Let’s be honest, at the minute we barely recognise that it’s Tuesday, never mind 2017.
Twenty Seventeen. 2K17.
Social media has slowly been taken over by camps of people – although the majority is not from the camp you may think. The ‘outspoken’ of 2017 seem to be wholly against ‘new year, new me’ before it’s even started.
I can understand why a new year is inspiration for a new start and I would never hold that against anybody. Although I don’t make hard and fast resolutions myself – breaking the first rule of making goals by not making them measurable – it’s always good to take stock of where you are and, most importantly, where you want to be in the coming year.
If all best intentions start on ‘Monday’ then new year is the ultimate Monday.
So for anyone who wants to start a fresh after spending the last few weeks with their family and boxes of chocolates, or anyone nervous about annoying the anti-resolutions brigade, here are a few suggestions for directions to head for in 2017.
Give yourself permission to start again
Last year was when I realise that this was a big deal for a lot of millennials and mums. We spend a lot of time trying to be perfect and it’s hard to let go of the mistakes and draw up a clean slate. Sometimes we feel like we need other peoples permission to let the old things go.
So this is that permission – from yourself. Whether you’ve fallen off whatever wagon you feel you should be on, you don’t have to wait for another Monday. Mondays are hard. If you’ve had a shouting and screaming day at the kids. If you feel like you’ve let everybody down and let your to-do list grow to huge.
You can start again.
In the middle of the day. The next day. The next week. It is never too late for a fresh start. Leave those things you feel you haven’t done to best of your ability in the past and draw a line. Take a breath and make it better from then on, whether that’s a new dot on the calendar or just a new striking hour of the clock.
Learn more about others
Reading goals are common at new years but it’s another goal where life can get in the way of the numbers. So, instead of aiming for a set amount, aim for a different end goal.
Pick up a book you may otherwise never have opened. Maybe historic fiction, a memoir or a classic.
For me Maya Angelou was a real eye opener into another world.
Have an active adventure
Leave the pressure of the gym and exercise behind and have an active adventure.
Climb a hill (or a mountain) just to see the view at the top – the burnt calories and endorphins are just an added bonus.
Join a sports club, like walking netball, just to socialise. Find out if you’re better at skateboarding than your seven year old son/daughter/niece/nephew.
Move your body because you can, not because you dislike it.
Eat good food
The divide between a diet and being nice to yourself is becoming an ever-growing one. Food is fuel, mentally and physically, and no-one ever felt happy through restriction. Equally, I know from experience, that one cannot live off doughnuts alone – no matter how many times you try.
Eat the food that makes you feel fabulous. The salad followed by the profiteroles. The fruit and vegetables you like the most.
Find your rhythm and pay attention to your body inside and out and it will communicate what it needs. Having energy and enjoying food = healthy and happy bodies. It’s that simple.
Be damn well scared
Once you’ve experienced birth – a fear which will come whether we want it to or not – it’s easy to put off the things that are scary but avoidable.
2017 is the time to be scared – at least a little.
Feel the fear and do it anyway
Send that email that is awkward to write, no matter how long it takes. Make that phone call. Ask for that opportunity you really want and feel that fear of falling on your face. It’s normal. It makes you human and we all feel it.
However, do not let that awful butterfly feeling get in the way of going after the things you want anymore.
After a while they might not feel so scary after all.
Be nice to yourself
No thank you. No negative self talk. Not here.
Because you know what we do then? We beat ourselves up for telling ourselves nasty things when we promised we wouldn’t.
Naughty things may pop into our heads – we need to lose weight, be a better friend/wife/mum/employee, need to meet those deadlines and get our houses clean – but the trick is in letting them go. It’s impossible to stop your brain thinking them, but we don’t need to hold onto them. We certainly don’t need to be beating ourselves up about the occasional one we do hold on to.
No thank you horrible thought. Not today, I’ve got things to be getting on with.
Start a fresh if it happens or block out time to take a complete guilt free break. We can’t pour from an empty glass so make sure you top up regularly – without that voice in your head telling your otherwise.
The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu have even written a book about it.
We can’t avoid the bad stuff that happens – from tripping over in public to illness – but we can laugh in its face. We can cry, laugh, have a good old scream and shout and ultimately write it down in our big book of life experience.
Pat yourself on the back when you finally sit down for the coffee you’ve wanted as a treat for days. Revel in that trip to the park that has been rained off for three days. Brag about that book you got on sale when you just popped into the shop as you were passing.
The world tells us that we should only celebrate the big ‘important’ things but finding joy and enjoyment in the tiny things can fill us up with warm and fuzzies a lot faster. No-one can tell you what is ‘big enough’ to find joy in.
These aren’t just for January and these aren’t measurable goals. These are general directions to point ourselves if we feel drawn that way (or any other which way you choose). If you feel off course, angle yourself back and you never know where you could end up.
So, happy 2017 everybody. May you find yourself on a path that, well trodden or not, feels like home. Don’t forget to take a picture of the view.