2015 resolutions, and why 'resolution' can be a dirty word

I'm not normally one to bother with resolutions. The reason being that we tend to overload ourselves with things that aren't always achievable - and I don't know about you, but I'd much rather not make promises to myself than risk breaking them.

Plus we often focus on results-based resolutions, rather than looking at the processes that will get us to new and better places - however long it takes. I've definitely been guilty of that one, and the problem with the whole result thing is that a result is often a single, confined moment, whereas a process is something that runs in stitches over time, tiny marks that often seem to move nowhere, but together they finally reach some kind of end. It's great to enjoy a result, sure, but I reckon it's much better to engage with and take pleasure in the journey. Even painful journeys can bring patches of joy if you look for them.

I think the best resolutions are the smaller, incremental ones. Not only are they usually more achievable, but they tend to add less pressure. And who really needs more pressure: don't we all have enough of that?

Promising yourself that your diet starts today and you'll lose ten kilos in ten weeks is a big ask, and you're potentially setting yourself up for failure. But deciding that you'll eat a bit better and exercise a little more this year is a gentler way of beginning your journey towards better health - and you may be surprised by the way that small steps can turn into leaps without you even noticing. It's the whole 'watch the pennies and the pounds look after themselves' thing, and in my experience, it works.

A few people have asked me what my 2015 resolutions are, and I haven't had any. My standard answer, since I'm coming in to my 36th week of my first pregnancy, is: 'Survive the year and still be sane at the end of it.'

Not that I was particularly sane to begin with.

I've had a few resolutions this year (why wait for 2015?!), and I think I've done reasonably well with those. These were to generally go easier on myself, to 'give in' to the trials of pregnancy (but allow myself to have a whinge when needed because no one likes a martyr), kick a few habits that weren't doing me any favours, and draw strength from small achievements. What I mean by the last one is: if for example I've felt like road kill because my insomnia's going at full force (on top of the exhaustion that pregnancy brings) and I've still managed to take the dog for a walk, have a shower, write a blog post and cook a meal - that's BLOODY AMAZING.

Sometimes life takes us to places where we have to lower our expectations: of ourselves, of others, of life generally, and of what we can achieve. When the universe keeps moving the goal posts, the best thing you can do is respond with smaller kicks. You mightn't kick any goals. But at least you're still kicking.

Anyhoo. I do have a few things I'd like to do better this year, or at least keep doing. These are:

Pick up the phone

It can get pretty hard to catch up with all your friends on a regular basis. People have jobs, kids, god knows what else to contend with - but that doesn't mean you can't pick up the phone. Why don't I do that more often? I tend to email, text and Facebook message by preference. But why not call? Voices often bring people closer than keyboards do.

Keep rolling with the punches

I have absolutely no idea what I'm in for when the baby arrives. No first-time parent does. No doubt I'm in for all sorts of wonder and joy, but bundles of stress and insanity as well.

Many people give you advice about pregnancy and motherhood, but some of it stays with you. Not so long ago I was with Sai in the park and she ran up to a mother with an infant (Golden Retrievers have to say hello to absolutely everyone they see), and we had a brief chat. I'd never seen her before and I may never again, but I'll never forget what she said on motherhood.

'You just have to give in to it. And tell yourself "I'm just going to do this one thing".'

What she meant was, don't get lost in the jungle of unimportant tasks. I guess this ties in with the whole 'drawing strength from small achievements' thing. Wise words.

Keep watching the pennies

In the past six months I've not only gone on a beauty spending ban, but I've also cut out my daily latte (or two). On top of that, I've stopped spending half my life in op shops and buying cheap clothes and scarves - not that those things cost very much, but everything adds up. We've also become even more water, gas and electricity conscious at home - mainly for environmental reasons - but that's made a difference to the bills as well. I'd like to keep that going and improve it even further, remembering that the sound of the washing machine will probably be a constant backdrop to our lives once the baby is here, and there's not much we can do about that ; )

Use what you have

This applies to everything - clothes, pantry items, beauty products, you name it. This is actually one of the things I do pretty well, but I could improve on the beauty side of things in particular. I'd like to streamline my collection, which will mean using the buggery out of blushes, lipsticks and eyeshadows until they're gone. Motherhood willing, of course. I mightn't even have time to brush my teeth. Who knows. There's that whole shifting goalposts thing again.

Seize the minute

Insomnia taught me this one, and pregnancy reinforced it. On some days (certainly not all), you may feel like crap but there are often tiny windows - openings of even five minutes - where you suddenly feel marginally better for no explicable reason. You have to grab those moments with both hands. Get up, put the dishwasher on, go to the post office, write an email. Then go back to sitting like a zombie and staring at the wall, because there's nothing else for it. Repeat, repeat.

The minutes add up like the pennies do. Don't let them pass you by. I'm going to try not to forget that this year.

Enjoy the sunshine while it's here

Because it never lasts.

But rest assured, it'll be back ; )

That's all from me! What are your 2015 resolutions, if any? Do you like resolutions or hate them? How do you achieve them? I'd love to hear : )

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