I'm not making any New Year Resolutions this year. I've decided that in the past they have not been effective for a number of reasons:
1. Human Nature. It is a truth that the 'road to hell is paved with good intentions'. Too often my intention to become a slimmer, fitter, better tempered, more cultured, creative, more altruistic version of myself has foundered within an embarassingly short period of time.
2. Too High Expectations. Unsurprisingly, when setting myself a goal of losing five stone within three months I also set myself up to fail - perhaps it's an inbuilt protection against change - after all I know what failure feels like and change is scary!
3. The Wrong Goals. Too many times in the past I have tried to set resolutions which are more about what other people think I should be aiming at. Rather than about my own happiness and contentment.
4. A tendency to want to take over the world. In the past I have tried to take responsibility for all the world's ills and seek to resolve them with my own efforts. I have learned that I cannot change the world, but I can try to change the world for one person at a time.
So, this year it will be different.
1. Every day I set myself small goals - achieving the ongoing small victories over my battles with mental illness. These include keeping to a routine. So change needs to happen in a stable framework, acknowledging each positive step forward.
2. If I am not stuck in the past and I am moving forward with my life, then change must be happening, because that is the nature of growth and maturity. Recognising that I am not stagnating means that I don't need to create momentum falsely, it is already happening as a process of choosing to live.
3. My life has meaning beyond fitness regimes and diets, which often are the focus of resolutions. My beliefs inform the direction of my life - change, long term change, requires hope. Hope is born from engaging actively with something larger than ourselves, whether that is God or being part of the wider world around us.
In 2014 I will have only one goal - to keep moving forward to wellness, taking each step forward and accepting each moment as it is.