I stopped making New Year's Resolutions about 5 years ago. I had a habit of deciding on ones to try and make me skinnier, thinking that would make me happier. But they usually fizzled out pretty quickly and then I had something else to hate myself for.
January is a rubbish time to be hard on yourself anyway. You have the whole anticlimactic come-down after Christmas; the dark miserable days of winter; the leftover Quality Street and mince pies that it would be a crime just to chuck away, and for me I have a big issue with early January as that was when my first baby was due, so I'm usually pretty defeatist and down anyway.
Then in January 2007, I put together a 40 things to do before I'm 40 list. This was my mid-life bucket list and though I didn't achieve all 40 by the end of the year I did manage a lot of them and had a great deal of fun.
This was more like it.
In subsequent years I've put together goals for the year ahead. I've followed the advice of the experts by making the goals on my lists active rather than passive, writing them as if I've already achieved them (so I can regularly visualise how good getting there feels), making them clear so I know when I've achieved each goal, writing them down on paper etc.
Oh, and putting some goals in that seemed serious stretch targets from where I currently stood.
Examples of goals in recent years have therefore included:
- "I'm a performer" (A goal written before I'd ever stood up in front of any type of audience...it seemed like a pipedream when I first wrote it down).
- "I've performed 5 times this year" (This was in the year I just started therapy and had only started leaving the house again to go shopping let alone going to shows and standing up in front of people on a stage - so in January it was doubtful I'd even manage 1....I managed 8!).
- "I've the confidence to go to any event I want to". (A massive goal for a social phobic who hated leaving the house, luckily my love of watching live variety and burlesque performers pushed me to achieve this one).
- "I've won a modelling competition" (I made it to the final 5 so that was pretty spectacular and without the goal I wouldn't have had the target to gear me up to have photos taken or to enter competitions, I doubt I'd have won my 2 Golden Twits either without this goal).
- "I've clever, well thought-out and polished routines that make people laugh and gets me noticed" (This one pushed me to do my research, learn how to edit tracks better, learn to dance and to clown and ended up in my first two acts - my dalek and russian doll acts).
And now it's 2011.
So what would I like to achieve this year?
I'm not totally sure yet, I'm still formulating my goals. This year is going to be a strange one and will have plenty of interruptions as it's the year we're selling out beautiful house in Shropshire, UK and moving permanently to the US of A, so I'll need to think carefully about the amount of stuff I want to achieve this year whilst being stressed and working hard.
But on the other hand, 2011 officially is year 2 of my sabbatical - I still don't yet have a work permit so I can carry on learning new things and exploring what I want to do when I 'grow-up'.
So basically I am in the incredibly lucky position of being able to do what I want for a year, and who knows if I'll ever get this opportunity again - so I'd better live life to the full hadn't I? ;)
My rough ideas which will be formed into goals by the end of next week are:
- I'd like to reconnect with things - with fashion, with make-up, with food. I'll explain a bit more about this in separate posts and why they're important to me.
- Doing NaNoWriMo last November made me realise I don't read enough - so I want to come up with some goals to do with reading and how I can implement anything I learn into my writing.
- I need to make some friends in addition to my wonderful online ones - this is pretty difficult for a social phobic but if I'm staying in Phoenix I need to make some friends here for my health's sake.
- I want to have some fun! (So I need to include something silly that I've never done before or wouldn't normally do).
- Doing something with my social networking sites and websites - I know that sounds incredibly vague doesn't it. My issues are I'm fed up with my facebook at the mo, I really don't want to receive tons of copied in mails about shows I'm never going to go to just because I haven't replied a 'not attending' yet and I'm fed up with my wall being littered with 'such and such has sent you a farmville.....' (you get the picture). And as for myspace, I'm fed up that they changed the whole layouts and that's made the work I put in to make my page look professional and ordered wasted...plus does anyone actually use myspace anymore? And my websites - I think it's time to move to some .coms from .co.uks seeing as I'm moving to the USA but that brings up other problems that I'll discuss in another post.
- I've made great progress in the last few years teaching myself to sew, researching costume engineering, learning to make props etc - I want to build on what I've learnt and it's time that some of my existing routines had brighter/cleverer costumes and this is the year that I will also be making my dream burlesque costume.
Those are the rough thoughts. Over the next week I'll tell you some more about them and why they're important to me for 2011 and I'll formalise this year's list of goals.
And then we'll have some fun achieving them :)