Welcome to 2019! A year of what we hope will be positive change and growth and exciting newness. Have you made any new year’s resolutions? This year, I am resolved to make some I can actually, you know, keep.
I’ve realised that the key to making resolutions I stand a chance of maintaining is to not try to fling myself wildly beyond my comfort zone, instigating dramatic lifestyle changes I have neither the time nor inclination to sustain. (Did you read Dolly Alderton in Style magazine on embracing her failings? When she wrote ‘I will never be able to meditate’ I all but punched the air.) Instead, I am hooking mine on this simple phrase: do more of what makes you happy.
I used to devour books. Then I had children and slowed down a little. Then I got Instagram and started scrolling instead of reading. No more. Over the holidays, I spent an entire afternoon curled up with a book, and it kick-started my resolution. Every evening, I endeavour to stop the scroll and pick up a book. I’ve even started retiring to bed early to read (although I’m reading Transcription, which is so flipping exciting it may not be the ideal pre-bedtime read).
Choose work which brings me satisfaction.
Last year was a steep learning curve for me in terms of career. I made some naive assumptions about how others would behave based on my own criteria of what is ‘right’ (subjective) and was too willing to compromise. This year, I want to feel empowered, not disenfranchised. This means working with people who inspire on projects I believe in. Not under-selling myself. Focusing on making W&W and our content bigger and better. We have to work, but we can make positive choices about how and who and why. Surely that has to contribute to our overall happiness?
I am rarely still. Even now, my foot is tapping out the rhythm of the keys. But I don’t exercise properly (see above re the gym). The lovely Monica Welburn writes in The Elgin Avenue about simple wellness habits to inspire even the most gym-shy. She made me re-think my approach. I love to walk – I’ll walk more. Yoga makes me feel good – I’ll practise more often. And my meal prep took an even healthier upswing when we signed up for a fortnightly Odd Box. (Bonus points for the excitement it elicits from my children.)
Be more present.
My best friend pointed out to me that doing several things at once is a modern malaise, and she’s right: I am guilty. (See: watching TV and scrolling your phone; playing with your children whilst checking emails; starting one task and getting distracted by another.) So I’ve stopped trying to do it all at once, and do things one at a time. I can’t always promise my full attention, but I can try.
Wear the sparkly shoes.
The ‘sparkly shoes’ here are both literal and representative. What I mean here is that I’ll wear the clothes that make me happy – without needing a reason. Be that wearing sparkly shoes with jeans on the school run, the softest cashmere knit to work from home, a pretty dress just because the sun’s out – clothes make me happy.
Write thank you notes (I have a stack of notecards on my desk for this very purpose) – there’s little nicer than getting a proper, handwritten note through the post. Send flowers to your mum (or your best friend) because she’s kind/brilliant/indispensable. Appreciate your partner. The feel-good factor cuts both ways.