car benefits from being driven: A regular drive charges the battery, keeps all parts moving freely, prevents flat spots on your tyres, and a good blast down the bypass every-so-often keeps carbon deposits from building up in your engine. Your body isn't too different. 

Regular movement has more to offer than just the physical benefits that many of us are often focused on.

Exercise not only creates dopamine (one of our happy chemicals), but it also creates new dopamine receptors. This hormone and it's receptors affect movement, emotions, and the reward system in the brain (

"In people who are depressed, neuroscientists have noticed that the hippocampus in the brain‚ÄĒthe region that helps regulate mood‚ÄĒis smaller. Exercise supports nerve cell growth in the hippocampus, improving nerve cell connections, which helps relieve depression." ¬†Health Harvard.edu (2021)

JDM Social Car meet gathering

You're maybe thinking, that's great, but how do you get yourself to exercise when you're experiencing low mood, low energy, already feeling defeated before you've tried, or totally just not in the mood?

It's beyond hard to get started,
It's not just you.

When you’re tired, depressed, or stressed, your thoughts will tell you that exercise will make you feel worse. But we're not talking laps of the 'ring here... When you're struggling, try to negotiate a quick, 5-minute walk with yourself.

Lots of sources suggest, that if you begin thinking of physical activity as a priority - as a necessity for your mental wellbeing - then it becomes easier to create time and motivation for it 
(Robinson, Segal, and Smith, 2022).


"Life is not a race. Sometimes you've got to lift 'n coast till you're able to refuel." JDMClare (2022)
 

Psychologists such as Dr. Julie Smith (p.56) recommend starting with something small that is likely to bring you joy, because if you enjoy what you're doing, it has the potential to be something you continue to do. 

Mick's Shiba from PITSTOP Social JDM Evening 2021
 
Personally - I have a rule that my human vessel needs at least 60 minutes of outdoors every day, and that can look different for me every day, too. Sometimes its standing outside for 5 or 10 minutes at a time with a drink, paired with walking with the dog for 20 minutes twice a day, or just being outside of the house in bursts of opportunity. 

It's a guideline I've set for myself because when I do it, I feel better. Setting a goal that also makes me feel good, is something small I can maintain when my MH gets low. This means that I can achieve at least part of it, even with low energy, and I know it's going to have a positive impact.
 

Find something small that you enjoy - make it a priority for your mental wellbeing¬†ūüíö


PITSTOP Social Petrol Head Automotive Lifestyle Clothing Streetwear Fashion Brand

 2. "The Fuel" 

NUTRITION

It's well known amongst true petrol-heads that lower grades of fuel = degraded performance. If my choice of fuel is ever restricted for some reason, I'll always top up with premium when it's available to me again. 

Sometimes we can't always fuel ourselves, either... The food supplies are low, the food shop hasn't yet been done, or the energy / mental capacity to produce¬†a nutritious feed for our body just isn't there. I hear you. But here's some reasons that fuelling your body¬†is going to benefit your mental health ūüíö...

Mazda NA6 Engine from PITSTOP Social JDM Car Event 2021

"Our digestive system produces over 90% of all serotonin (the ‚Äėhappy‚Äô hormone) in our body" -
Nicholls (2020). 

We Need Carbohydrates to Focus
Concentrate and focus requires brain power - 20% of all energy needed by the body is used to power the brain. We get this energy from blood glucose via carbohydrates.

When the brain doesn't have access to enough fuel, we feel tired, weak, and experience brain fog.

Regular refuels containing some carbohydrates will both help prevent and relieve this. 
 

Food and Low Mood
Low mood, irritability, and even anxiety can be contributed to by rapid changes in blood glucose levels. Fuelling up on foods that release energy slowly (like oats, cereals, nuts and seeds), and aiming to eat smaller portions throughout the day, is a good way to maintain steady blood glucose levels (Nicholls, 2020); a base foundation for a more stable mood.  

 
Food for Thoughts and Feelings
Our brains also require amino acids from food (obtained through proteins), used to help regulate our thoughts and feelings. A variety of vitamins and minerals are also a key player when it comes down to our MH performance. It sounds like a lot, maybe too much effort at times, but begin small, even if it's consciously adding to your water intake!

PITSTOP Social Talking about food for thoughts and feelings

"What is one small change I could put in place today that would improve my nutritional intake? Then repeat this every day". Dr Julie Smith (p.60-61) 

Personally - I really struggle with food. I often forget to eat, usually because I'm either too busy, too excited, too emotional, or too low. I sometimes leave reminders for "dinner time!", and "have you eaten yet?" on my phone.

It helps me to have some basic items that are low effort to prepare, and healthy snacks in the fridge to get/ keep me going. This is where shopping lists are key. I also find it really useful to have some low maintenance recipes, though I have to write these down, 'else they're lost to brain fog when I need them!

I try to consciously enjoy preparing each meal "with love" because it helps motivate me to eat/ cook in the future, recalling those positive vibes and remembering what food is about 
ūüíö

PITSTOP Social Petrol Head Automotive Lifestyle Clothing Streetwear Fashion Brand

3. "The Maintenance"

SLEEP

 "Sleep is closely connected to mental and emotional health... During sleep, the brain works to evaluate and remember thoughts and memories... it appears that a lack of sleep is especially harmful to the consolidation of positive emotional content." - Suni and Dimitriu (2022)

OK.. I'm not going to try too hard to draw similarities between our motors and our minds, but I will talk about sleep akin to maintenance.

It's clear from studies that our brains need quality sleep for learning and processing, developing memories and evaluating thoughts (Suni and Dimitriu, 2022). So when we're sleeping, our brain is working, regulating and maintaining our minds for the day ahead, whilst also processing the day behind. 

Maintaining healthy sleep shows clear links to tip top performance. 
So how do we get the basics right?

PITSTOP Social talks on Sleep Automotive Car Scene

Getting good quality sleep is a skill, but it's also a built-in biological mechanism. Our "circadian rhythms" work in regulating our wake and sleep patterns. Our body-clocks control most of our circadian rhythms, which influence various factors, such as daily wakefulness, when we start to feel sleepy, body temperature, and direct the release of sleepy hormone, melatonin (NIH.gov, 2022).

 Listening for when your body regularly lets you know - it's time for bed - and respecting that, is a good place to begin for better sleep. 
 

There's lots of information online surrounding "better sleep", and much of it is repetitive. Some of the most consistent tips I've visited (across many of my own sleepless nights) are listed below. This non comprehensive list is a great way to review the basics of your sleep routine and give yourself the best start for not only the day ahead, but also the best opportunity to process the day behind...
  

Sleep Basics from PITSTOP.Social


Sleep Basics


ūü§ć¬†Establish a Sleep Routine¬†- Aim to go to sleep and wake up at the same time, give your body a sleep schedule where you are able to... The amount of sleep we need varies by individual, but as a guide,¬†The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (2022) recommend that the adult body needs 7 hours of quality sleep.¬†

ūü§ć¬†Create the Right Sleeping Environment - block out lights, create the right ambience with a timed sleep playlist, and make a comfy sleeping space. A ready made bed can make all the difference. Researchers have kindly identified for us that 18 degrees C is the optimum room temperature for sleeping for the majority of adults (Pacheco and Wright, 2022).

ūü§ć¬†Wind Down for Bed¬†- avoid going to bed full, hungry, or thirsty, reduce screen activity and brightness, prep your alarms (etc.), put your phone aside, TV off, giving your body and mind time to adjust, ready to relax. Mind (2022) very helpfully suggest various relaxation, meditation, and visualisation techniques focused on¬†preparing for sleep (see resources and reference links at the end of this article).

ūü§ć¬†Keep a Pen and Paper Nearby¬†- Sometimes the best ideas and the worst of thoughts can come to us as we get into bed. When we get the signal to sleep, we can become anxious about all the things we need to do, or have forgotten to get done. It can be useful to keep a sleep diary for the things that keep you awake. Some sticky notes¬†nearby are also useful for things you'd like to get out of your mind before bed, or just reminders for the next day.¬†

If you are struggling with your sleep or connected issues, it's time to seek some support. Make it a priority for your well-being to speak with a professional. Resources found at the end of the post ūüíö

PITSTOP Social Tips for Better Sleep

 
PITSTOP Social Petrol Head Automotive Lifestyle Clothing Streetwear Fashion Brand


4. "The Enjoyment"

HOBBIES & INTERESTS

Whether it's spending time with your car, your camera, or yourself, it's so important to find stuff you enjoy doing. Research supports this, highlighting that time spent on activities you actually enjoy, can improve your mental health and wellbeing; reducing stress, low mood, and depression (Dr McCabe, 2021).

During episodes of low mood (diagnosed by my MH Facilitator as 'extreme depression'), I would often question what value I had to offer the world, what I would do without cars, along with asking myself why I was so persistent in maintaining this relationship of 10 years with rusty MX5s. Reflecting in a positive way, appreciating years of unforgettable and irreplaceable memories through the community, would eventually challenge that negative spiral of thoughts, and one day, that question for me changed.

 "What would I be doing with my weekends if I wasn't so interested and involved with the automotive scene?" 

After revisiting evolutions of this questioning thought more often, it's actually become a motivating process, a way of identifying my core needs. Take away cars and their influence, and I endlessly appreciate nature, am intrigued by all things colourful, and fascinated by the happenings in the wild. Identifying these values has helped me recognise the need to plan in time for activities, exploring other avenues, and connecting with things that bring me joy.

PITSTOP Social Automotive Mental Health Event

There is a term known as 'social prescribing' increasingly recognised to aid a range of positive health and well-being outcomes... "Social prescribing is a way of linking people with sources of support within the community to improve their health and wellbeing" 
Smithson (2022).

Quality of life and emotional wellbeing, mental and general wellbeing, and levels of depression and anxiety, are identified factors improved by social prescribing, which encompasses a number of models. Although no medical degree is held here, (I do have an outstanding award in Event Management), socialising and bringing people together, is something I'm passionate about and quite proud to be recognised for. Dr Julie (p.63) emphasises that 

"The more time you spend making real connections with other people, the more you will start to improve your mental health"

Make it a goal of '23 to attend more social activities, beginning with small scale social events if that's what you need.

 

PITSTOP Social Events Bringing Mental Health into Common conversation

PITSTOP.Social was founded as a core source of support within the automotive community.
Join us at an event sometime¬†ūüíö

 
You can check out our past and future events here
  

PITSTOP Social Petrol Head Automotive Lifestyle Clothing Streetwear Fashion Brand

5. "The Journey"

CORE VALUES

A phrase that I think many of us can appreciate a version of, is "It's in the journey, not the destination", and the more you think about it, the more that message offers a great and valuable lesson.

For me, it comes down to focusing on core values, living life with enjoyment, being true to myself, and working on finding a little piece of happiness and gratitude in every day.

Being kind, patient, and expressing empathy - being compassionate with yourself and others - is part of the journey, and comes with some additional benefits...

Science supports that connecting with ourselves and others through compassion helps us enjoy better mental health via increasing a sense of connection, lowering the risk of anxiety and depression, lowering stress levels, raising self-esteem, and enhancing a more positive outlook on life (Mental Health Foundation, 2022).

PITSTOP Social Supra Sunset Event Photography

Compassion and Core Values

Working out our core values (for example, curiosity, kindness, gratitude), can help us figure out goals that are inline with those values. This type of self-knowledge can be used in setting up every-day actions for growth and direction, connecting our core value to the meaning and purpose in our lives (Dr Julie, p.279).

I'm actively balancing so many thoughts, tasks, responsibilities, feelings and emotions, that my needs can often feel unmet. I'm slowly learning that I need to take the time to listen to myself in a healthy way, with a positive tone, and find out what will bring me inline with my values. This requires talking to myself with compassion, and prevents me from reaching burnout (a phrase I learned far too well, far too often throughout '22!)


#BURNOUTSARENTCOOL

If you've noticed that Dr Julie is quoted multiple times throughout this post, that is because her number 1 best seller, Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?¬†is a brilliant read. It's described as a box of tools¬†to navigate life's ups and downs, and for what it's worth, I highly recommend a copy as an essential for any home¬†ūüíö¬†

PITSTOP Social Mental Health Automotive Events UK


PITSTOP Social Petrol Head Automotive Lifestyle Clothing Streetwear Fashion Brand

The Great Journey of 2023

Creating this post has been really challenging, insightful and motivational for me, and I hope you've found something that resonates for you, too. 
For me, '23 will consist of identifying my immediate core values and how they can be exercised towards development and positive change in every day... To achieve such, my foundations will be built around the 5 goals laid out above. I'd love to hear your goals, too! Reach out on social media if you're willing to share and connect :) 

Whether you joined us during '22, or are discovering us in '23, thank you for being part of the journey. A special thank you to my partner, Ricky at Carfectionery for fuelling the movement with us, and Tom at TopDownMedia for snapping the positive action throughout the year!

Some final thoughts I'd like to share with you...

You can join in with the PITSTOP.Social Automotive X Online Community Network

You're invited to attend PITSTOP.Social Events, Trips, and Gatherings

You can join the PITSTOP.Social Ambassador Project to help us Fuel Mental Health Awareness

If you're able to work on one thing, make this a year of making the mental health conversation, a common conversation. 

With premium vibes, 

Clare x


Clare Rust Flakes Carfectionery
 
PITSTOP Social Petrol Head Automotive Lifestyle Clothing Streetwear Fashion Brand
 


PITSTOP.Social Resources, Links and Support

 

PITSTOP Social Petrol Head Automotive Lifestyle Clothing Streetwear Fashion Brand


REFERENCES

Mental Health Foundation (2022) Kindness Matters Guide.

Mind (2022) How to Cope With Sleep Problems

Nicholls (2020)
Smithson (2022)

 

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