I’ll start with a confession. I love New Year’s Resolutions. I start thinking about them back in November, and by the time this post-Christmas week rolls around, I’m absolutely dying for the New Year to start. Perhaps it’s also because my birthday is quite early in the year, in January, so it feels like a really fresh start.
In 2010, I couldn’t wait to shake off the old year, and it wasn’t just me. I remember sitting around with friends, and discussing how and why 2010 had been such a thoroughly appalling year all round. We deigned that 2011 was going to be ‘the year of getting what you deserve’ (for better or worse, I suppose!) Anywho, it really did work out that way. I finally got moving career wise, but more than anything, I actually managed to keep some semblance of my New Year’s Resolutions.
Despite my aforementioned lusting about them, I have frequently started out the year hepped up on lists and promises, running full force at a variety of ridiculous new hobbies, and burning myself out by March. Come March, my beautifully written, hopeful lists have crumbled to dust, my workout gear is rapidly getting eaten up by moths, and I’m teetering on bankruptcy due to all the ludicrous implements I’ve had to invest in for my new hobbies.
Back to the point. Last year was actually infinitely better, for just one good reason. I didn’t set myself ‘negative resolutions’. What I mean by that is, I didn’t have a single resolution that went along the lines of ‘Never, and I mean NEVER, eat biscuits’. They were all positive things, like ‘go to a music festival’. At the end of 2011, I found that I’d managed to keep a regular blog, throw a Royal Wedding party, go to my first concert (lame, but I’d always thought I’d rather just buy the CD and spend money on a proper night out…), go to my first festival (ALRIGHT, so I’m pathetic!), get my first ‘grown-up’ job, walk in a catwalk show, go to London Fashion Week, run Race For Life, become a regular contributor to an online fashion magazine, start my own business and become an ambassador for an amazing charity, amongst other things.
It worked because I started looking outwards. I also set myself goals about trying to think more about other people. One of the first challenges I set myself was making a copy of a jacket I owned that my little second cousin had taken a shine too, and that was probably one of my favourite things of the last year. I made it back in January, but she still wears it now! Too often, our Resolutions are all selfish, and often unreasonable: get thinner, get whiter teeth, go for a five hour run every morning, go from being single to married in twelve months, buy an amazing car, etc. I didn’t do any of those last year, I just set myself challenges, the most important of which was the following: to take every opportunity I could see.
If you keep your eyes open, you can change your life without even putting in a huge amount of effort. I’m a huge advocate of Twitter, and many of the positive things that have happened in the past year have been because I spotted an opportunity on Twitter, and took it. I even found my most recent job through The Mighty Twit. Do you know what? Life is just too short to keep holding yourself back. It’s a cliché, it’s all a cliché, but thinking like this worked for me. If you are holding yourself back, why? What are you scared of? Have no regrets, take every chance, just GO FOR IT.
I know it’s all sounding terribly naff and self-helpy. But 2011 has been a completely fantastic, different year for me than 2010, and so much of that has been due to my more positive state of mind. The world is absolutely full of possibilities, and you owe it to yourself to at least try. Whatever it is that’s holding you back, be it the fact that you only eat Super Noodles, or that you hate public transport, or that you’re in a rubbish relationship, just fix it and move on. Once you’re cleared the clutter from your life, you can focus on starting to achieve whatever it is you’ve always wanted.
Here are my suggestions for when you’re drawing up your Resolutions:
- Make it achievable – you’ve got to walk the line between aspiration and practicality. Keep it something that’s in your capabilities, for now. Remember, there’s always next year!
- Keep it positive – as I said, stick to challenges as opposed to huge lifestyle changes that you’ll never maintain.
- The more you try, the more good will come your way – things tend to feed into each other. You might be surprised as to what happens when you start making small changes.
- Put it on paper – if you’re writing a list, make it attractive, and put it on your wall, not just languishing in some mouldy old notebook.
- Don’t keep looking inwards – by all means, if you want to lose weight, go for it. But make sure you keep things balanced.
- Just say yes – the easiest way to make a change is to just start saying yes. Whether it’s event invitations, or giving someone a helping hand, just saying yes puts you on a good path. Keep it within reason though, don’t be the person who can’t ever say ‘no’…
- Pace yourself – trying to tick off everything on your list by the end of January is insanity. Try setting a new challenge at the beginning of each month, and you’ll keep your year interesting.
- Don’t join the gym…yet – ah, the classic resolution. Seriously, don’t kick off your year by outlaying huge amounts to the local fitness emporium. If you really are looking to shape up, start out by getting free workouts from YouTube. If, two months down the line, you want more, THEN join the gym.
- Small changes can be the most effective – if you don’t fancy a huge overhaul, keep it small. I’m taking this tip from one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever known: every time we’d go out to eat, he’d always have something different to eat. In fact, he would generally always try something new. Stop sticking to what you know. Adrian, I’m sending you a link to this post, because I want you to know I still remember your unique approach to life!
- Keep a blog – and finally, write it down. A blog is the perfect way to keep a record of what you’re up to. When you’re flagging, you can look back over the year and see all the different things you’ve done. I can’t recommend it enough.
So there we are, ladles and jellyspoons. I hope I’ve given you a bit of food for thought. Don’t be daunted by the new year, and don’t make the same mistakes you did last time. Be excited by life, be inspired, and be positive. You won’t have any regrets, I promise.
Whether you make the biggest change of your life in 2012, or you keep it small, good luck. You can do it!
Lots of love,