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Tokyo Skytree sunrise – cropped to fit2/4
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7 simple new year's resolutions you can easily achieve in Tokyo

Fun, healthy and more realistic approaches to the promises we make ourselves every January

By Emma Steen
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They might bring about a heightened sense of new beginnings, but the rigid expectations many people set for themselves with new year's resolutions each year often lead to disappointment down the line. Let's face it – 2020 was difficult enough as it was, so don’t make this year even harder by subjecting yourself to a regimen of green juice and 7am workouts in a bid to lose that extra quarantine weight. 

Instead, embrace the opportunity to try new things, prioritise your wellbeing and plan for greater things ahead with more realistic solutions. Try swapping a cold-turkey approach to booze for low-alcohol cocktails and early-bird workout sessions for relaxing Zen meditation. By tackling the same old goals via alternative methods, 2021 might turn out to be your brightest year yet.

RECOMMENDED: 10 things to look forward to in 2021 in Tokyo and Japan

Sticking to it

Marie Kondo
Marie Kondo
Photo: fb.com/MarieKondo

Declutter your life

If you want to set the tone for a clean slate this year, start with a clean living space. There are plenty of decluttering methods to pick from, but Marie Kondo is definitely the face of the movement. Her best-selling book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ met with cult-like enthusiasm across the globe and even landed the organisational expert her own Netflix series, but beyond the hype, Kondo’s methods are regarded by many as revolutionary solutions.

Don’t feel overwhelmed by the amount of clutter that may have accumulated around your home, Kondo has an easy-to-follow eight-week tidying challenge that breaks your home makeover into manageable chunks. She's even got tips on organising your home workspace, too.

Laptop
Laptop
Photo: Unsplash/J. Kelly Brito

Learn something new

It may have been a few years since you were last in school, but with a plethora of free internet resources, you can now spend hours online studying a new language or learning fascinating historical facts about Japan from these popular podcasts. If you want the experience of delving into university lectures minus the stress of final exams or exorbitant tuition fees, there are even full semesters of online university courses you can take for free.

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Two people jogging through a park
Two people jogging through a park
Photo: wal_172619/Pixabay

Get in better shape

Forget the couple of extra kilograms you gained from staying home in lockdown – exercise is so much more than weight loss. By tuning in to these online fitness classes, you can beat the winter blues as well as keep your stress levels in check. If you'd rather get outdoors, Tokyo is full of friendly fitness classes, from running groups to dodgeball clubs.

Plus, we've got the city's most scenic jogging routes and cycling paths and there's the colourful new Nike sports park in Toyosu. It's got a basketball court, a skate park and more, all of which are free to use.

Kagetsu vegan ramen
Kagetsu vegan ramen
Photo: Kagetsu

Go plant-based for Veganuary

There was a time when vegans were met with confused looks when ordering food from Tokyo restaurants. There are plenty of Japanese dishes that don’t include meat, but even a simple bowl of soba without the fish-based dashi broth was simply unheard of until recently.

Now that more people are turning their attention to the environment and adopting sustainable habits, vegan cafés and restaurants are popping up all over, and even the city's chain restaurants are scrambling to accommodate green diners with tasty menu items free of all animal products. From plant-based ramen and meat-free yakiniku to vegan cookies and cakes, no one’s left out of the gastronomical adventures Tokyo has to offer.

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0% Non-alcohol Experience
0% Non-alcohol Experience
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

Drink less

Feeling sorry for your liver after one too many holiday toasts on Zoom? Going teetotal (or trying) can be a bit of a social dilemma when all your friends will want to do after the pandemic is make a beeline for the city’s most exciting bars. Not to worry, though, because we’ve got a list of bars serving low alcohol cocktails and mocktails to suit every kind of mood. 

Or spare your sleep schedule and get together over traditional Japanese tea instead. There are loads of styles to sample, from gyokuro and sencha to hojicha (roasted green tea) and genmaicha (roasted rice green tea) with Japanese tea.

Kyoto Taizoin temple in Kyoto
Kyoto Taizoin temple in Kyoto
Photo: Kyoto Taizoin/Facebook

Stress less and be more mindful

As it turns out, clearing your mind and doing absolutely nothing but breathing is way harder in practice than it is in principle. That said, mastering the art of Zen meditation is said to come with a boatload of benefits like improved focus and lower stress levels.

Here are some introductory videos for those looking to learn the traditional methods of Zazen meditation, though even doing simple breathing exercises with a background of soothing white noise could be transformative for your mental wellbeing

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Book
Book
Photo: Unsplash/Leohoho

Read more books

Perhaps you’ve already got a long reading list that you’ve been meaning to make a dent in, but who could blame you for being a bit distracted last year?

There’s nothing quite like the escape of getting lost in a gripping narrative. Though travel has been off the table for many in the past months, you can still make the trip through these stories set on the streets of Tokyo and best-selling books set in Japan.

Chin up for 2021

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