Tag Archives: resolutions

2014: the year of less of this and more of that

3 Jan

Play doh

I gave up making resolutions a few years ago. They were never kept because I never remembered them. On top of that, I don’t like the guilt that can be the by-product of resolutions. I get enough of that from tippy-toeing around the minefield that is parenting. For these reasons I opt to have a New Year’s theme. It may only be a few words but this theme is the tune I endeavour to hear in my head above the sound of hooves as I ride bareback into a new year on a wild, galloping horse.

What is my mantra for this coming year? 2014 is set to be the year of less of this and more of that. It’s suitably vague enough not to commit me to anything but, if adhered to, has the potential to put a thumbscrew on the things that take up more of my time than they really ought to.  I also hope it will tweak the nose of everything that I find annoying about myself. Something of a tall order but for which – be still your beating hearts – I’ve made a shortlist below:

  • Shouting
  • Pussy footing / navel gazing / thumb twiddling / head scratching
  • What if?
  • Multiple browser tabs whilst trying to work (Facebook and Twitter aren’t my friends)
  • Property Wars and Storage Hunters
  • Holding my tongue (not in the literal sense – I get enough dribble from my 2-year-old).
  • Channeling the Orange Rhino
  • Grabbing the bull by the horns
  • Clichés (see point above)
  • Letting it all wash over me (I’m not going to be where the pebble drops, I’m going to be riding one of those gentle ripples right at the very edge, dude)
  • Balls (I’m going to grow some)
  • Appreciating the good stuff whilst kicking the bad stuff in the crotch
  • Speaking my mind (pre-speaking risk assessments still apply)
  • Self-indulgent blog posts.

Two days into 2014 and how am I doing? Well, going by the last point on my list I’d say that‘s a finger swipe in the air to me. Off to a good start, only 363 days to go.

Happy New Year!

2013: the year of the tentative ‘yes’

31 Dec

Happy New Year

It’s that ugly time of the year again when I look back at my blog and review the sheer scale on which I failed to adhere to any of my 2012 resolutions. 2012 was the year of ‘taking the trouble to’. The plan was to shift my sorry behind and get on and do the things that I might normally grumble about because they are too much trouble. My example was using the milk frother:  I love frothy coffee but could rarely be bothered to use our machine as it was too much of a pain in the butt to clean. Well looky here! 2012 has been the year of the homemade frothy coffee. If I measure my success on that criterion alone then for once I may actually have kept my resolutions. The phrase ‘taking the trouble to’ did oft ring in my ears during 2012. Having a ‘mantra’ rather a set of rigid resolutions gave me the illusion of choice (rather than of denial) that I had hoped would help chivvy along my success.

So what of 2013? I recently had a conversation with someone who is splitting up with their wife after a decade of marriage. He told me that in 2013 he was going to have a ‘yes year’. Not very original of course but nonetheless an outlook that never fails to inspire people to do things they would normally reject. As a consequence he is already signed up to run a marathon and is contemplating changing his career after many years in the same job. And he’s not even into 2013 yet. Good man.

Now, people who know me may start to draw some parallels – running, many years in same job – but rest assured this is a real not a hypothetical ‘friend’ I’m talking about, it’s certainly not a cloaked reference to me. (Actually, anyone who does know me would know that it would take an awful lot more than the reward of personal satisfaction for me to run a marathon. Think diamonds and gold bars, then add some more.) However, he has inspired my new mantra for the coming year: 2013 – the year of considering saying ‘yes’, thinking about it for a bit then uttering the word ‘maybe’. It’s the year of the tentative ‘yes’ as opposed to the outright ‘no’.

That may all sound a bit wishy washy, lukewarm and (yes, I know you’re thinking it) pathetic. Believe me, it’s a step forward. It will give me time for a spot of gentle internal persuasion before I take any plunges I might regret. I’ve always thought that life is too short to be doing things you really don’t want to be doing so for me saying ‘yes’ to everything risks encountering situations that turn out to be as bloody awful as I expected them to be. As a half glass empty person, that risk far outweighs the benefit of discovering that, for example, against all my expectations, I have a natural talent for sky diving.

Whilst 2013 might not be the year in which I jump out of a plane or streak at a major sporting event, I will nonetheless be dipping my toe into waters where I wouldn’t normally dip them, hoping to feel the gentle nibble a garra rufa fish (pre their health scare status of course) rather than the jaws of a great white shark.

And if I do encounter any sharks? Will I venture back into the waters of the unknown and the potentially uncomfortable? Yes, well maybe. I’ll have a think about it at least.

2012: the year of taking the trouble to

2 Jan

I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. I always make the same ones and the only thing I succeed in is failing to keep them. Another year passes and I kick myself in the realisation that, had I kept them, I could now be rich and thin and dripping in bling. I could now be a much nicer person, bunnies hopping at my heels and bluebirds swooping in my perfumed wake. (Too much Snow White in the car over Christmas?)

So can I make this year different? Here’s the plan. This year resolutions are OUT and ‘taking the trouble to’ is IN. I am resolving (eek, that full-of-pressure and guilt-laden word) to enrich my life by taking the trouble to do things that my broad, lazy behind often thinks aren’t worth the time or effort. These can be small things (take the trouble to use the milk frother as even though I hate cleaning it I do love some froff on my coff) or large (take the trouble to devote five minutes a day to promoting world peace etc etc etc).

What I’m trying to do is make resolutions with no attached guilt. Consider it a little trickery of the mind. I’m tricking myself into believing my new year’s resolutions are all about choice and reward and not punishment and denial. (The hippy sex of resolution-making rather than S&M.) By ‘taking the trouble to’ I’m giving myself the chance to choose to be kind to myself and do something good. No shoulds, no self-flagellation, just a gentle nudging in the right direction. One direction is fine but choose the other and it could be oodles better. No pressure.

So this year I’ve no list of resolutions to keep. Instead, when I’m being too lazy or too mean or too darned pigheaded to do something that will bring positive consequences, I’ll be reminding myself to ‘take the trouble to’. I’m reckoning on getting a whole lot more done and being able to look back on 2012 and see my broad, lazy behind whipped into shape (and I’m not talking butt blasters).

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year

31 Dec

“A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.” Unknown

And so the time has come to say goodbye to 2010 and beckon in the new year with a wealth of resolutions that will never be kept. For at least two days we all hold out hope that by merely saying we’re going to do something we can make up for all the sins and misdemeanours of the preceding year. My favourites are those I make every year (see asterisked bullet below in particular).  I know I won’t keep them (never have) yet I persist in repeating them year in year out in the full knowledge that in 12 months time I will (again) kick myself rather hard in the shins. What I should be doing is resolving never resolve to make such fanciful resolutions. But, for auld lang syne, here are my resolutions for 2011:

  • Eat better
  • Sleep longer
  • Watch less TV – read more books
  • Bloody well swear less and hurry up about being more sodding patient
  • Do my Kegels (one for the ladies out there, especially the preggie ones – we don’t want our insides becoming outsides do we?)
  • Be nicer to Mr C&P*

How hard can it be? According to a recent poll in the US, 40% of people who made a resolution last year didn’t keep it, with the remaining 60% keeping it for part of the year. Those who kept a resolution for the whole year were obviously too busy being smug about it to take part in the poll.

If at this stage of the post-Christmas festivities you care to look any further back than the beginning of 2010, the history of new year celebrations can be traced to the Babylonians.  When they weren’t generally being clever and paving the way for civilisation, the Babylonians did something far more simple on New Year’s Eve – they returned something to a neighbour that they had borrowed. A lesson for us all – garden shears, cup of sugar, wife, daughter … but let’s not get drawn into the Ten Commandments, those most concrete of resolutions. Written in stone as they are.

More ‘recently’ in 153BC – and more in line with the modern new year – the Romans put the god Janus at the top of their calendar (January) and all things Janus became associated with the new year. Janus was the god of gates, doorways, beginnings, endings and time and with his two faces he could look both into past and into the future. New year was a time when Romans exchanged gifts and looked for forgiveness from their enemies. When it became a less selfless time – getting thinner, getting richer, doing more for me me me – is not quite clear.

Let’s not get cynical though – after all it is new year. A time for new beginnings, putting things right and, well, blah blah blah. I’ll leave the last, more upbeat, words to one of our greatest cultural icons [ahem], Oprah Winfrey:

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”

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