So, 2014 is upon us and many of us will be making new year resolutions. Most of us will break them by the end of January, some will make it to March and a handful will succeed in keeping them. Why is this? Why do we torture ourselves with this ritual each year? I have a theory and I believe it’s because we either a. Choose something we think we SHOULD be doing, rather than what we WANT to be doing or b. We pick something we’ve always wanted to do but we go about it all wrong.
Let’s look at route a. first. I’m using weight loss as an example here because it’s one of the big ones (no pun intended), along with quitting smoking and cutting back on booze. Also, it’s something I can relate to on a personal level. Maybe you are unhappy with the way you look and you feel that you need to lose weight, but why? Is it because you’ll never fit in the size 8 dress featured in that overpriced glossy magazine (fuck glossy magazines and those overpriced clothes…that’s a whole other rant though)? Is it because you think you will feel like you can finally start living if your thighs no longer touch at the top? Is it because you’re mum is always commenting on your weight fluctuations and it makes you feel like a loser (ugh, been there)? Because let me tell you, all of those things are external pressures that make you think you SHOULD lose weight and that you SHOULD look a certain way. I say FUCK THAT! What would you rather be doing? Do you really enjoy spending all of your time obsessing over the way you look and what you will do when you lose weight? Do you honestly believe life will be better if your were slimmer? ‘Cos I know some pretty miserable skinny ladies. Tell you what, why not start doing what you WANT right now? Always wanted to dye your hair bright green? Do it (or buy a green wig to wear at weekends if work does not permit fabulous rainbow hair, the bastards)! Want that tattoo? Get it! Want to take up roller skating but worried people will laugh at you? Fuck them, do it! Chances are, people won’t be laughing at you anyway, they’ve got their own shit going on. So, do what you WANT and the rest will follow.
Now, let’s look at route b. So, ok, you rilly, rilly do WANT to lose weight/get fit. Your health is suffering, your joints are creaky and you’re just too young to be feeling this old. Maybe you want be able to perform a perfect roundhouse ‘cos you want to feel strong and you want kick arse. This is where I find myself right now, having all sorts of body problems and health issues due to developing M.E (that’s a whole other post right there, maybe I’ll get to that at some point) and wanting to claw some of my strength and energy back. Whatever the motivation, make sure it’s coming from YOU! So, fine, you’ve got your resolution. Now what? Well, like most people, you go cold turkey on the junk food (when I say ‘you’ I’m really talking about myself), restrict your calorie intake and exercise every day like a crazy person until you get to January 31st, exhausted, unwell, miserable and disillusioned because you’ve only lost 3lbs. So you start eating ALL OF THE BISCUITS. Om, nom nom nom and then you don’t stop and resign yourself to that fact that you broke your resolution.
Well obviously. You over did it. You were pretty mean to yourself, do you treat your friends like that (and if you do, I’m surprised you have any)! How about being your own friend? How about taking it slow and gentle? There doesn’t need to be pain to gain, what’s the rush anyhow? Enjoy the process, give yourself kind words of encouragement, hold your own hand (metaphorically, obvs’) and keep going, step by step, day by day. Little bits of progress build up to result in large achievements. You WILL fuck up. You WILL have off days. You WILL want to quit at times. Keep going, even if it’s hard. That guitar chord you just can’t seem to get right, the language you are struggling to get your tongue around, that block you get when writing your short story or that entire pack of biscuits you ate while watching TV, just.keep.going. And failing that, FUCK RESOLUTIONS! Instead, why not set an intention? A rough guideline to follow? Pick something fun and start small. Don’t pressure yourself and make it enjoyable. My intention for 2014 is to explore new (and old) creative avenues and to make art. I have no idea where it will take me, what I will learn or what I will achieve but I INTEND to create. I’m excited to get started! Your turn…