It’s been a while since I made New Year’s resolutions. I decided a while back that they no longer served me – I would set myself unrealistic goals then beat myself up for not sticking to them.
In the past, those goals often involved weight loss and I’m incredibly grateful that I no longer wake up on New Year’s Day feeling that I need to starve myself for weeks to lose the excess Christmas weight. Yes, I indulged a little over the festive period – mince pies, Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and a little bit of chocolate – but I indulged in moderation (if that makes sense) and I don’t feel the need to go on a crash diet. Healthy eating, yes – sugar isn’t good for me and I’m discovering that I’m better off without certain foods in my diet – but that’s as far as it goes. As I eat well and exercise, my weight takes care of itself. Given where I’ve come from and my eating history, starting the year free from the need to diet is an absolute miracle.
But even if I’m not making resolutions as such, the start of a year has significance and I like to see it as a useful marker to plan the kind of year I would like for myself.
I’m actually really looking forward to 2014. I sense that it’s going to be a year of change – change that no doubt will be difficult and challenging but that will hopefully take me a lot closer to the kind of life I long for.
I’m excited about being much more intentional about the way I use my time and spend my money. I’m excited about confronting my addiction to adrenalin – stress, tight deadlines, rushing, lateness, being unprepared. I’m excited about scheduling nice things into my week, month and year – weekends away, holidays, courses and so forth – rather than leaving everything until the last minute or ending up missing out on things I really wanted to do and feeling annoyed with myself for not making the most of my time and money. And I’m excited about the prospect of moving to live by the sea and having beautiful scenery on my doorstep.
Of course, moving out of London – if I follow through – will be the biggest and scariest change but I have to listen to my heart. I spent Christmas in North Wales and the few days I got out to walk on the beach and look at the hills lifted my spirits to such an extent that it brought tears to my eyes (good tears or perhaps tears of longing – a longing to experience that feeling every day). I then compare that to how I felt arriving back into the craziness of London Euston station or walking towards the underground so I could meet my friend for a cup of tea – my heart sank (because of the underground, not meeting my friend!) – and it’s absolutely clear to me that I deserve to give myself the gift of living in a smaller town by the coast. Inevitably, as I write that, I think of all the things I would have to leave behind – friends, networks, communities – but fortunately, it’s one step at a time.
So while I’m not a big fan of resolutions – even that word sounds harsh, punishing – I do believe in having a vision and living intentionally. So on New Year’s Eve, I got out a drawing pad and some coloured markers and had a think about what I would like my 2014 to look like. What I came up with is a mish-mash of words and pictures that goes something like this:
Sunshine, freedom, a Volkswagen Golf, the sea, swim, hike, bike, camp, climb, drive, dance, travel, love, joy, smile, time management, money management, peace of mind, clarity, abundance, gratitude, community, belonging, partnership, spontaneity, coach, write, teach, inspire, love who you are.
My vision is to create space for more of those things in my life this year (and to buy a Golf with the proceeds of my time and money management and subsequent abundance and then use that to enable me to travel, swim, hike, bike, camp, climb and so forth).
But the great thing about this New Year is that I’ve realised that if nothing changes, if everything stays exactly as it is in this moment, then that will be OK. In fact, it’ll be more than OK – it’ll be really great.
Because I think the biggest gifts I can give myself in 2014 are acceptance and gratitude for who I am, where I am and everything I have.
So on that note, I wish you all a Happy New Year and a 2014 filled with peace, abundance, acceptance, love and gratitude.