I'm one of those people who makes New Years resolutions every single year, without fail. I happily welcome a feeling of change and newness into my life; I know that it may feel like "just another day.." to some of you but a New Year is a fresh start for many. I believe that making resolutions or goals for yourself for the twelve months ahead is an extremely productive and positive thing to do. Breaking things up into points and regularly reminding yourself of them, will have an incredibly long lasting and beneficial effect on you and your life.
I'm not one for overly-unrealistic resolutions but I do try and push myself to achieve at least one big goal throughout the year. 2015 was quite a tough year and I'm determined to revolve this year around my wellbeing and my newfound love of adventure. I've generalised a few of my resolutions below so they can apply to you too if you wish. I'm a big believer in a community spirit to help get things going so if you want to join me in conquering 2016, share your own goals, resolutions and progress with everyone by using the hashtag #HappyIs2016.
I've mentioned before that training your mind to work in a positive manner is beyond life-changing. When I was recovering from my jaw surgery in 2013, I used my time stuck indoors to read up on mindfulness, positive thinking and karma. Having depression means that you're fighting extremely negative thoughts every single day; I always remind myself that if you think negatively and go out of your way to put more negativity into the world, it'll only come back to bite you. It becomes one big snowball effect of misery and I don't welcome it into my life anymore.
I trained myself into trying to see situations that came my way in a positive manner if possible - even dreadful or upsetting situations, as I knew I would learn something from that experience (thus, creating a positive from it). I used to spew out so much negativity in my late teens when I was really struggling with genuine happiness - whether it be constantly moaning about X and Y or just being a general ass, it all became one big cycle and worked against me.
The minute I started to think differently and see the world from a different point of view, my life took another direction. Let's face it, it's tough to stay 100% positive - we're human and sometimes we might have an off day or a certain occurrence that may really push us. The thing is, remember you're allowed to feel sad and also let off steam every once in a while but try your best to think positively afterwards; you'll hopefully feel better again and fantastic things will be attracted to you.
2. DISCOVER A PASSION
2015 was the year in which I really found my priorities and passions in life - particularly when it came to equal rights. Between the marriage referendum and my third year walking in the abortion rights marches, I felt extremely passionate about something for the first time in years. I finally felt like I could use my platform for a cause a little bit more important than discussing a new pair of shoes and I thoroughly enjoyed opening my mind up, learning everyday and seeing how fantastic a tool the internet is for informing and educating people.
I think finding a passion for equal rights really helped me focus on the bigger picture. Finding a passion is something to cherish; it can bring you a great sense of pride. I particularly learned a lot about different cultures by expanding my knowledge on intersectional feminism, the refugee crisis and cultural appropriation this year. Prior to this, I admittedly wasn't as clued up on these topics as I should have been but I opened by eyes and ears and educated myself on what I believe are crucial things to learn about in this day and age - and I'm glad I did.
3. SET ONE BIG GOAL
I usually set one big goal for myself each year. One that I can really focus on and work towards and one I believe will make a huge difference to me and my life in the long run. My biggest goal for 2016 is to travel to America. I've never been out of Europe before and the first place I want to step foot in outside of this glorious continent is the U.S.A. I've dreamed of going to America since I was a child and I will break my back to get there this year. I am SO determined and rearing to go.
Taking a big leap of faith and just going for it is absolutely terrifying at times but if you don't take risks now, when will you? Start saying I will and I can - not I could or I can't.
4. SET 5 SMALL GOALS
I usually set a handful of completely doable goals for myself to spread out over the year. Things like getting a tattoo you've wanted for ages, starting a blog, repainting your room or visiting relatives every week are some examples but it totally depends on you and your lifestyle. Setting one big goal and few 'small' ones can help break down your resolutions list.
Some of my small goals for the year are: creating a memory jar (writing positive memories down and storing them in a jar to read back on at the end of the year), writing in my diary regularly, learning the drums, improving my editing skills and taking more photos with family members.
|I managed to paint my nails for this shot, yep..|
5. LOVE YOUR OWN COMPANY
One of the greatest lessons I've been told from my Mother is: "If you enjoy your own company, you'll never be lonely in life." It's so true! Growing up as an only child until the age of 12, meant I was always playing by myself and didn't have much of a choice but I've always been quite introverted so I found my own company more than enjoyable. I'm still the same today.
Being comfortable in your own company gives you a new lease of life and going out on little adventures on your lonesome can sometimes be more worthwhile, than if you were with company. I generally prefer to go to places like art galleries on my own so I can take in the art at my own pace and leisure. Not feeling like your constrained to a schedule or that you have to go along with someone else's plans is brilliant and so beneficial for the mind.
On the topic of company, if you feel like a relationship in your life is sour, think long and hard about letting it continue on for the new year; a handful of real close friends, are greater than twenty fake acquaintances. Make sure you only surround yourself with people that build you up - not knock you down. Ending toxic relationships is tough but it's a must-do for overall happiness and well-being.
6. TECHNOLOGY SWITCH-OFF
It's hard to not be staring at a computer screen or an iPhone - technology surrounds us 24/7. One of the key things I did last year, was completely switch off my devices when I was feeling overwhelmed with everything. I can get sick of looking at a screen and I love devoting more time to offline activities such as reading and going on walks. I plan on switching off even more this year, as it really benefits me. Being a self-employed blogger means that I can literally be working all day, all week. It's hard to stick to a "9-5" schedule. I've learned that giving myself a day off or at least a few hours off per day is crucial for my productivity, enthusiasm and overall happiness.
Learning to switch off from your online life will give you a lot more headspace and an appreciation for the world outside of a screen. I found that I was flicking in and out of apps and endlessly scrolling for ages each day, not taking anything relevant in and literally wasting hours of my life away. What's the point? I love the internet, I work from it but I also love turning my laptop off and reading a book in bed each night. My eyes, head and brain need the break.
7. DECLUTTER YOUR LIFE
I mentioned this in almost every single one of my personal posts last year: decluttering is essential if you're on a mission to start afresh. Decluttering your surroundings, head space and even your social life will make you feel like a new human instantly. Remove anything that isn't necessary or worthwhile in your life. Remember what I said before: a tidy space = a tidy mind. If your surroundings are cluttered, your mind will be too.
I regularly do massive clear-outs and tidy-ups because one of the biggest effects of my depression, is that my surroundings generally tend to reflect my mind at the time; my room can become quite a bomb site very easily if I'm feeling particularly low. However, I usually come out of my "ruts" as I call them, by diving into a big room clear-out and tidy for a full day afterwards.
Reorganising your surroundings, removing unwanted items from your space and hanging up inspirational quotes, photos or artwork that makes you smile can make the world of difference. I plan on doing a huge declutter and rearrangement this weekend to start the New Year off.
8. ASK FOR HELP & OFFER IT
One of the biggest lessons I've learned that I'll be bringing into 2016 with me is to ask for help if you need it. I spend my life bottling things up and it only leads to more upset in the long run. Asking for help and confiding in someone is a huge step forward for many people and it can feel like the weight of the world has been taken off of your shoulders. The same goes for offering help too - if you see someone who needs it, offer it - simply asking them "Are you ok?" can make a significant difference.
9. BE KIND TO YOURSELF
I'm not one to rigidly dictate what you should/ shouldn't be eating or doing when it comes to things like exercise but being generally kind to your mind, body and soul this year will do you the world of good. I'm joining a new gym next week - I'm a tad nervous, yet excited about it. I've been feeling crappy about my body as of late and I decided to put my last payment of the year towards a gym membership. I want to work towards building up body confidence again. Exercising is amazing for those who suffer with anxiety too so I'm curious to see if it improves that in any way for me.
You get out, what you put in with everything in life - especially when it comes to YOU. Whether it be a new exercise routine, cutting down on junk food, meditating or having a pamper night each week, learn to love your body as a non-stop machine and give it some regular TLC.
10. TIE UP LOOSE ENDS
I believe this is one of the most important resolutions I make to myself at the beginning of each year. Tying up loose ends is crucial if you want to enter a new year feeling like nothing or nobody is weighing you down. Whether it be reaching out to a friend you had a falling out with, building up the courage to go to that necessary dentist appointment or finally getting a lingering project finished - once you cross a must-do off a list that's been bugging you for ages, you'll feel amazing.
I always begin the year with a list of things to do before the end of January so they don't carry on and on for months. It'll only further anxiety and make you feel flustered - it isn't worth it. Get. Shit. Done.
I hope you all started 2016 with a bang! If you're determined enough, you can make this your best year yet. Be positive, be kind to everyone and do what makes you feel happy.