As I’ve been sitting here, wondering how to start my first post of 2017, I’ve had no less than 3 emails that relate to January blues, post-Christmas blues and New Year, New You. There have also been a number of tweets and Facebook items that reference being fat due to Christmas and a couple of instagram posts where the post-Christmas period is causing consternation for the same reasons. People love a party, we love the sparkle and anticipation of Christmas, the bright lights and general bonhomie of the festive season giving a welcome break from the generally grey, cold and uninspiring British winter. I say British because this is where I live – I’m guessing the same can’t be said in Australia given that they are having their summer season. Having said that, as I write, the weather is glorious. The sun is out, there isn’t a cloud in sight and the air is clear. Sure it’s cold but then, it is December.
The new year is seen as a chance for a fresh start, a clean break from the excesses of Christmas and the behaviours of the previous year. The calendar flips over and we all look forward to the lighter evenings and eventual Spring that promises new green leaves and warmer days. For some, it marks an annual reboot; a chance to wipe the metaphorical slate clean and start again. We make resolutions, which the dictionary defines as “a firm decision to do or not to do something”, hoping that our resolve is strong and we can carry out the changes we wish to see in ourselves. These resolutions, the promises we make to ourselves often fall by the wayside as soon as we are back to work. Sally from Accounts has a birthday so a small drink after work won’t hurt, will it? We can start again tomorrow. Brian, well he baked a cake as he was leaving so a small piece won’t ruin the diet and besides, it would be rude not to partake.
Suddenly, we are back to “old” habits and the resolutions we so earnestly voiced or wrote down on January 1st are ignored. The gym joiners in January go less and less, the dry January team are in the pub on a Friday night (nothing wrong with that by the way) and the resolve? Well, it fizzes in a glass the morning after the night before. So maybe, instead of resolutions, we have goals? Something to work towards rather than a complete change, where progress is more valid than the end result. I used to make resolutions as a child, usually to be less cross and make my handwriting neater. Occasionally I’d try to make a new friend. It never really worked out; my handwriting is still patchy at best and I’m happy with my small group of close friends. As an adult, I actively refused to make resolutions, knowing my willpower and resolve was weak but this year I’ve made goals.
Actually, it was Husband that started the Goals. As we were falling asleep on New Year’s Eve he asked if I had any goals. Goals seems a friendlier word than Resolution, less finite. Goals can change as you make progress and you can extend the goal, make it harder to achieve or easier depending on your journey. So in the spirit of New Year, New You, I’ll share some of my goals with a caveat; they are subject to change, like the seasons.
- Get strong. The last 6 months of 2016 saw me lose so much muscle tone in my left leg that doing basic things like walking without a limp and being able to stand on tiptoes is a very hard task. I want to rebuild my muscle strength so I can walk properly and not worry about limping. Strong requires hard work. It requires repetition and commitment. My commitment is to never be weak as I am again. Do the physio, put the time in, see the results.
- Get fit. By fit I mean fit enough to go for a long walk without feeling tired. Fit enough to swim 50 lengths of the pool. Fit enough to run 3 times a week and not feel that I need to sleep for a week to recover. Fit enough to work a festival over a long weekend and not feel that I’m broken or in pain. Fit means hard work (again). Fit means making choices that will benefit me rather than hinder me.
- Get back into my dress. I have a dress in my wardrobe that I bought not long after meeting Husband. It’s a FatFace jersey dress, size 14. I don’t want to be skinny. I don’t want to have a thigh gap. I just want to be able to wear that dress again and for it to fit properly. I’m not about to give up the food I love but I am going to reduce portion sizes, move more and make a conscious effort to treat myself, occasionally. Pudding should be enjoyed, as should a biscuit. Pudding and biscuits (in my case) shouldn’t be eaten every day. I know I can lose the weight I’ve gained and I know how my body reacts to food and exercise. Eat less, move more, have the occasional treat. One year, I decided I was too fat and signed up to Lighter Life. Biggest mistake ever – I had a migraine for a week and never went back. Restricting my diet so dramatically doesn’t work for me – do what works for you.
- Be more confident. Confidence is an amazing power. To walk into a room and know you can handle yourself in conversation or activity. In my case, I want to improve my confidence in the swimming pool. I can do a distinctly average breaststroke but I’m not confident in deep water. I panic, forget how to swim and feel like I’m drowning. I want to be able to swim confidently, in breaststroke but I also want to learn how to do a front crawl without looking like a baby hippo and to be able to confidently get in the pool and hold my own. I’ve bought new goggles that will make it easier to see in the pool and I’ll be signing up for swimming lessons. Every journey begins with a single step.
- Sell something. I’ve made things for other people and they all seem to be really pleased with the results. This year, I want to make something good enough to sell. Even if this is a single item, be in a shawl, a crochet blanket or toy or a patchwork, I want to know I have worked hard on an item and that someone wants to buy it. I’m not out to make lots of money, nor do I want a part-time job making things to sell. If just a single item is sold, I’ll consider my goal achieved.
So, my goals. On paper. There may be stumbling blocks along the way and there may be times where I just don’t think that things are going to work out. The goals may change, the progress will continue. When will I know I’ve achieved my goal? I may never have a concrete finish line, and that is the beauty of a goal. You can change it anytime you want.
So, set your goals. Be kind to yourself. Love yourself and treat yourself as you would a friend…and listen to these words of wisdom.