Happy New Year everyone! We are about 40 hours in – how’s it treating you so far? I have spent it catching up with excellent friends, curling up on the sofa at my mum and dad’s, and making time to really think about the things I wanted to achieve this year.
I decided a couple of years ago not to do new year’s resolutions any more, and instead set myself goals, things to work for. Sometimes they’re small and seemingly silly (one of last year’s was “make a pie”…) but they’re all little achievements, things that make me smile, stand back and say, “I did that!”. And more often than not, post a picture of it on instagram.
My most recent stand back and smile moment? Having my family up for Christmas. And it being exactly the day I wanted – relaxed, fun and full of food.
Drastic behavioural U-turns just don’t work; you just feel restricted, making you less likely to keep your good intentions up, and beat yourself up if you crack. Not a healthy way to be. And if there’s something the last couple of months have taught me, it’s not to take your health for granted.
And a big part of your health? Being happy. A few things happened in short succession at the end of 2014 that showed me just how important that is. Why waste your life on things that make you miserable? It’s way, way too short.
With that in mind, my aim for this year is to be the person I want to be. To do more of the things that make me happy, and that make me, me.
Firstly, writing. I am a writer at heart, but any actual writing seems to have gone out the window over the last few months. And I’ve barely picked up a book this past year. I haven’t finished one since August. What happened there? That isn’t me.
Secondly, nourishing myself, body and spirit. I started to get quite into nutrition while I was training for the Great South Run, and I’m hoping my new Christmas pressie (which I’ve finally had time to read!) will give me some more inspiration. And hopefully allow me to continue to capitalise on my 2014 avocado obsession.
I’ve also got a copy of I Quit Sugar in the post, and have developed something of a Deliciously Ella obsession in the past few months. Don’t get me wrong, I still did a shedload of Christmas baking – and very much enjoyed eating it! But it’s about balance. The things we put into our bodies matter, and I want to fill up on things that make me feel good. Most days that will be a ginormous veg-packed salad, but hey, when did a gingerbread man ever make anyone sad? And when you mostly eat the former, there’s plenty of room for the latter. I’m already a pretty healthy eater, but could do with some new advice and ideas, so I’m going to try and make one new recipe each week… and see how different I feel.
It’s also partly running fuel. This is going to be the year that I finally do the half marathon that my back injury stopped me from doing in the summer. I’ve been back at spinning and have started circuit training – which I thought would be like a horrendous year 9 PE flashback but am in fact absolutely loving! – to make my back stronger. The Great North Run Ballot opens tomorrow morning. Eek.
Spending more time with friends is another important part of my new nourish-me plans. Time spent with the people we love is a powerful, restorative thing. It makes me happy. And stops me worrying that I haven’t seen someone, that something may have happened to them, that they may be going through something horrible and I Didn’t Know. Which will in turn make me happier. I’m going to plan more visits and make more time.
Time for myself is on there too. I feel like I am always on the go, always writing lists, making a plan, always on my phone. While Christmas was brilliant, it’s been so good to just r-e-l-a-x for a couple of days, take stock and clear my head a bit. How do you know what you want to do if you’re too busy doing things all the time? I like the idea of mindfulness. “Life gets so busy” and “life gets in the way” are two refrains I’ve heard a lot, and said a lot, this year. Sometimes I need to just… pause for a bit.
And just… be more me again. Sometimes we can get carried away with what we think we should be doing, now or next, and I feel like if I don’t make some changes, I could wake up in 20 years time and realise, that wasn’t what I wanted. I have a good feeling about 2015, though. This is going to be my year. I hope it’s yours too.