You know, I think New Year might be my favourite time of year. There’s just something so intangibly majestic about it ...
Everyone is brimming full of optimism and decisiveness, shedding both the bad and the good of last year to make themselves light and agile for fresh adventures.
Yep, with lists of new promises to ourselves; it’s a breezy wiping of the slate. Brand new and sparkly. An empty page with the curser blinking at you, waiting with baited breath for your newest story.
What do you want to do this year? Who do you want to be? Where do you want to go? Seemingly, the possibilities are endless.
We call them resolutions.
When really, it’s a time far too great for a mere requisite tradition. Something society kinda bullies us in to. I mean think about it … how many years of your life have you either skipped making a resolution entirely because you know in your heart you just won’t stick with it or you’ve pulled something out of your arse when pressed in front of people that has the bitter taste of bullshit and disappointment as soon as it leaves your mouth. Yeah? Me too, we’ve all been there.
A couple of years ago, I started bypassing the whole ‘new year, new me’ thing because, although I believe whole heartedly in harnessing this zingy appetite for change that January brings, ultimately I know that I’ll likely still be the same utter numpty that I always am. But maybe I can be that utter numpty with a more focussed attitude and better habits.
So instead of writing resolutions, I write a checklist of stuff I want to get done this year. They’re not rules, they’re dreams. Targets. Goals. They’re definitely measurable, they’re pragmatic by nature, so I can tick things off as I achieve them and ponder those I didn’t get to at the end of the year. But it’s not possible to fail at any of them. I won't find myself binge eating McDonalds after a really crappy day and feeling like the whole year has gone to shit and I've consequently ruined my life. The absolute worst that can happen is that they can just be carried over to the next year. Pretty simple, eh?
Each item on my list is a sign post that guides the path I would like to take this year and physically writing them down makes an enormous difference to how I approach them mentally. Because when the pen touches paper, we’re actively making a choice. And we take on the responsibility of that choice, too. Although it might sound like a bunch of old faff, it’s a powerful thing and an almighty kick up the caboose each and every time you look back at that list over the next twelve months.
So if you’ve yet to decide on a New Year Resolution, or you’ve copy and pasted a watery stand in; why not have a little go at The List.
Some tips? Be specific, don’t generalise. Let yourself admit what it is you’d really, really like to happen this year. No one’s judging. Hell, no one will even read it if you don’t want them to. Mine are scribbled in the back of my 2016 diary (hey, no peeking). So go wild with those dreams – don’t edit them or belittle their audacity.
Another suggestion … tick them off as you go – I read once that our brains actually release feel-good endorphins when we physically mark off our achievements, which is why one of my 2016 aims is to write a list of to-dos every day, because they make me feel like I have my life together just a tiny bit more. Which, less face it, I'll take as much of as I can get. (I said no judging).
Don’t be afraid to add some more to the mix further down the line, either. There’s nothing better than seeing how far you’ve come and pushing that little bit further.
But most all, make the most of this need for better that surrounds us this time of year. That surge of motivation for more. Capture it and preserve it, make it truly yours.
And have one kick ass 2016.