Yep, I’m doing it. I’m talking resolutions. I find the topic such an interesting one for a variety of reasons but firstly, it’s clear there are three fairly distinct camps in this debate. The emphatic resolvers who wait all year for the big day to throw down lengthy lists full of plans and promises to kick a hundred habits, take over the world and look like Candice Swanepoel by the end of January.
Facing off with this up-and-at-’em crew are the equally emphatic opposers, who can’t stand the state of their January newsfeeds, full of fuzzy meal prep snaps and gym check-ins. Cue eye rolls and withering stares at the office.
Then there are the middle of the roaders. I know. Middle of the road, how exciting. They’re the ones open to new beginnings and not opposed to the timing. There may be a list but it’s a small one. Manageable. Intentional. But to my mind and more importantly, realistic. And incidentally, is there anything more exciting than actually making a decision, standing by it and seeing real-life changes? Any guesses which camp I’m shacked up in?!
I’m not advocating waiting all year to stack on a festive spare tyre only to unsuccessfully resolve to lose it a few weeks later. But if you’re serious about wanting to make genuine changes, be they physical or emotional, I can see the appeal. What’s the harm in using such a solid starting point? It’s reassuring; there is something so resounding about ‘January 1st’. Surely it is a perfect time to reassess your goals, switch up your mindset or pursue interests with renewed vigour. The first day of an empty calendar, a blank diary offering a clean slate.
I have general rules to live by and like to take stock of every now and then. Like anything else, they evolve and grow with me. Some come and go, others are a daily mantra but there are a few that feel particularly appropriate to note at this moment.
Be good to yourself. Body and mind. I’m not talking empty promises of spa days and long baths. I just about get a fortnightly hair wash so anything more would be unrealistic. What I mean is to really treat yourself respectfully. As a human. Consider your mind, take some time to be still. To breathe deeply, to stretch it out, to be mindful of what goes into your body. The key to keeping on track is to keep it simple. Small incremental changes might not appeal to the impatient, but they’re the most likely way to make it a success story rather than a ditched dream.
Fake it ’til you feel it. The culture in which I’ve been raised doesn’t lend itself to positive self-reflection. I’d go as far as to say it actually discourages it. We Brits – specifically the Irish – are the kings and queens of deflection; you couldn’t pay us to take a compliment. Pushing forward with hunter’s bohemia has been an incredible lesson in many things, but one of the most has been resisting that indoctrinated, self-deprecating nature and mustering up some serious self-confidence. The energy required to keep yourself afloat emotionally when you’re a one-woman show is immense. Don’t get me wrong, I have people. Cheerleaders who think I’m great and more importantly, tell me so. But self-belief as something learned in later life is a tough one to hold on to. My grip on it is slippery at best. This year I want to firm that grasp, tell myself I’m great more often and begin to believe it more organically.
Live unapologetically. A positive mind manifest positive actions. And positive actions attracts further positivity in its wake. I love the statement I’ve seen doing the rounds on social media; your vibe attracts your tribe. Ain’t that the truth? I’ve touched on it before, how everyone seems to have an opinion on what everybody else is doing. I’ve never felt it more than in recent years, especially since having children. People will inevitably judge my choices, my path or even me as a person. But as long as those choices are transparent, steeped in honesty and true to myself then I have no one to answer to but those close allies in whom I entrust accountability.
And that’s it. Simple, no?! So why the struggle? I’ve been thinking about it in the build up to this New Year and it struck me. Surely a little mass positivity would go a long way in promoting stability in our resolve. If, after all, we already know that around 80% of us are destined to fail, what’s the harm in acknowledging that, yeah, it’s pretty damn hard to make a change, big or small, especially when it’s often easier not to or that change is in the form of resisting Jaffa Cakes*? (*not sponsored, but not opposed to it …)
And in acknowledging the difficulty, can we not also take steps to encourage each other? In the same way that it’s easier to get through a blood-in-the-throat exercise class with a hyped up instructor and Bieber pumping in your ears (I won’t apologise!), would it not be more likely that a higher percentage of us would keep to our plans if we had the support of our peers. Instead of an onslaught of irritated comments, how about a little celebration of the good intention, a high five – virtual or otherwise – for our efforts?
So if you’re two days deep in an explosive, life-altering array of changes, I support you. If you’ve chosen to pare back and push for a few key intentions, I support you. And if you couldn’t give a toss about resolutions, New Years or otherwise, I support you! (If you’re the latter and you’re still reading at this point, I not only support you, I salute you.)
Truthfully, that is the most important thing, I feel, any of us should carry with us throughout these coming months. Love, support and a mutual respect for each other will go along way in both our daily lives and in these uncertain times.
Peace, health and happiness to you all,