Every year I spend New Years day making resolutions, that I know without a doubt, I won't stick to. And every year the same feeling of guilt washes over me come February when I realise I haven't done any of the things I had set out to do. Did you know 80% of New Year's resolutions fail by February? I mean what a negative way to start the year. I'm ditching resolutions all together this year in the hopes it creates less stressful emotions. I didn't even think about resolutions as I was lying around in bed all day binge-watching friends this New Year's day and that is a first for me.
This year I’m not going to do the usual self-loathing that inevitably comes when you realise you yet again didn’t accomplish what you sought out to resolve in the last year (hello weight gain instead of weight lose). Every year for the last few years, I have embraced New Year resolutions with open arms knowing full well, I’d be ditching them all come February/March time then suddenly remembering them come December trying to fight 12 months of “resolving” in a month. I’m not the only one who does that right?
But no more, this year is going to be different. I’m not going to set any resolutions, not even my usual ‘lose weight’ one because I am sick of feeling like a failure each year. Of course, I’d like to lose weight and get healthy- I mean as healthy as a girl with chronic illness can get. But it’s not going to be my sole focus for the next 12 months. I’m not going to start a Pinterest board full of inspiring weight loss pictures, healthy dinners and heart pumping circuit workouts. Because what does it do? What in reality does feeding myself with the notion that who I am right now is not good enough do? It not only damages my self-esteem but makes any progress that I have made in the last 12 months seem unworthy. Progress which can't been seen in numbers on a scale but can be felt mentally. Whilst I believe there are plenty of people that can set resolutions and stick to them, I think for the majority of those in the mental health community it can be self-destructive. Even an attainable resolution like exercising 3 times a week can quickly become damaging when you realise life, anxiety, depression or chronic illness gets in the way of achieving that goal.
There’s this pressure that comes from society that every year there is always some resolutions that we can do to better ourselves. What if our only resolution was to be who we were and grow as a person as we experience the next year? Life is happening every minute of every day and we sure as hell can’t always be working on ourselves when we’re trying to live our life. It feeds into this idea that we need to be focusing on bettering ourselves or changing our lives to have a successful year. I didn’t achieve any of my new year resolutions but I did achieve many things (all of which I mentioned last week). None of that was in any goal I had set but my goodness they’re all accomplishments I can be proud of.
This year, I'm going to focus on simply living and enjoying myself. I've spent so many years forcing myself to become something I'm not or do things I don't enjoy, that I'm finally realising just making it through the year is one hell of an accomplishment in itself. 2 weeks in and I feel better for the fact that I haven't yet stepped on a scale this year, I haven't exercised for any goal other than when I want to and I haven't denied every piece of chocolate for the fear I won't be losing weight.
My usual goals of losing weight, becoming tidier, learning a new skill or changing something about myself have gone out the window. My only goals for the next year is to help more than I've helped in the year just gone, make a difference, live each day in kindness and love myself (by far harder than any other goal but one I'm determined to work on). I want to reach the end of 2018 feeling like I've done everything I could to help those around me. If you can have any goal this year let it be kindness. Kindness to yourself and your pain, kindness to those struggling around you and kindness to a world often in despair. Imagine if everyone ditched the usual resolutions that we're made to believe will make us better people in society's eyes and just tried doing better instead? Be a better friend, be a kinder person (including to yourself!!), be more confident, be gentler, be proud. Be anything you want but don't be that person that feeds into the guilt society makes us feel for being a part of that 80%.
Happy New Year everyone!! I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and a great time ringing in the new year. I had every intention of posting Monday night but as usual life got in the way so here I am a day late- I will eventually stick to posting on a particular day (goal for 2018 maybe?;).
Whenever we tend to reflect on the year just gone it's easy for our minds to jump straight to the moments that weren't so great, completely skipping over the moments that were bloody brilliant. Our minds are so used to beating ourselves up that we think of the failures before we think of the achievements. 365 days is, in reality not as long as we think and in the midst of living life we tend forget about the goals we made all those months ago on January 1st. Then comes December and we feel like we've failed for not seeing those resolutions through. For me this year certainly went by in a flash and sat here today, I can't remember a single goal I made this time last year but that doesn't mean I didn't achieve big things!
I started this blog and although it's been rough to keep at it at times, I'm so glad I did. I turned 20, a birthday may not seem like an achievement but when depression and suicidal thoughts had convinced you, you wouldn't make it another year, it's a huge one. I walked a 25km charity walk, which tested every physical and mental strength I had but was easily my proudest moment of 2017. I started an online degree in something I love. I came off all my anti-depressants mid-year and have stayed off them. I got another part-time job. Those are just the big moments, there were many little things a long the way. If you're struggling to see how amazing you were this year, write down a list of everything you did and you'll see just how much you achieved in a short amount of time. It's important to take the time and celebrate your achievements, no matter how big or small they may be.
Within the good, there is also the exceptionally hard. The moments that really make you wonder how you're going to survive the rest of the year. The moments that will feel like the world is crumbling around you. They happen every year no matter how strong you are or how much you try to control the things around you, painful things happen in the middle of ordinary life and it hurts. This past year I was hopeful for health to finally come my way but I started the year in hospital and have ended it with countless specialist appointments, trips to A&E, tests after tests and a pretty awful health scare. Even though there have easily been over 50 blood tests, numerous medication trial and errors, hundreds of doctors appointments (I wish that was an exaggeration) and thousands of tears, but there has been laughs that outweigh the sobs, hope given, strength gained, and support received in many ways. Despite all the pain, I count myself lucky in so many ways and although I don't feel this way everyday, for the most part I'm thankful for the struggle. It has only made me fight harder than I knew possible, endure excruciating pain day after day and ready to tackle 2018 the only way I know how- fighting.
As important as it is to acknowledge all the goodness the year had to offer, it is comforting in an odd sense to look back at the hurt, too. Comforting because you see just how much crap you fought through and realise you're 10 times stronger than you imagined. Give yourself some credit for getting through the year in one piece, it's not always an easy journey.
I'm feeling optimistic about the year to come, a feeling that is quite new to me to have at the start of a new year. I have so many incredible things to look forward to the first half of the year- my 21st birthday, my best friend having her baby(can't wait!!), a trip to Amsterdam with my friends, my mum's 50th and going to my dad's in April with my cousin. So much stuff to look forward to and to focus on.
2017 was a big year of growth for me and I'm excited to see what the next year has in store. I hope however you may be feeling about the New Year, that you've it in a great way.
What were some of your achievements this year?
What are some things you're looking forward to this year?
Hey there, I'm Jasmine, your average 23 year old working in childcare and living in England. Maybe Tomorrow follows my journey living with mental health issues and multiple chronic health conditions, all whilst trying to have some fun along the way.
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