Every year on January the 1st I hangup a brand new wall calendar and sit down with a cup of coffee writing my new years resolutions. The list normally ends up being as long as my arm and I end up feeling less optimistic than when I first sat down to make the list! Over the years, my goals have included: Losing weight, starting a new diet, signing up to the gym, clearing out wardrobes, getting a new hairstyle, learning a musical instrument, resuming french lessons, the list goes on! And as the months of the year progressed I found myself less likely to achieve any of them because somehow I obligated myself to those specific goals. My commitments would change during the year, work and family life would intervene and I often found that I only had time to fulfil my daughters hobbies rather than my own. Consequently I’d feel deflated about not achieving my new years resolutions – rendering me lazy and self-neglected. Which I am not, I actually take a great deal of care of myself, am determined and hard headed which is exactly why I’m non-responsive to being told what to do – even if its me thats doing the telling.
And so, last year I took a different approach to the so called endless list of ambitions AKA New Years Resolutions. I convinced myself that it was right for me to take a break from the demanding tradition as I was 8.5 months pregnant and the size of a whale with an appetite to eat the world. Naturally, quite a few of the items on the original list above were simply out of question. I thought: I’m going to enjoy the rest of my pregnancy and when the baby comes I’ll aim to be as happy and as serene as I possibly could without striving for the perfect figure, or torturing my fingers in learning to play the guitar or violin! It felt great. No commitments to adhere to except for doing my best to be happy. So instead of signing up to the gym by obligation, I would take a gentle walk in our local park. Instead of conforming to a diet, I made simple food swaps and avoided the confectionary isle at the Supermarket. By magic, further along the year, when my son hit the 6 months mark and I was no longer a mombie (mum zombie – sleep deprived) I found myself exercising in my home to a workout DVD while my son napped. I also read four novels that I had bought months earlier and was meaning to read but never actually got round to! I have a long standing infatuation with literature and sometimes mum life doesn’t leave much room for it, so this was awesome. Towards Christmas, I found that I even had time to draw again. So, in a nutshell: The one year that I refrained from obligating myself to achievements that I knew would overwhelm me by sheer nature, I actually managed to accomplish more than I had the previous years!
Try it for yourself: Scrap the New Years Resolutions list and learn to love yourself. Celebrate the curves on the body that gave you your beautiful children and give yourself a break. Your a parent and you do so much already, why burden yourself with goals right at the start of a fresh new year? Instead, try to re-energize yourself and appreciate everything around you without constantly striving for more. Nothing has to be done in the new year, the year has 12 months in it, you could start that hobby at any other time. The gym can wait and so can the diet. Let the new year be a focus on your wellbeing and a celebration of all your achievements in life thus far.
Happy New Year Everyone