Last New Years Eve I decided that I was totally over the whole New Year, New Me movement and wouldn't be making any resolutions beginning on January 1st.
That's not to say I didn't have goals for the year, but I wanted them to be longer term and more organic than trying to reinvent myself on an arbitrary day of the year in a fit of guilt at not being good enough and having overeaten over Christmas.
And do you know what? It was the most relaxing start to the year as a result.
I still lost some weight, and regained some fitness, and made some progress on money goals ... just not in January.
I liked it so much that I'm doing the same again this year. My goals are boringly non-dramatic, but feel like they're authentic to me, so I'm still excited to see what progress I make this year.
It's become a tradition that my friend Jo and I sit in the village pub on Boxing Day night, having a break from families, and reflect on the year that was and what we want to achieve next year. We make our goals in our own ways - hers are more drastic diets and fitness goals for January and February because that's how she likes to operate, and mine are more gentle actions I want to take over the coming year. I tend to focus mine around the 5 areas of my life that are super important to me: love and relationships, career, money, health and travel.
My health ones are to keep doing exactly what I've been playing around with the last 7 months - getting to an honest, neutral, peaceful relationship with food, taking the emotion out of my eating and learning to appreciate the body I've got already. To continue experimenting with exercise and activity until I reach a comfortable middle-ground of things that I love doing and feel great. And I'd like to incorporate a bit more mindfulness and meditation into my life as a whole. Also making sure I'm getting enough sleep.
In career terms, I'm still not entirely sure what lies ahead but I'm still thinking about doing the next part of the coaching course I did in February this year, so I'm going to save towards that, and also read some more coaching books. I'm also going to keep an eye on my day rates and not be afraid to ask for an increase on future contracts if that is sensible - I'm adding stuff to my CV with every contract and I want to make sure I market myself at what I'm worth.
Under money, I want to clear my last outstanding credit card balance and put some money towards an overpayment on the mortgage - boring but very sensible, especially as I re-mortgage for the first time in the second half of 2018 and, the better my equity to loan ratio, the better the rate I get next time. I'm also experimenting with taking my "non-essential" spending - e.g. my social and shopping budget - and giving it to myself in cash. I've been spending more than I want to the last few months, and admittedly while some of that was Christmas, it eats into how much I can save and it's not a habit I want to get into. The overspend is 90% my non-essential stuff, and my theory is that I'm always much more hesitant about spending cash as it's so obvious how much you're spending and how much is left. So, starting in January, I'm taking my allotted budget out in cash each month, and we'll see how that impacts my spending habits.
Love and relationships are tricky because you can't force them, but one thing I can do is expand my social circle a bit. I've let my Bristol circle of friends shrink right down, especially in this last year when I've been hermitting in the house. So I'm going to make an effort to return to the surf club, and investigate what else is out there in Bristol - basically I've challenged myself to get some proper hobbies because I seem to have actually forgotten what I like doing.
And travel - possibly my favourite category! I've got a few short trips in the works at the moment for early 2018 - I'm going to Amsterdam and Bruges for a few days in February with my friend Bridget, and I'm hopefully booking skiing in Italy soon with Jo. But my big goal this year is Bali and Lombok. I really want to go, and I've been having a serious case of itchy feet recently to go somewhere exotic so, whether it's with friends in the summer, or on my own in the autumn, I'm going to try and make that happen this year!
What do you have planned for 2018?