Perhaps it’s a little cliché to make Resolutions at New Year, but I think it’s safe to say that we all do it, either a little or a lot.
There’s a school of thought that if there is something about our lives that we want to change then we should just make that change regardless of the time of year, and to a certain extent that is what I try to do.
And yet the start of a new year makes for a good time to re-assess our situations and to make some changes which, perhaps, we have not had the time or inclination to change during the year just ended. It’s essentially the larger-scale equivalent of waiting until Monday to start a new challenge (diet, quitting smoking, starting a new job hunt, etc).
So, with all that in mind, here are mine for 2011 (in no particular order).
1. The inevitable diet
Now this is a cliché, I know, and no doubt you’re rolling your eyes, making scoffing noises and telling me I’m “so predictable”. Well perhaps I am, but this is a change I’d attempted to make before Christmas, by several months, in fact, but didn’t do too well with. So, I’m restarting the campaign once I’m out of holiday mode and back in to the swing of the usual daily routine (so give me a few more days!).
It isn’t vanity, as you may think, or rather it isn’t entirely vanity. Sure, I’d love to be slimmer and to conform, dare I say it, to The Norm.
However, my reasons are really more health-based. Without going in to too much detail, I have a few health concerns which, the doctors tell me, could be helped by simply (ha!) losing some weight. Quite a lot, realistically, but one step at a time.
2. Exercise more
Clearly this goes hand-in-hand with 1.
It also stands alone. I am so unfit it is actually embarrassing, but I am not going to jump on the annual join-a-gym bandwagon. I’ve tried gyms before and after a couple of sessions I give it up. This is partly due to the aforementioned embarrassment, and partly (mostly) due to laziness.
The plan is to increase my daily activity, where possible, and so to build up my fitness levels gradually. That’s the theory, anyway.
The exercise bike is sitting upstairs, neglected (and not just by me), and the stairs at work will be readily available (three floors will be impossible to start with, so the idea is to do one or two floors of stairs and the rest with the lift).
Weather-permitting I’d also like to try and go for walks now and then. I have no dog to use as a reason for going out, so it would be walking for walking’s sake. While this isn’t a problem, it does mean I have no motivation as such.
We’ll see how it goes!
3. Learn to drive
Clearly, this is somewhat detrimental as far as the first two resolutions go, but nevertheless, here it is.
I’ve already started this one, too, so it’s really a resolution to see it through, and to pass my test.
4. Blog more
Well, so far so good! Day one of the year, and here I am, blogging like mad.
Whether I get any readers is, to a large extent, not the point of this blog. As I have said previously it is simply an arena for my thoughts and musings. If people want to follow along, they are more than welcome to do so, and I’m happy to see you. 🙂
That said, the intention of blogging, in my case, is to express myself freely. Given that friends and family read these pages this throws up certain issues around causing offence or even, in extreme cases, actually insulting people I care about.
Let me state now that I will never intentionally offend or upset you, dear readers. However, please be aware that, from time to time, it may be the case that this occurs accidentally and, if I may make so bold, that will probably be due to your own insecurities.
Nevertheless, I apologise in advance.
5. Spend less time online
Another contradiction, I know, although perhaps I should qualify this as really I mean that I plan to spend less time on Facebook, specifically. At the moment I can lose whole days on that site, and of course have nothing to show for it come bed time.
As I have blogged in the past I have no issues about people spending hours online. Indeed, I advocate the pros rather than the cons of doing so. However I feel that, for myself, it is becoming detrimental to spend so long on Facebook.
I also use the internet for the usual things such as email and catching up on missed TV programmes. I have no intention of stopping these activities.
6. Read more
This is somewhat complimentary to 5.
The amount of time I spend reading has fallen dramatically over the last decade or so. This is partly due to my discovery of the internet and all its charms. My English degree also rather put me off reading, as I had to do a fair bit of it to someone else’s schedule (which I found out I can’t do).
But I’ve always enjoyed reading, and still do. These days, though, I get the feeling that while I’m reading I’m missing out on something vital online (ok, Facebook). The fact that, for the most part anyway, whatever it is I’m missing will in fact still be there when I finish my chapter(s) never quite computes (pun intended). Those animals won’t feed themselves, now will they!?
I have plenty of unread books on my shelves, and also on the family bookshelves. I hope to work my way through many of them over the coming months.
7. See more of friends
Over the last few years I have “lost” many friends due to relocation on their part.
This, as you can imagine, sucks.
However, thanks mainly to Facebook (and this is why I love it so), I have been able to keep in touch with most. This is not the same as seeing them face-to-face though, clearly, and so I would like to do this more if it is in my power to do so.
I already have a weekend booked in to go, with a friend, to visit a mutual friend and her new family, which I am very much looking forward to. I also hope (perhaps once driving is an option) to visit others as and when I can. I would also like to see more of local friends, if diaries allow.
I tend to cut off my nose to spite my face with this. As a point of principle, I leave it to them to name a date, suggest an outing, etc. The inevitable outcome of this is that nothing happens. People promise to be in touch to arrange things, and yet if I don’t name the date myself, months go by and no outing has been had.
Time to choke down this principle (which, ironically, is a fairly new-found one as I was sick of having to arrange things myself all the time) and get together with people.
8. Find a better job
Perhaps “better” isn’t the right word, as the job I currently have is one I enjoy, and with colleagues I get on well with.
Really, I just need a full-time post. That’s pretty much all that’s missing in my current post (and yes, I’m afraid it’s a purely financial motive).
Working for a local Council, as I do, means that we are all going through rather uncertain times due to budget cuts. It’s entirely possible that, come April, I will not even have a part-time job, never mind a full-time one.
However, there is really nothing I can do to alter that particular outcome, and so I must take that as it comes.
In the meantime, I intend to keep a close eye on the job market, and to apply for any suitable ones I see. Again, I have been doing this a little over the last year anyway, but I need to make a more concerted effort with it from now on.
9. Look after my skin
This is another one which sounds like vanity but isn’t.
I have eczema and generally dry skin. Although this is unsightly, it really gives me very few problems, and in that sense I am very lucky. Many people suffer greatly with theirs.
Because I am so unbothered by mine I have a tendency to leave it untreated, and so it escalates which does, eventually, cause a certain amount of discomfort.
The only excuse for this is laziness (again). I have several treatments I can use to keep it at bay, or even to clear it completely, on a good day.
I need to focus on keeping a lid on things.
10. and 11. Express my opinions more / Be more upfront
I have put these together as they overlap a great deal.
As mentioned in 4. I am someone who would never intentionally upset someone else.
While I see this as a good quality to have, it does tend to mean that my own opinions and feelings remain unexpressed. This is a Bad Thing.
So, the plan is to express myself as much as I can while still considering the feelings of others. This is likely to be tricky. If I have an opinion which contradicts someone else, will I be able to express it despite knowing that they may be upset or put out? Time will tell, but I hope so.
I would also like to be able to express when I’m upset, or angry, or annoyed by the actions of others.
This is the biggy for me, as it will mean that the other person will be upset themselves, which goes against what I stand for. Tricky. Very tricky.
However, I know I am entitled to say how I feel. Lord knows, everyone else does! It is something I’ll need to work on, but hopefully I can become more comfortable in expressing my negative feelings.
A phrase I have thought often, but never used out loud, is “it’s not all about you, you know”. I know it wouldn’t be a very productive phrase to use, but perhaps I can work out a gentler way of saying the same thing. I feel I need to, as many times I have been in “discussions” with people who have assumed my reaction is down to their actions or words, even when they know I have other stuff going on which may be upsetting me.
So, if I do ever use the phrase on you, suck it up – I’m having a hard time of it, ok?! 😉
12. Live my life for myself
Similar to 10. and 11. but more general.
I need to start doing what I want more. As things stand I mainly work round other people and go with the flow.
Again, I don’t see this as a bad way to be, but it does rather mean I lose out on doing things I want to do sometimes. My first challenge for this one will be in a few days time, at the hairdresser.
Let me explain…
For years I have wanted to try a certain hair colour, and for years I have allowed myself to be persuaded against it on the advice of the stylists (they decree that it would not suit my colouring). However, I am rapidly approaching my 32nd birthday, and I don’t feel it’s too much to ask that I at least try this colour on my hair. It’s not like I’m going to sue the salon if I hate it. And who knows? I might love it!
So the challenge is to be confident enough in myself to say to the colourist that I “just want to try it”. Not an unreasonable stance to take, I don’t feel, but we’ll see if I can go through with it!
Obviously this is a smallish example, but it demonstrates well the way my life works. Even when I do express an opinion I allow myself to be swayed from it due to either the perceived expertise of the other person or in order not to cause offence and/or upset.
So there we have it. A dozen resolutions to be attempted!
Whether or not they are going to be achievable remains to be seen, but at least now I have them in writing so I can refer back to them now and then, and check my progress.
Happy New Year!