“Do I think that 2018 is going to be some movie-worthy, epiphany filled adventure? No, probably not (though one can always hope). But what I do know, is that for the first time in a long time, I’m willing to make the most of my year.”
– A New Years Resolution (2018).
Well, hello 2019. It’s nice to meet you. We’re only a few days in but you seem fairly okay so far. But, before we get in too deep, I do have just one question…
Can someone please tell me how the hell we got here?
I have no idea where the past year of my life has gone, and I’m starting to realise that every time my parents, grandparents, teachers, and even random strangers on the street told me that ‘life goes fast’, they weren’t joking (something I’m still desperately trying to come to terms with).
Sadly, however, there is no time for me to adjust to my life rapidly flashing before my eyes, because whether you’re sad to see 2018 go, or you couldn’t wait to be shot of it, the time has come ladies and gentlemen: we’re in a new year!
I always thought that starting a new year was a rather exciting opportunity. A chance to start over, erase the mistakes of the past year, and begin again. I believed that I had to completely turn my life around every time the first of January graced my calendar, to try to become someone else entirely so that I’d be deserving of a happier life.
Until I realised (admittedly rather recently) what utter bullshit that is.
If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts, you’ll know where I stand on the whole ‘diet culture’, ‘body-shaming’ and general ‘self hate’ façade, so I may be preaching to the choir at this point. However, just in case you’re new to my writing (aka rants), or are in need of reminding, let me just say this: you don’t need to wait until a new year rolls around to have a new beginning. And you certainly don’t need to overhaul everything that makes you who you are just to be worthy of approval.
Each second that passes leaves the past one behind, so why do we all think that we have to wait for ‘the first of the first’ to hit the redo button? Why do we continue to fall for the media’s marketing ploy to get us to fall in line and undergo the total upheaval of our daily lives each new year?
Last year was the first time in my entire life that I didn’t set out to lose weight, tone up and starve myself to death, and do you know what? I think it was the best year of my life so far. Unsurprisingly, it is also the first year where I achieved every single one of my new year’s resolutions, because they were all made in the pursuit of genuine happiness.
“And so my new year’s resolution is to embrace every small moment, because they all come together to make my life what it is, to make me who I am.” (2018)
I have nothing against wanting to change your life, and I definitely support anyone who is searching to become their best self. Whether you want to lose weight or become body confident, get that dream job or just leave it all behind to run away and join the circus, as long as you are chasing a goal which serves your continued happiness, I will back you the whole way.
Unfortunately, continued happiness can be somewhat difficult to find with all of the Susans (we all know a Susan) on diet kicks screaming about celery, while the media tries desperately to shove skinny teas and appetite suppressants down our throats.
So, if you’re struggling to keep a level head at this time of year as you try to work out what you really want (rather than being told what you’re supposed to want) here are a few little tips which might help you to navigate dodging the negativity, and bringing more positive goals into your life this year.
1) Find your passion
Make choices which will bring passion, drive and happiness into your life. Find the thing that makes you tick and roll with it, because truly living means doing what you love.
2) Make time for down time
We live in a society which tells us we should be constantly rushed off of our feet and pushing ourselves for more, so no wonder that everyone’s stress levels are hitting the roof. Whether it’s two extra minutes in bed in the morning to ground and centre yourself, or whether you can find the time to give yourself a few hours (or hell, even treat yourself to a day or more) you deserve to give yourself time to rest.
3) Love yourself first
You don’t have to have self love to have a successful life, that is truly a myth. But you also don’t need to be in a war against yourself to find success either. Self love is difficult, because we’re all programmed to find faults in ourselves, and there is nothing wrong with striving to be better. But being at war with yourself surely isn’t the answer either. Is waking up every day, looking in the mirror, and feeling disgust really the answer? My advice? Take the time to get to know yourself. Fall in love with all that you are, converse with yourself, and take it one step at a time.
4) Set clear boundaries
Many people fall into the trap of being people pleasers, hiding their own thoughts, wants and needs in order to make others happy. I think it is truly wonderful to put others first, but I don’t believe it is worth putting your mental, emotional and physical health at risk. Remember that you have the right to set boundaries in your life, whether it’s with people, work or even just tailoring your social media life so that you aren’t faced with posts which harm your wellbeing. It’s okay to put yourself first, I promise.
5) Don’t fear vulnerability
Fear is something which can dictate your entire life if you let it, which is probably one of the reasons why anxiety is such an issue in our society nowadays. For many people, including myself, it often seems easier to just shut yourself off from the rest of the world, because isolation reduces your risk of being hurt. The thing is, sometimes safety comes at the cost of not truly living. If you can, try to open yourself up to experiencing new things and allow yourself to get close to others. Yes, you might get hurt, but life is a rollercoaster, and you’ve got to take the lows with the highs.
6) Combat negativity: Recognition, Separation and Affirmation.
Finally, this is a three step process that I came up with last year, and it’s honestly gotten me through a lot.
Step 1: Recognise negativity (because how can you avoid something you haven’t seen coming), not only in others, but also in yourself. A friend of mine taught me a mantra ‘cancel, clear, delete’ early last year, and it’s something I say every time I notice myself thinking, saying or doing anything negative. Not only does that counteract the negative energy, but it also draws my attention to it, so that I can avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
Step 2: Separate yourself from the negativity; whether that means pointing out when someone else is being negative to you, taking yourself out of an unhealthy situation or just simply thinking to yourself ‘I recognise negativity and remove myself from it’.
Step 3: Positive affirmations. The best way to cancel out negativity is to ramp up the positivity, so make sure to spread as much love and joy as you can. Remind yourself how great you are, tell yourself what you are grateful for in your life right now, and spread the most love to the people who share the most hate, as they are the ones most in need.
Whether you decide to list out a million and one ideas for new year’s resolutions, or just want to go with the flow and take it a day at a time, I hope that you find a way to live your year how you want to live it… here’s to celebrating the little things!