New Year’s resolutions are goals that people make to change something in the year ahead and live the life they want. A New Year’s resolution might help you try something new, or become a better version of yourself.

I have a learning disability and in this blog I will be sharing five aims for 2017. If you haven’t made any resolutions yet, you might want to try a few of them too!  I’ve given a few handy hints and tips to help you get started.

1. Saving money

I think it’s important to put money aside. I try to save money for nice things like a haircut, a pair of jeans, or a holiday, and for emergencies. By saving money I make sure not to cut into important money for bills and food.

Hints and tips  

  • Look for bargains and only buy what you can afford. Remember to take a look in charity shops to snap up a good deal! Mencap have opened some brand new shops, check them out!  
  • Save a bit each month and put it aside. You never know what might happen or when you might need it.
  • Keep all spare change in jar, every bit helps. Even one pennies!

2. Staying organised

It helps to be organised, especially if you live on your own and have bills to pay. It’s good to know what things have to be done.

Hints and tips

  • Keep a diary or calendar or use your gadgets to keep track of what you’re doing day-to-day
  • To keep track of the time, have a clock at the right time around the house, wear a watch or your gadgets should have a clock too
  • From my experience, it’s best to allow a lot of time to get ready in the morning, and allow plenty of time before travelling. Before going on a journey keep the radio or TV on for traffic alerts.

3. Speaking up for yourself

As someone with a learning disability, I have learnt it is so important to be assertive and speak up for my rights. If you have a learning disability, I’d encourage you to do the same.  

For example, if you have received bad customer service, or someone has been rude to you, speak up about it. If they are nice, they might give you a free token if they have not pleased you. I wasn’t pleased with a shop recently nearby me, so I went to complain and they gave me a free box of oranges, which I was happy about. Speak up for yourself, it can pay off.

Hints and tips

  • Write a letter or email to the person that you are bothered by. Ask a friend, family member or a support worker read it for grammar and how it comes across. Another good idea is to read it out loud before you consider sending it to make sure it makes sense
  • Always be polite but firm, people are more likely to listen
  • If you are speaking to someone face-to-face, practice what you want to say in front of the mirror
  • If you find it hard to speak up for yourself, ask for someone to help you. You could ask a friend or family member, or find an advocate. Advocacy is when somebody speaks up for you. Mencap runs an advocacy service, take a look. 

Finally, if you care about a matter in your local area, you can campaign with advice from Mencap. Check out Mencap’s campaigns here.

4. Learn something new

So it’s a new year and it’s a good chance to learn something new to further life and help you gain confidence. It worked for me, I was scared of going abroad but attempted it last year and it was great! Have a read of the blog I wrote about my travels in 2016. If you’re not into travelling then I recommend trying new things like cooking, dancing, sports, crafts, or even something practical like online banking

Hints and tips

  • Find out what you want to learn and how much it costs and whether you can do it with ease
  • Once you do the thing new try to keep at it if you can. The more you practice, the better you will get and the more confident you will feel.
  • If it goes wrong the first time, start again. Don’t give up straight away!

5. Cooking for myself

I like to make things that will freeze and are easy to prepare. Eating loads of ready meals can be expensive and unhealthy and dull. If you cook, you can add your own touch to dishes!

Hints and tips

  • Buy some good pans and baking dishes to get you started
  • Get a good cook book to give you some inspiration and new recipes to try
  • If you’re on a budget, think of some meals where you can make a lot in one go and freeze portions for another day

So what are your New Year’s resolutions for this year? Let us know on social media!

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