19 days in is slightly late to be posting New Years resolutions but I’ve never played by the rules…! Over the holidays we spoke a lot about our plans for 2015. Having got married, launched a business, had careers take off and having a baby makes 2014 quite the year to beat!
I wrote an article about New Years resolutions and within it I talked about why so many resolutions fail, the writings probably too small in the pictures of it but the message was to keep goals small and achievable instead of setting myself up for a fall by thinking any major changes I want to make can happen within a year. And as I wrote the article in November, I had a whole two months to take my own advice.
My only downfall with that is that I tend to be an idyllistic dreamer so dreaming small isn’t really my thing. A disclaimer to the piece should really have been that if you do like to set yourself big goals, New Years resolutions should perhaps not have an annual expiration date. A year, in reality is not that long to change some significant (although I’m not at all suggesting that it’s NOT possible). Luckily with my 30th birthday coming up, once operation ’30 before 30′ is completed, I have an excuse to write a ’40 before 40′ list so am appeased enough to make our New Year goals slightly less fantastical (SLIGHTLY less, I’m still a ridiculous dreamer).
So after a glass (or 3) of whisky and champagne respectively one evening in December, my husband and I reflected on the list from 2014 and set five things to achieve in 2015. It was also one of the things on the ‘Activity Advent calendar’ list (see past blog post for more information) so two birds, one stone and all that! We did similar the year before and we’re very lucky to have successfully completed all five. Obviously we had slightly different lists each as we incorporated individual goals (despite there being a few inevitable parallels) and therefore I’m only posting my lists.
1) Get married
2) Have a baby
3) Get some writing published
4) See a completed Carried on the Wind on the stage
5) Officially set up a family business from both self employed threads
1) Publish my children’s story
2) Launch the first stage of Tatterdemalion’s (our theatre company) Anti Bullying campaign
3) Do something significant to mark my 30th birthday
4) Do some work abroad
5) Take Scarlett on a holiday abroad (can’t be combined with goal 4 though, that’s just cheating)
Now admittedly, they may seem quite big goals but most of them only need focus and completion. Putting them on a list hopefully just gives me the kick up the backside to ensure they get done. The children’s story is written, and illustrations have been started, so getting it published is the end of that process. The Anti Bullying campaign has a lot of support already and pieces of work just ready to be launched so, again, it’s at the start of an exciting couple of years but very much the end of the preparatory stage. My 30th is in a couple of weeks and I know my husband has some secret plans and I have some ideas for what could constitute as something significant, it’s just a case of putting the time and effort into sorting something. We have a few pieces of work being discussed which could be abroad so hopefully we can make that a reality in the first half of the year. And as for taking Scarlett abroad? Well, we’re a bit ahead of the game on that front, about a week after we wrote our lists we booked a holiday and in just five months time we’ll be flying off for a week in the sun, we just need to sort out a passport for our baby girl!
New Years Revolutions are something that a lot of people do, and according to a few different surveys, only 8% of us succeed. But I think it’s unfair to make it so black and white, so ‘pass’ and ‘fail’. If you set a goal of ‘losing three stone’ (and I use that as an example because apparently it’s the most common one) and end up only 2lbs lighter by NYE the end of the year in question, it goes down on paper as a fail. It may only be two pounds but it’s progress, it means you’re getting there. If you want to save money, you only really need a few pounds in a piggy bank to have achieved, yet most people want a more ground breaking change. Slow and steady wins the race, every little helps, there’s hundreds of corny phrases for a reason. We all want to make the best out of our lives, and for a lot of us, lists and plans and goals are a good way of getting focused, of staying on the path we want to be on. But they’re OUR lists, OUR goals and OUR decisions, so if you haven’t changed the thing you set out to, it may be because over the year your priority changed.
I found an old diary from when I was 17 and in it I was furious with myself for not losing two stone when another girl in my class had lost weight. As I read on, the fact that at the end of the year I’d achieved all kinds of other things completely skipped my adolescent notice. I considered myself a failure. Which looking back is ridiculous, what I’ve learnt since is that being a healthy size 12 as a teenage girl did not make me ‘a hideously obese minger’ (teenage me’s words not mine!) and that setting goals is great as long as you’re not going to hold yourself up to the unbending opinion of your past self.
In the last couple of years I’ve set goals based on the path I’m on, where I’m planning to go; I’m lucky enough that at the moment, I don’t want any big life changes. Changing big parts of your life are hard. If you find yourself getting frustrated, why not either cut yourself some slack, and while you’re at it, look at the bits of your life that you’re proud of, the bits you like, and concentrate on those. Maybe try to grow the parts of life you love and the bits you don’t like so much will get less attention and perhaps fall away without much effort. Either way, if you’re already finding yourself struggling with your 2015 plan, just adjust it? Feel like that’s cheating? Why? Who are you cheating? It’s your life, your plans, and therefore your rules. Although as a disclaimer, this only applies to your own plans; if your boss gives you a Monday deadline and you get fired after storming into their office screaming about being in charge of your own destiny and they’ll get it by Thursday, PLEASE don’t tell them I told you to!
So please share your own New Years resolutions and how you’re aiming to keep to your resolve, but don’t put your self worth against them. By December 2015, the last thing we all need is to feel like is that we’ve failed. So maybe I’ll add a number 6 to my list, to go for a drink at the end of the year to celebrate a year well spent, whatever we’ve been doing. So if you fancy joining me, meet me at the bar on December 30th, I’ll be sitting with a Kir Royal in hand, excited to hear all about the best things about your year, see you there comrades!