There’s a bit of a stigma around the concept of New Year Resolutions. For example, if your resolution is to get fit then you’re likely to cop some flack about being one of those “revolutioners” that flood the gyms from the 2nd of January to about the 2nd of February and then never show up again after. Or, you might be one of those people that have decided to try a new skill and your friends and family simply say “but why are you bothering? You’ll never stick with it.”
Quite simply, there appears to be this idea that what we start on the first of January in the new year, we never see through, and it’s now acceptable to make fun of anyone that does decide to set themselves a resolution. This really isn’t ok. Let me make it very clear: I do not think kindly of people that make fun of others, at any time of the year, for wanting to try and better themselves. It is not ok to make fun of someone’s resolutions. Now that that’s out of the way… Onwards!
While I do agree that you can start a resolution at any time of the year, and yes, you can fail at these resolutions if you don’t work hard at them, I do believe that the new year is a very important and, let’s face it, convenient time to reassess what you want from life. And so… what are my resolutions?
Firstly, let’s start by calling them goals. I don’t like the word resolution, partly because of those negative connotations I just explained, but also because it’s far more difficult to write, type or say than goal (and working on your goals shouldn’t be hampered by an issue as small as the word… yes, I know that’s a little lazy).
So, what are my goals?
Well, as usual I divide them up into work and life. I’ll go through the process of setting goals for work when I start back towards the end of this month and I’ll share them later, so for today I’ll focus on the life goals.
2018 was a year full of achievements. In my blog post Looking Back at 2018 I listed everything I did and I’ve got to say it again, I did too much. I ran myself ragged and I ended up harming my mental, and physical health. This year, I have one overarching theme:
I’ve spent too much time worrying about trying to do everything. This year, I’m going to do less (yes, you can quote me on that later in the year when I start getting more crazy ideas), but do that less better. So…
Let’s start with an easy one! Each year I set myself a reading goal using the Goodreads platform. Last year I set myself a goal of 60 books and I ended up reading 72; you can see the list of books I read here. For 2019 I have set myself a goal of 52 = 1 book a week (realistically, I know it won’t happen like that and that’s ok!) The reason for reducing this number is because I’m studying this year and I don’t want to place any further pressure on myself by setting an unrealistic goal. (Now would be a good time for me to remind those of you that just thought “but 52 books isn’t realistic!” that I am a teacher librarian and reading makes me very happy. It’s also a vital part of my job.)
I started a Master of Education in Educational Research at CSU – you can read about why in my blog post, Back to uni – in the Summer Semester of 2018/2019 (in fact, I should probably be working on that instead of writing this…) and so far I’ve been tracking really well. The start was a little rocky; I had an assignment due after only 3 weeks of the semester AND it fell on the day when I wanted to have all my marking/reporting done BUT I did it – read about the horror I experienced getting that back here. Since then I’ve been on school holidays and have been dedicating time, between family stuff and general holiday relaxing, to my two subjects. I know that when work starts back it’ll be difficult to balance study and work commitments but by then I will only have two subjects to go so the end will be insight! “Wait, what is the goal?” You ask, thinking that I’ve rambled on quite enough? The goal is to enjoy the process and continue the work ethic I’ve established in the Summer Semester: start well ahead of time, and dedicate time each day to at least check-in on my progress and where I should be. This should, hopefully, help me manage my tasks better and keep my on track.
I recently learnt some very interesting things about my hypermobility. For those of you that don’t know, I have a condition called hypermobility which means that my joints move beyond the normal range of motion. This is because my ligaments are looser than a normal person’s, which then means a whole host of issues regarding balance, proprioception (my brain understanding where my body is in space – no, not space space, just in terms of where I am and what my limbs are doing), and joint health. I recently met a physiotherapist that explained all this to me AND told me how I can better protect my body. Basically, strength training to build muscle is absolutely vital for me, but in addition to that I need to start introducing plyometric work – which essentially boils down to “jumping training” – to increase my bodies awareness of itself and so that my muscles take over the role of what a normal body’s ligaments do. You might be wondering, why bother? Well, I recently tore my ACL in my knee (it’s a small tear, thank goodness) simply by twisting while kneeling. A normal body wouldn’t have done that, so as you can see, I need to sort myself out, and quick before I end up requiring yet ANOTHER reconstructive surgery. The goal, therefore, will be to continue to build strength, maybe even compete in a comp again later in the year once the knee rehab is over, and increase my muscular health through plyometric work.
2018 was rough for my mental health. In fact, I think the decline actually started in 2017 but it took my doctor telling me in the middle of 2018 that I was technically “healthy” and there was no reason for me to feel like I was feeling and so, “would you be open to seeing a psychiatrist?” It was a shock, but having the initial conversation with my GP was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. Since then I’ve been working with a psych, about once a month, to understand why I feel the way I feel and how I can manage my mental health better. I’m loving the fact that I am finally beginning to understand who I am and how to manage my mental health better – I finally feel like myself. I’m going to continue this journey (sorry Helen) and see where I end up. I cannot stress this enough: if something isn’t right, talk to your GP and then follow through with whatever they recommend. I know it’s not easy, but that first step will be the hardest part, everything after (although difficult) will be easier than initially facing up to the problem.
I am also going to make more time for me; I am going to explore the concept of self love. I’m an introvert and I spent a lot of time in 2018 doing things that took more energy than I got back. Yes, I know that sounds a little “hippy dippy,” to quote a good friend and colleague of mine, but it’s a real thing and I experienced it in full over 2018. So, my answer for this in 2019 will be to trial the concept of self love. To do this, it is my understanding that you need to make time to simply be, and so I will invest more time in the things in life that give me joy. They are…
- Walking on the beach
- My dog
- Spending quality time with my husband
In addition to these things, I also aim to spend more time practicing the art of mindfulness, as well as investing time in listening to some self help (I hate that term but it’s the genre you find them in in bookstores/libraries) audiobooks. I will take what I learn and put it into action to, hopefully, learn to simply be.
As you can see, I haven’t been overly specific in how I’m going to achieve my goals – after all, I do like to keep some things to myself – but I hope you can see my overall plan for 2019 AND by putting it out there, I’m hoping it’ll help me keep accountable. I really, truly do want to do less this year but do it better. I hope that I can make it to the end of 2019 in a slightly better physical state, a “more-and-more like myself” mental state, with an understanding of self love and how it applies to me, a brand new Masters under my belt, and 52 books read!
What are your 2019 resolutions/goals/plans/*insert preferred term here*?
Ps. Featured image is from my recent Christmas break – my husband and I went fishing in this beautiful spot and witnessed a pretty glorious sunset over the river. It made me happy.