2017 Goals

Happy New Year!  I don’t usually make New Years Resolutions, not out loud anyway.  Every year when my Mum asks me, my go-to comeback is the oh so not hilarious “My resolution is to quit making resolutions.”  Ha.  I’m firmly of the belief that a new year doesn’t necessarily need a new me. That being said, behind the sarcastic eye-roll I can’t ever help having a few secret hopes and plans for the year ahead rattling away in my head.  No diets, no calling things quits – just a few ideas about how I want the year ahead to look. 🙂

Put down the phone. For a long time I was the girl who was “useless with her phone”. I used to say that I’d happily live without a mobile phone, and I pretty much did. I forgot to charge it, didn’t answer it or respond to texts. All that changed when I got a smart phone (…and started blogging…). Now the damn thing never leaves my side. On New Years Eve my Dad took a few family photographs and there I was, glued to my phone in pretty much every single one. Awkward.  Uh, what the hell happened?

See my name in print.  Writing more is always a return headline act in my new year goals; it’s what I do. I’ve written a book (…edited it and submitted it… and then edited it again and submitted it again…) and this year I’d kind of like to see it finally go from Word Document to bookshelf.

Cook out of my comfort zone.  You know me, I love cooking, but the thing is I’m one of those people who’s got a handful of recipes down and sticks to them.  This year I want to mix it up a little and add to that handful.  My sister-in-law got me the Orange is the New Black Cookbook for my birthday and I can’t wait to dive in and try a few recipes (like “Red’s Parozhki” and “Pennsatucky’s Beer-can Bird”) 🙂

▲ Start running again.  Everyone was surprised when I took up running last year (I’m a confirmed lazy lady), and no one was more surprised than I was when I actually started to really enjoy it.  But, then we moved house and I sort of fell out of my running “routine” (…if you can call dipping in and out of the Couch to 5K app a routine…).  Now that we’re all settled, I want to find a route I like and get back into it.

▲ Read 12 books (at least!)  I’m terrible at making time to sit down and read, but towards the end of 2016 I got a lot better. Finding time to read a book a month should be more than doable. 🙂

▲ Spend more time exploring Cardiff.  When Sunny and I lived in London we were terrible at getting out of the flat. We were always too tired from working and commuting, and everything was just too expensive and always so busy. Nowadays we’re lucky to live in a city that’s so easily accessible but sometimes we still have to force each other out the front door. We saw and experienced so much in 2016 since moving and hopefully that’ll continue into 2017.

▲Carry on “nesting”.  We’ve been in our new home for nearly a year now and it’s finally starting to look lived in (…in a good way, I hope!).  Last month we started putting a few pictures up and chose the last few pieces of furniture we were hunting for.  Sure, there are still boxes in the spare room, there’s still one set of curtains to put up and a few bare walls – but, phew, we’re getting there.

▲Get a dog.  Sunny and I have been planning to get a dog pretty much since we got together (some 11 years ago…), but the timing was never right. Since settling into the house we’ve been looking up breeders and researching a little about adopting a rescue dog. Hopefully it’ll happen this year, but it’s not something we’re about to rush into 🙂

▲ Eat more Doughnuts.  Ahem.

What goals or resolutions are you setting for yourself this year?  (or not!)

The Resolution Rut

When you’re sozzled on spirits and excitedly staring down the final few seconds of the year it’s so easy to make resolutions and solemn vows for the new year ahead. You fill the fridge with kale and broccoli, buy some running shoes and yoga pants, and buzz with the motivation to do better. But you know how it goes, by the end of January you’re skint and nackered; the kale’s moulding in the bottom of the fridge, the soles of your running shoes are still a pristine and virginal white and your motivational buzz has fizzled out into a dashed and depressive drone.

You’ve hit the Resolution Rut!

It happens to to the best of us, kid. And usually towards the end of January when the dark winter mornings and evenings just make us want to crawl into a ball and feast on pizza until Spring arrives (Read my tips for conquering the January Blues here) instead of getting out and conquering the world one new year’s goal at a time.

So how do you stay motivated and on track when you hit that rut?

1. Don’t feel forced into making Resolutions in January

The truth is that new leaves can be turned over on any day of the year, not just January the 1st. Don’t feel like you have to get swept up in the tide of dieting and determination with everyone else. If you’re not ready to make adventurous plans that you have a good chance of seeing through to the end, don’t. There’s nothing wrong with waiting until you’re ready to commit. For example, if you’re planning to get into running maybe wait until Spring when the weather improves rather than forcing yourself out the door on dark and drizzly January mornings. Some people choose to make resolutions in September or on their birthdays or randomly on August the 3rd. For a lot of people  – myself included – that motivational mindset just isn’t switched on in January.

2. Tell EVERYONE about your goals for the year

I used to make my resolutions in secret. Every year I’d have a few goals in mind but I’d never tell anyone what I was planning, that way if they flopped or fell flat no one would know I’d failed. But I knew, and wasn’t the only person I was trying to impress anyway? So here’s a little trick I picked up when doing Nanowrimo. By telling your mum, your best friend, your boyfriend, your brother, your dog – everyone – of your plans, you decrease your chances of failure. If you know that people are watching and taking note then you’ll push yourself twice as hard to make sure you succeed.

Bonus; you’ll have someone to talk to when you feel like quitting. They’ll know about and understand your journey from drunken promise to prize and will be there to slap the metaphorical pizza out of your hand when you’re ready to throw in the towel.

3. Plot your path to success

Achieving your goals isn’t as simple as dream and do, there’s a long hard slog in between. Understanding what you need to do to get yourself there is really important and breaking the journey down into smaller steps can really help. Keep a diary and set yourself weekly or monthly targets. Make a list of all the things you need to do to get yourself onto the next step; ticking them off one by one and seeing progress is really satisfying.

4. Plenty of carrots (i.e REWARDS!)

Sometimes the reward of achieving your end goal can seem a long way off, and if you’re anything like me then you’ll need a little something to grease the wheels along the way. Small steps towards victory should be celebrated! When I set myself a target, I also set myself a bonus for achieving that target. Think of it as like levelling up in a computer game; you’re always rewarded with a little something for beating the mini-boss that gives you the boost you need to press on to the end. When I’m writing, if I finish a tricky chapter or reach my word count I celebrate – usually with a little something from my Etsy or ASOS wishlist 😉

5. Keep a picture of your younger self on your desk

Be the person you would have looked up to as a kid. Be your own superhero. And when you feel like giving up on your goals look at the picture and remind yourself of why you started and who you’re putting in all that hard work for.

What are your tips and tricks for staying motivated?