Straight after the indulgence of Christmas comes the self-loathing of January. Suddenly eating 13 mince pies in a single sitting – which seemed nothing short of genius at the time – is an obscene idea. The Christmas tree looks slightly menacing and grotesque, and those cosy nights in front of Westworld have been replaced by evenings in front of the 30 day shred.
All this being said, I love new year. I love the fresh start that it brings, the self-reflection and the feeling of opportunity – maybe this will be the year I finally learn how to style my hair in a style that isn’t just ‘up’; maybe this is the year where I realise I quite like salad; maybe this will be the year that I start running for pleasure and not just for the bus. With a new year always comes a new set of resolutions, and whilst I know that they are more than likely going to be forgotten by the second week of January, I just can’t help myself.
1. Be more social.
This is an easy one for me and it’s a promise I make to myself every year. It’s no secret that I struggle with being social – I find it scary, intimidating and exhausting. I am a creature of habit, and when last-minute invitations arise I more often than not turn them down for a night in front of the laptop. This year I resolve to make myself accept these invitations, to meet new people and to strengthen bonds with my existing friends. Already under my belt in 2017 I have a girls’ trip in February, a dinner last week and a night out with friends on Friday – the next challenge is keeping this up!
2. Exercise more.
The promise to exercise more is a strange one for me, because I used to be a very active creature indeed. Back in the day I’d be hitting the gym most days, with classes and netball sessions a few times a week as well. When I exercised more I felt better, I looked better and I was a lot more confident – as a result, my social life blossomed.
Since moving to Amsterdam I think I have become more and more slug-like in my approach to exercise. I find myself always making excuses not to exercise – I’m tired, I don’t have time, my trainers are in the other room – and I really don’t like that. This year I am determined to find some classes (I’m thinking pilates or circus skills) to build into my weekly routine. No excuses.
3. Find my passion.
On my 24th birthday I took time to take stock of where I was and I didn’t like what I saw. I was working a job that was draining me, spending up to 50 hours a week being stressed, overworked and feeling inadequate. This was taking its toll on all areas of my life: my social life, my mental health, my relationship. On that day, I told myself that on my 25th birthday I would be able to look at where I was and think, ‘hey, I’m not doing so bad you know.’
Since then I have quit my job, a move that took a good couple of months to summon up the courage for. I have nothing lined up at this point and I am nothing short of terrified. But I’m also kind of excited. I’m not sure what it is I want to do next, but I know it’s going to be something I want and choose to do – and that’s enough for me. Whether I return to studying, find another job or move to another country, I don’t know, but I’m really hoping that my next move is an enriching one.
4. Appreciate the small things.
One of the things I don’t like about myself most is that I’m quite ungrateful for what I have. I feel like I am also complaining that I don’t have any friends, that I don’t do anything exciting, that everyone else is doing so much better than me. When I was writing out my mammoth 2016 post, I realised just how much I had done and achieved last year. I noticed how many people I had adventures – big and small – with last year, and how much I cherish each and every experience. I therefore need to work on enjoying the moment more in 2017, and making all of those special people in my life realise just how special they are.
5. Focus on me.
An odd one, but necessary. I feel I’ve spent the last few years doing what everyone else wants me to do in every space of my life, and whilst that is a good thing because I am making my loved ones happy, I have lost sight a little bit of where I want to be. Instead of trying to mould myself into what others want, expect and demand of me, in 2017 I want t start putting myself first. This will be a hard thing to do seeing as I have 24 years of people-pleasing to rebel against, but I want to build my life around my own priorities. A good job with a nice wage is nothing to me if it means I don’t have the time to see my family. Likewise, going out all the time is useless unless I’m doing it with people I actually like. With this in mind, I’m hoping to build a life I like and then find a job that fits me, rather than trying to make all the other parts of my life dance around work. Easier said than done, but you never know until you try.