Haapppppppy Neeeewwwww Yeeeeeeaaaaaarrrrrrrr!
I would normally be spending New Year’s Day sat on the sofa swaddled in an extra layer of flab, lathering myself in hangover-induced self-pity and berating myself for spending my Christmas eating my bodyweight in cheese and one-bombing nineteen chipolatas in a row.
No matter how many baths I’d get I would be covered in a layer of glitter and leaving a trail of it wherever I went. I’d be on the phone to friends cackling about the antics of the night before and questioning why when I know tequila is not my friend, do I allow Terri to convince me it’s a good idea.
I’d spend the whole morning soaking in Lush products trying to wash away a year’s worth of sins in preparation for the sins of the year ahead before getting myself ready for yet another roast dinner. By the time we’d plate up, I’d have conveniently forgotten I was supposed to be vegetarian and would be ready for a hair-of-the-dog glass of something sparkling.
This year things are a little different.
I’m currently on day seven of my vipassana retreat. And although I’m writing this post in advance of going in, I can only hope that by the time you read this I will have settled into my silent delirium nicely.
I do, of course, also have to caveat that with the fact that while I will thoroughly embrace the 4am alarm bells and ten hours of meditation, the ban on writing and exercise could actually be enough to make me worthy of a strait jacket or a one way ticket to ‘Doolally’.
So basically there’s a 50/50 chance of reaching the ultimate level of sanity or being sectioned.
NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION
Last year, my new year’s resolution was a plea to dive headfirst into vegetarianism, an attempt that failed after four days when I accidentally ate a sausage roll.
With a success rate of only 8%, it would probably be much better if our only new year’s resolutions were only promises to break our promises.
I think deep down we do all wish we could make all of these positive changes to our lives actually happen, but when we present ourselves with the opportunity to, we reject it the nonchalance of a left swipe.
The problem is we’re just not cut out for drastic change, it scares us. So we need to find an unambitious way of reaching these goals by making transformations so small and subtle that they can almost go unnoticed.
Becoming a better version of our self should be more than an annual promise we never keep. It should be something we want more than anything else from the moment we open our eyes, and it shouldn’t take an overindulgent period consuming nineteen blocks of cheese, thirty bottles of prosecco and a family pack of pork pies to get us motivated.
NEW YEAR, SAME ME
2018 was the slow start of my journey on an upward trajectory of goodness and my goal is to continue on that passage at a comfortable speed. So this year I want to keep my promise simple and sustainable.
I want to carry on doing good stuff to be a better me.
That means continue to let my stomach be Director of Decision Making and Fate the CEO of Life. Listen to what they say, don’t ignore it, step forward with trust and faith that it’s the right thing and accept everything for what it is.
Know that at any given moment, any form of plan can fall to pieces and I may have to start over or take a different route. Find the excitement in that and embrace it. Be the puppet master and take control.
Although the New Year is typically about looking forward, this year for me is going to be increasing focus on the Now. Remember Eckhart Tolle’s words. Be in the moment, pay attention to everything and keep tight hold of that childlike lust for life – never let it go.
WORDS OF WISDOM
I heard or read plenty of quotes last year that have stuck in my mind but there are three that really took on a special meaning and will help define my successes for the year ahead.
The first is an old one from one of my most favourite quotable people of all time, Winston Churchill and it’s a reminder that no matter how long or how dark, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
If you’re going through hell, keep going.
The second is from a talk I attended on Digital Distractions where the speaker, Anastasia, was talking about our incessant need for digital connectivity and its damaging consequences to our psyche. She called it an addiction. She talked about how it’s rewiring our brains and has become an unhealthy obsession.
for sustainable lifestyle change you need to replace an unhealthy habit with a healthy one.
I want to apply this not only to digital dopamine highs but anything that is hindering me from moving forward. Whether it’s a negative thought, a bad decision or something more tangible – I want to replace it all with a healthy habit; writing.
And the third quote is one I heard a couple of months ago, walking home from a restorative yoga session in Chiang Mai and listening to a motivational talk by Les Brown.
It’s a simple idea that I really need to pay attention to, one that if I ignore it, I run the risk of pausing progression.
You have to be committed to your commitment.And rather than resolutions, goals or promises this year, I’m just going to call out a vague prediction. So here it is for 2019.
I feel like I’m going to love life more than life itself and love another human more than life itself. I feel like the magnetic field pulling me towards Hong Kong is back with force. I will still be a vegetarian who occasionally accidentally eats sausage rolls. I will always over pack and take the most horrendously inappropriate collection of sequined gowns with me wherever I go. It will be my fittest year yet and not from physical attempts at getting there, through mindset and lifestyle . I’ll be my version of a yogi and I will fall further and further into the bottomless pit of spirituality.
What are yours?