The beginning of a new year inevitably brings with it a torrent of resolutions for the 365 days ahead. By January 1st everyone has already started thinking about all the things they would like to do better, whether it’s exercise more, eat less, or be more organised.
Whilst I understand that the beginning of a New Year may be used by people as a catalyst for change, I have never been one for making resolutions. Many fall into traps that mean they set themselves up for failure. They make too many resolutions, or make them too drastic or perhaps more commonly, the resolutions that are made are based on what people think they should do, but not what they truly want to do. The ‘new year, new me’ mentality is one that I find to be quite unhealthy. Yes, whilst there is nothing wrong with making changes to better yourself whether it’s physically, mentally, or spiritually, a new year doesn’t necessarily mean having to wipe away the person you were before and replacing yourself with someone new.
Last year I took inspiration from my Mum (Confessions of a Fibre Strumpet) who in turn took her inspiration from Ali Edwards, the brains behind One Little Word. Essentially the idea is that instead of creating a list of resolutions, you pick one word which you focus on throughout the coming year. Last year my word was confidence. I wanted to be more confident in myself and everything that meant. I wanted to be more confident in my abilities, my job, my studies, my friendships, my relationship. I wanted to have confidence in the idea that everything would always fall into place. As someone who has a very short attention span I was surprised at how much I managed to hold onto my word.
One of the biggest steps forward I made in this journey was working in a job where I couldn’t wear a scrap of make-up. Now to some, this may seem incredibly shallow and insignificant. However, I have worn a full face of make-up since the age of 12. My make-up IS my confidence. Without it I don’t look people in the eye, I don’t smile and I hide behind my hair. I wouldn’t even dream of trying to strike up a conversation with someone new. Anytime I was brave enough to leave the house bare faced I would scold myself for being too lazy to apply my face and compare myself to every clear skinned beauty that passed me by. In this new job I worked in a clean room, which meant not only was I unable to wear make-up but I also had a super sexy uniform which included a mob cap, shin length gown and shoe covers. There really was no where to hide. But in the 5 months that I worked there I became a version of myself I had never seen before. I was confident. I made new friends, I giggled constantly with colleagues, I looked in the mirror at break times and didn’t hate the face I saw looking back at me. It was something that pulled me so far out of my comfort zone and changed me for the better.
Whilst even now my confidence can waver a bit, it is something that has stayed with me and which I try to bring forward with me into this new year too.
So, what will my word for 2017 be?
This is something I spent weeks thinking about. After the success of 2016’s word I didn’t want to set myself up for a fall. I wanted it to be something I genuinely wanted to focus on and bring into my life. After much contemplation I decided on Happy as my word for the year ahead. However, it didn’t seem specific enough. Happiness is something everyone strives for, right? For some, life is a journey towards happiness, whilst for others it comes naturally. My mother falls into the latter – something that has always amazed and baffled me in equal measure.
the state of being happy.
“she struggled to find happiness in her life”
synonyms: contentment, pleasure, contentedness, satisfaction, cheerfulness, cheeriness, merriment, merriness, gaiety, joy, joyfulness, joyousness, joviality, jollity, jolliness, glee, blitheness, carefreeness, gladness, delight, good spirits, high spirits, light-heartedness, good cheer, well-being, enjoyment, felicity;
Happiness means different things to different people, and means something different to me too. So instead of choosing happy as my word, I chose a question – Will this serve my happiness? Throughout 2017, whether making a decision or finding myself in a new situation, this is what I am going to ask myself. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t always have to serve my happiness long term, but it does have to serve it in some way. It can be as serious as ‘Will staying in this job serve my happiness?’ or as trivial as ‘Will eating this slice of cake serve my happiness?’ (Although to be fair the answer is always Yes for the latter question.)
Perhaps a word or a question can be your ‘new years resolution’ this year too.