Today was the first church service of 2019. Our pastor spoke about new years resolutions, and how most likely when we come to the end of the year, we won’t have kept them.
According to something he looked up these are the most common resolutions…
- Diet or eat healthier
- exercise more
- Lose weight
- Save more and spend less
- Learn a new skill or hobby
- Quit smoking
- Read more
- Find another job
- Drink less alcohol
- Spend more time with family and friends
I’m willing to bet that you, like me, identify with one or two of them. I have to confess that it’s the academic year that often has me going ‘RIGHT! I’m going to…’ more than the start of the calendar year. But for sure I’ve come to January thinking ‘this will be the year that…’
I’m in a strange place this year. Life is generally good. Yes, I was at the doctor last week and for the last 2 weeks I’ve not been able to sleep because when I lie down the contents of my stomach roll back into my throat. And yes, I did have to take advantage of the sales because I’ve outgrown a lot of my wardrobe.
But I won’t be dieting.
I also realise that I need to think carefully about what is actually going to be achievable. I did decide this year I wanted to write again. Last year my laptop screen bust and it was going to cost £300-400 to fix. For some dumb reason Apple think everyone streams so stopped putting USB connections, SD card readers etc on their laptops. “You can get an adaptor”. Well sorry apple, but if you’ve travelled on LNER or Scotrail you’ll know there’s no room for extra bits and pieces. A laptop and maybe a small water bottle is all that’s really going to fly. Plus I don’t really want to have to carry around a squillion different gadgets with me just so I can upload and edit photos or switch a file from one place to another. Because here’s the other thing – not everywhere has wifi. My hotels rarely have wifi unless you pay extra. The trains don’t have wifi that actually works for more than 2 minutes. That conference centre? Also doesn’t have enough wifi to be able to get onto the cloud or a remote server.
And so I purchased my first ever desktop computer ever. It plugs into my printer. I can plug in both my personal and work phones to charge. I can pop in the SD card from my camera. Because you know what constantly loses connection? The wifi.
The only issue? After working from 9.30-5.30 at that desktop, I want to shut it off and get away from that desk.
So I stopped writing, and started watching Netflix on my tablet instead.
I realised at Christmas, the thing that would get me writing again was a laptop, so that after a day at my desk, I could retreat to a comfy pile of pillows and cushions and be in a different atmosphere. I sacrificed my holiday savings to pay for a laptop I don’t need, but knew would get me writing again.
It’s working so far.
In December, I cancelled my gym membership. I never went. The gym wasn’t friendly, I missed the TVs at the council gyms which made me stay on exercise bikes for longer because I could watch something while pedalling away to make the whole thing less boring. It wasn’t close enough to nip down before work or at lunchtime.
If I join a gym this new year, it will be one that is closer to home and seems more appealing.
I’m not going to read more. 2 books a month is probably all I really have time for, so trying to set myself a goal of one a week would just be silly. I’d likely get so depressed that I’d failed I might stop reading altogether. I achieved my aim of 24 books last year, and I’ve set the same challenge for 2019.
Spending more time with family and friends. This is something that gets tougher as you get older. Your close friends get married, have kids, get divorced, become single parents, they move away, you move away… where one time you lived no more than a 20 minute walk from everyone that changes as life happens. In my head when I got a full-time job and the accompanying financial stability I was going to see my friends more. I had visions of spending every weekend like a social butterfly. The reality is that by Saturday my laundry basket is overflowing, my body and brain are exhausted, my fridge is empty and I’ve probably been living on junk or not enough food for two days because there’s no fruit and veg that isn’t turning to mush or growing fur. Spending a weekend being a social butterfly means I’m going into Monday with an unstocked food cupboard and in danger of waking up drooling on my keyboard, unless I book a day of annual leave or cut it down to just one social engagement instead of trying to fit in three.
Perhaps you’re already doing good. Maybe you’re like Mary Poppins and practically perfect in every way.
But if you are going into 2019 feeling pressure to begin afresh a journey of self improvement, I would urge you to be honest with yourself and set some goals that are achievable rather than a lofty illusion that your life and personality is going to change as day turns to night.
Be the best you that you can be. But don’t try to be the best someone else you see from afar.