New Year’s Resolutions: Pros and Cons

This is an experiment in writing when slightly drunk. I haven’t tried it before, and if it’s a disaster, none of you will ever know because I won’t post it. Unless I get more drunk while writing, in which case, there may be a 24-hour window to read before I remember it and say “HOLY SHIT! TAKE THAT CRAP DOWN!!”

I have always been a closet fan of New Year’s Resolutions. I make them every year, but by year’s end, I rarely remember what it was I wanted to accomplish. But this year is different. A few days ago I found the resolutions I made at the beginning of 2014, and thought it would be interesting to write a piece about what I’ve achieved, what I haven’t, and why.

Somehow, in the whole of 2014, I never found a single afternoon to bake a sodding cake. Although I enjoy baking a good deal and have made numerous scones, biscuits, and tray bakes, I have never actually made a proper cake. (Or a loaf of bread, but a gift from my flatmate will put paid to that very soon after I return to London.) One of my resolutions for 2014 was to make a cake, as I finally got a cake storage thing for Christmas last year- what are they called? Cake tin means the thing you put in the oven. Cake box? Cake Tupperware? I don’t know. But I still haven’t done it, which is disappointing. Baking a cake goes on top of the New Year’s Resolution list for 2015.

Next is ‘keep/start writing.’ The slightly optimistic ‘keep’ is because technically I started this blog in August 2013, although I didn’t tell anybody about it, and I only put up about four posts. So really, the resolution was to start writing. And I have. I started this blog after a small existential crisis over the summer, and I have kept it up – on and off, due to busy-ness and illness etc. I love writing, and the feedback I’ve got from people has made me happier than almost anything else I can think of. This year also marks the first publication of one of my pieces of writing, on, a piece about depression which I was very pleased with even before the responses I had from so, so many, directly or indirectly. The one I remember best wasn’t directed at me, but was a comment on the piece on facebook, where a girl tagged a boy- presumably her brother – and said ‘I think Mum should sit down with Dad and read this.’ As someone who grew up in a household with one parent who was a depressive, and the other who was totally confused as to how to handle it, the thought that my piece of writing might have helped a set of parents and their children understand the illness made me immensely proud and more than a little emotional.

Another resolution was the somewhat vague ‘go abroad.’ I took an active step backwards with this in allowing my passport to expire and being too lazy/tight/filled with inertia to renew it. I have to now, as I am booked to go to Madrid in a few months’ time, so this will definitely be achieved in 2015.

Next is ‘keep dancing.’ This was, as it turns out, a resolution akin to ‘keep eating.’ Although I switched from swing to blues dancing in February, once I’d found out how much I enjoy dancing, I don’t think I could have given it up. Having said that, I did stop going swing dancing after a few fun-filled lessons towards the end of 2013, and only got myself to go again after a stern voice in my head said: ‘For heaven’s sake. When you went before, you enjoyed it so much, you were looking up classes for every night of the week. And now, because you’re a bit scared, and a bit lazy, you think that means you don’t enjoy it? BULLSHIT. In the words of Elizabeth Taylor: ‘Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.’” It’s that kind of thinking that got me going back to swing in January 2014- I kept acting as I would if I were going, until I turned up there. This is a good tip if you’re suffering from anxiety about something. Think: “Well, if I were going, I would stay here a little longer, eat now, change into these shoes. Oh, now I’m all set up to go dancing. Seems like I might as well just go over there. And now that I’m here, I might as well dance.” I did the same sort of thing when I got myself to go blues dancing for the first time in February 2014. And now, going to those classes is a no-brainer. It’s the highlight of my week. I did it enough, met enough lovely people, that it doesn’t make me anxious anymore. I was thinking the other day of all the good things about 2014, and the only reason blues dancing didn’t come into my head straight away is because I couldn’t believe it had only been this year that I started doing it. ‘Keep dancing’ doesn’t need to be on the resolutions for 2015, unless I start needing to resolve to wake up in the morning.

My other resolutions were too personal to talk about on here, even with the influence of alcohol (I didn’t get a long way with either of them, by the way). On average, my success rate wasn’t brilliant. Despite this, I think there’s something about the feeling of a new beginning which can be useful for focussing your mind on what it is that you want to achieve. A mix of specific – ‘keep dancing’ with not so specific – ‘go abroad’ – I think is helpful. For next year, like, I’m sure, so many people, one of mine will be either to cancel my subscription to the local leisure centre or to actually start going again. I haven’t been swimming (I can’t take the gym) for a few months, but they’re still cheerfully taking £20 I can ill afford from my bank account every month. What else? I hope that both ‘keep writing’ and ‘keep dancing’ will go without saying. ‘Bake a cake,’ as discussed, goes back on the list. As do the others I haven’t managed to do in 2014. But I’m not beating myself up about not getting everything done in one year. One or two things, I haven’t done because I wasn’t ready yet. It’s been a very busy year, in many ways a very difficult year, but it’s been my best year so far. Does everyone think that each year? I hope so.

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