I’m useless at New Year resolutions. I always have been. Oh, I’m terribly good at making them; long lists of them. It’s the keeping to them that’s the problem. I tend to sit back and watch them drift away, like an early morning mist slowly clearing.
This year, I’ve had a re-think. Maybe it’s not me that’s the problem, but the resolutions themselves. Maybe they just don’t have a place in my life. And what’s the point of making a resolution that’s not worth making? For example, I have resolutioned (no such word, but hey) to stop biting my nails since the last century. And failed – year after year.
But what I’ve come to realise is that biting my nails is not the issue that needs addressing, but rather what causes me to chomp away like a busy little beaver. Worry and stress. Two biggies. I can’t possibly make a resolution to eradicate worry and stress from my life – I’m a mam, worrying is part of the deal. I’m also a teacher – say no more. But maybe, I could to try and vamoosh certain worries and stresses from my day-to-day life. This is a big ask for someone who suffers with anxiety. From the second I get out of bed, I start to worry about things, little things, big things, every type of things.
So *takes a deep breath* here’s what I’ll try:
Resolution #1: Not worry about things which will not affect my immediate day i.e try not to dwell on ‘What if …’ because maybe, it’ll never happen anyway. For example, a large part of early 2015 was spent worrying daily about ‘What if I never write another book?’ It halted my writing; it caused misery.
I finished a new manuscript in early December. I have written another book – whether it will ever be published … now that’s a new worry which I shan’t dwell on right now, because hey, instead of saying ‘what if it never gets published’ I could say ‘what if it does get published’. And really, yes most writers strive for publication, but my aim was to write another book and I have. End of.
The resolution which always pops up and makes me sigh and groan is the usual ‘I will lose weight.’ *Yawns* So to my new analysis. I gain weight because I overeat, especially when I’m feeling down and stressed. I work, I have three young children to raise. I find it almost impossible to carve out time to join the gym (I’ll admit I don’t try really hard because I hate the gym and I hate exercise classes). I have gained weight since being on antidepressants, but when I compare myself to where I was a year ago in terms of my mental well-being, well, a few wobbly bits pale into insignificance.
Last year, a very good friend of mine convinced me to join a running club. On the first evening I pulled into the car park and almost did a U-turn when I saw the group of similarly aged ladies warming up in their professional looking running gear, chatting and laughing. I forced myself to park the car and walk over, beads of sweat already tracing tickly paths down my back. That was one of the best things I did. I loved it. As I ran, I forgot about everything; my mind emptied. It was just me, my legs pounding away the stresses of the day. I stuck with it week after week and enjoyed every 60 minute session. I didn’t lose weight but I felt good. Really good. And this I’ve learnt, is so much more important than what my bathroom scales tell me.
Having just had a hysterectomy, I won’t be running for a long time yet, but it’s definitely something that I’ll get back into once I’m able to.
Resolution #2: I won’t worry about the bathroom scales (I’m cutting down on my worrying after all) but concentrate on doing something that makes me feel good about myself, because when that happens, I don’t overeat and that keeps those pesky scales happy.
My third resolution involves doing something for me – just me. Not parenting or working, but something to help me switch off from my daily anxieties. The only things that allow me to achieve that mental state are reading and writing.
So finally …
Resolution #3: Read and write as much as I can. And most importantly, I won’t shy away from calling myself a writer (there, said it). I have my debut book being published this Autumn, so I guess that makes me a children’s author *blushes crimson whilst typing*
I write every day. It’s a part of me. It’s what makes me happy, so why shy away from admitting that to people. Heck, I should be shouting it from the rooftops! (Steady on, I hear you say) No, I’m no ‘rooftopper’ (Katherine Rundell’s amazing ‘Rooftopers’ was one of my favourite reads of last year by the way), but I am going to enjoy every second of my writing journey this year. I’m going to devour it and roll around in it like a proud pink pig in muck.
And there I have my three brand new, sparkly resolutions. And for the first time in forever I feel incredibly optimistic that I may actually succeed at sticking to them.
Happy New Year and Happy Writing
Hwyl am y tro x