We’re at that time of the year when, for most of us, those New Year’s Resolutions – yip, you know, the ones you were ‘definitely going to stick to’ and were ‘serious about this time’ – have pretty much become a thing of the past. You may have given them a good go, they may have lasted a matter of a week or you may desperately be trying to salvage the last drops of one.
Well, this is exactly why I don’t make them. Don’t get me wrong, I totally get it: it’s a new year and it feels like the perfect opportunity for a fresh start; a chance to make up for things you feel you didn’t get to do/achieve the year before. But, at the same time, do we really need the start of the new year to be the reason we decide to be the best version of ourselves, or to do those things we really want to do? Shouldn’t we be trying to achieve this all day, every day?
With this in mind, I spent some time thinking about ‘resolutions’ that I feel I should be working on constantly; things that I need to pay attention to every day. Sometimes we focus so much on the big goals and the huge things we’d like to achieve in life, and we forget about the smaller things that make us tick. Yet it’s these seemingly ‘small’ things that are generally the most important. Perhaps some of these ‘resolutions’ resonate with you, or perhaps they inspire you to think of your own… either way, I challenge you to just give it a little thought, one way or another.
My year-round ‘resolutions’
Speak kindly to and about myself.
In today’s world, it’s pretty much frowned upon to be nice about yourself. We’re all supposed to want to be thinner, fitter, live in a bigger house, be more successful, earn more money, be blonder, be darker (I could go on for days here!), and talking about these things out loud is not only accepted – it’s encouraged. But being a person who loves her life, is happy with her body (this is a biggie!), is content with things the way they are? Suddenly you’re vein, conceited, lack ambition or have just landed with your bum in the butter. Really, when you think about it, isn’t that just utterly bizarre? We all want to be ‘better’, but when someone feels that they have achieved their best, we immediately judge them. I don’t know about you, but I’m done with this! My aim is to start speaking about myself the way I would my mom, sister or bestie. I wouldn’t stand for someone else belittling them, so why is it ok to constantly belittle myself – even if it’s mostly in my thoughts? As much as we are encouraged to be kind to one another, I think it’s just as – if not more – important to be kind to ourselves. And when you consciously try this, you start to realise how harsh you are on yourself; mean even. Well – no more!
Love my body.
Once you learn to speak kindly to yourself, this one should become that much easier. We are surrounded by images of what society decides is beautiful, desirable and what the ‘ideal body’ is, making it almost impossible to look at yourself in the mirror and just be happy. This is a battle I struggle with every single day, but one I believe is so important. Loving your body doesn’t mean that you don’t want to exercise, keep fit or be healthy; it’s about accepting yourself, warts and all. It’s about exercising and making healthy choices not because you hate the way you look, but simply because you love yourself enough to want to be the best version of you that you can be. We are made to be individuals, to be unique, so striving to have the body that someone else has is pretty silly, since it’s actually unattainable. It’s time we all made friends with that person we see in the mirror… she’s not going anywhere!
Go on adventures.
While it would be amazing if this meant travelling the world on a regular basis, that’s not really feasible for most of us (although, I’m trying my best to be the exception to the rule here!). But adventures look different to everybody; for some it’s travel, for others it’s doing new things in and around your city, and for others it’s simply trying out something new – maybe a new cuisine, haircut or style of clothing. However it looks for you, embrace any adventure that comes your way… and you also sometimes need to put in a little bit of effort to make them happen. For me, adventure has generally been travel, and this year I want to experience more local adventures. Living in Joburg, I am lucky to be in the middle of a mixing pot of cultures and live in a city that has so much to offer; there’s always something going on. There’s also the fact that within 2-3 hours, I can be in so many wonderful places, from the mountains to the bush – and even a pretend sea (hello Sun City!), so why not take advantage of that whenever possible? It’s the ultimate ctrl+alt+delete for the soul.
Prioritise ‘me’ time.
Whether you treat yourself to a little pamper sesh at the spa, spend the morning in bed with a good book, go shopping with your sibling, have a long brunch with your bestie or a day out with the girls – it’s important to do things now and again that are just for you; just because you want to. We spend our lives running around, doing things because we have to or because it’s the right thing to do, that sometimes we feel incredibly selfish when it comes to doing something that’s just for you; just because. I’m not a mom (yet!), but I know this becomes even more the case when you’ve got little ones around you. They become your priority, and any ‘me time’ becomes virtually impossible that when the opportunity arises, the immediate reaction is to feel guilty. But remember – it doesn’t have to be something that takes hours of your time; even an uninterrupted cup of tea (read: glass of wine!) can do wonders for the soul. Start small, but never undervalue the power of a little spoil for yourself, just because.
Stop sweating the small stuff.
Sometimes I just need to calm down! Life isn’t always going to be rainbows and sunshine – in fact, it can be pretty darn awful – so we really need to pick your battles. Someone give you a funny look? Who cares! Feel like you’re being given the cold shoulder for no apparent reason? No big deal. Remember, sometimes it really isn’t you, it’s the other person; everyone’s going through something, and other people are allowed to be grumpy and have a bad day, too. So I’m choosing to put on those rose tinted glasses (well, at least for the majority of the time) and ignore the petty stuff. You can’t please everyone, and it’s time to accept that!