I recently wrote about 5 Reasons To NOT Make New Year's Resolutions. There is no negativity in this idea. Quite the opposite in fact. New Year's Resolutions are so often associated with giving something up, stopping something or dieting. It is far too often a way to tell ourselves to reign in our sense of freedom of expression and to be more reserved - and yes, healthy.
Despite what it may seem, I'm always one to preach the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. I'm not asking anyone to give up their good intentions. The point is, that it is the way that it is phrased that makes the difference.
I don't know about you, but if someone tells me not to do something, the rebel in me wants to do it just a little bit more. If I am told that something is not allowed, it is most likely that although my intentions will be good, there will be a little part of me hates the restrictions that are being placed on me. The part of me that longs for freedom. The part of me that wants to live. It doesn't like rules.
Last year I realised that there had been this inner conflict within me. Every year I had made resolutions with the best of intentions, only to find that the very nature of restricting myself had negative consequences. I tried to rephrase the concept of 'New Year's Resolutions' in a more positive way.
Instead of giving things up, I decided to have a new experience every month. Each of these experiences had to be something distinctive and meaningful. Going to a new shop wouldn't count! At New Year, instead of making a list of things I wanted to change, I jotted down some ideas of things I might want to achieve. I didn't tie myself down to these particular concepts. I knew that new ideas would come. But the wheels were set in motion. As long as I achieved a new thing each month I had succeeded.
Last year was the most amazing year of my life to date. My twelve months of achievements were:
January: I auditioned for a UK television quiz show.
February: I was cast from the audition process and filmed for TV!
March:I went on an archery course.
April: I set up a new website, www.readymadepubquiz.com.
May: I visited Gibraltar for the first time.
June: I visited Prague, in the Czech Republic for the first time.
July: I ran 5K for charity.
August: I completed a PADI open water scuba diver qualification.
September: I cut my full-time job to part-time, in order to concentrate on my writing.
October: I visited the beautiful Royal Albert Hall in London for a concert.
November: I started writing on InfoBarrel.
December: I got engaged to be married!
As you can see, some things were 'bigger' and perhaps more important than others, but every one of those things meant something to me. I felt like I was achieving new and wonderful things every step of the way. The changes don't have to be big, but they have to be meaningful. It worked so well, that I'm planning on doing the same again this year. I'm hoping to have an ever better year!