2018, January, new me – new you, new everyone. We’ve all resolved to be better versions of ourselves. Maybe you’ve sworn off sugar. Maybe you’ve sworn to be more charitable. Maybe, if you live in Cape Town, you’ve resolved to survive the drought. Whatever it is, you’ve probably resolved to be better.
We’ve officially entered February, did you know that? Don’t freak out, like I did today. It’s ok, there’s still time to both love yourself as you are right now and also be better.
If you’re looking for a goal-reaching checklist for February, here are all my podcast takeaways:
1) Practice gratitude (daily)
When you start thinking about the things you’re grateful for, the list grows rapidly and you realise what an ungrateful little shit you are most of the time. Like this drought in Cape Town that we’re all talking about, worrying about and complaining about. It made me realise that for 28 years I’ve lived with running water for not just drinking but flushing, bathing, swimming in etc. It also wasn’t a leap to realise that I’ve lived in a country where I feel relatively safe – the only blast I hear on a daily basis is the noon day canon.
2) The thoughts, let go of them
It’s easy to get in to a spiral of negative thinking. Stuff happens all the time that you can ruminate over – with the consequence of a thought hangover (no alcohol, just a lot of overthinking). Maybe someone did something shitty that hurt you, maybe you’re too passive – maybe your aspirations are a deep impenetrable fog that sometimes inspire you to try, but more often than not make you feel a little pitiful.
I listened to a podcast where the answer was pretty simple: when you’re hit by a thought that could cause a spiral of negative thinking – let it go. Don’t pursue the thought, don’t dwell on it.. just let it go. Your heart will work out the rest. It’s worked pretty well when I’m being mindful.
3) Fuck goals, create habits
In the spirit of our “new year, new me” mentality, a lot of us set lofty goals, like: I’m going to be the BEST ME EVER by the end of the year – wardrobe, travel, fitness, mentality, job love, financial goals (tack on a few altruistic ones so you don’t seem completely selfish). By the end of the year we will be #LivingOurBestLives right? Well, we all start out feeling optimistic (semi-optimistic if you’re over the age of 25).
The problem with lofty goals is they’re, well, lofty… and when you’re thinking about the bigger picture, you can sometimes forget to break things in to baby steps. Like when I wanted to get fit, I’d work out once and wonder why I didn’t look like everyone’s 3 month after photos. Eventually I decided to start small, aim to do 3 training sessions a week but not give up if I only managed to do it once. It’s a year later and I’m fitter, stronger and generally more comfortable in my own skin. I didn’t get it right when I started – but now I do work out 3-4 times most weeks without an expensive gym subscription (Kayla Itsines is my hero). I’m not quite sure when it became a habit but it did when I was being patient and tackling fitness one session at a time.
Go do all the things, be kind to yourself and if you’re thinking big – remember to start small, or you won’t start at all.