New Year’s Day. We force one eye open, groan, and look down to see if we fell asleep in our clothes. We inspect the room for the tell-tale polystyrene carton strewn with leftover lettuce and a smearing of guilt. Bacon happens. Eggs happen. Hollandaise is bound to happen.
The guilt sets in. This year, THIS YEAR, it will all be different. I will be different. I will force myself to develop superhuman willpower, find previous un-knowable universes of spare-time and waterfalls of untapped potential I never knew existed.
I will run marathons, climb mountains, do a triathlon, win tough mudder and be able to casually do the splits whenever I damn well LIKE. On the bus, in The Club, on the petrol station forecourt, etc etc.
AND I WILL DO IT ALL IN JANUARY.
January. Without a doubt, one of the most depressing times of year. I’m broke, you’re broke, it’s as cold as a witches tit outside and it’s dark by 4pm. We’re riding a post-Christmas wave of nausea as we remember we have to work for a living and that there’s four months ’til Easter. Creme eggs provide some consolation, but it’s minimal.
Let’s keep it real here. This is not the month to overhaul your whole life. So let’s take a deep breath and reboot.
This newly-refreshed blog is all about my experiments in making fairly modest changes, a little bit at a time, with the aim of improving my overall wellbeing and achieving a better sense of balance in my life.
I don’t believe that changing everything all at once is sensible or sustainable, and for me, trying to has always ended in failure somewhere along the line.
Changing my perspective
Over the past few months, I’ve been going along to Circle 17, a wonderful 6 month free programme of, monthly coaching sessions in Walthamstow, run by the very lovely, warm and encouraging coach Grace Williams. Grace has helped us to find out what’s holding us back, set goals, and develop the tools to start achieving them. It’s been fantastic to take some time and space to really evaluate where I am in my life and myself and have someone to guide me through it.
I wanted to share a really useful exercise we did with you all (Grace, I hope you don’t mind!). It’s a very simple one, but gave me a real wake-up call and insight into where I needed to focus more of my energy.
Life tanks – are they half full or half empty?
Here are your life tanks. They can represent whatever you want them to – relationships, family, friendships, work, health, personal development – any significant strands of your life that you’d like to evaluate. Label each tank and then draw a line to show how full each of these tanks is for you at the moment. The fuller the tank, the better things are, and those areas where you’re running on fumes are the areas that need attention.
For me, my relationship tank was brimming. Friendships, family and work were all good. But there was a clear pattern – my health and wellbeing, personal development and creativity were all pretty low. It’s a pretty common pattern, I’m sure. I’ve been investing so my (wonderful) relationship, into spending time with friends and was – for some time – burying my head in the sand when things at work were dire. I don’t regret any of it, and I feel it all had a much-needed space in my life at the time.
It made me take time out to sit and think about small ways I could help to replenish those empty tanks, without putting a huge pressure on just one area. I think so much of the reason we struggle to keep resolutions is the pressure we put on ourselves to do lots of big things all at the same time. A total overhaul.
If I’ve learned one thing from Grace’s sessions it’s been that breaking down B-I-G goals into much smaller, realistic, achievable goals is the only way to make progress.
So what are my goals?
- I want to find the fun in fitness. I want to try out different types of workouts and keep things fresh so I don’t fall out of love with working out and so I can find what makes me feel good.
- I want to learn more about nutrition, improve my relationship with food and properly fuel myself.
- I want to make my living space a calming, happy environment and let go of unnecessary clutter.
- I want my life to run more smoothly and to be more organised.
- I want to save enough money so we can buy our first home this year.
- And I want to re-ignite my creativity – whether through writing, making things, or styling our home.
These are BIG goals.
So I’m breaking them down and trying out monthly goals.
- I’m aiming to complete Yoga With Adriene’s simply wonderful programme 30 Days of Yoga. It’s fun, breezy and freee! Each video is less than 30-minutes and it’s perfect for beginners like me.
- I’m trying to make it to two Nike Women’s Nike Training Clubs week – (book here!) or workout at home with the Nike Training Club app – (free and requires minimal kit!).
- I’m also aiming to complete some of Apartment Therapy’s January Cure – encouraging myself to clean, tidy and de-clutter to start the year in a happy home.
The main thing I’ll be doing is not giving myself a hard time if I don’t achieve 100% of everything. Life doesn’t run to a schedule, shit happens and we can’t re-invent ourselves in a week – nor should we want to! For me, it’s about learning, breaking away from the fear that holds me back, and getting out there and doing. And having a bit of a laugh along the way!
So I’ll be keeping it real and sharing my progress (The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly – no sanitizing here!), reviews and inspiration with you all. If you’re on a similar journey, I’d love you to share your tips, knowledge, any interesting books / blogs / videos and, of course – your thoughts.