Every new year we are bombarded with the prospect of making new year’s resolutions. As January approaches, we assess how we can improve, just because the number on the calendar is going to change. A lot of people fail or forget about their resolutions because these goals are never completely clear. This is due to people only setting these “goals” because they think they have to. Really the only way you are going to make any change is when you really want and need to. That change can be made at any point in a year.
My point is, why do we only focus on what we haven’t been great at this year? Not what went really well, and we should do again? As this year was one of the years you promised you would be better than the last, right? So why are we forgetting what we spoke about last New Year’s Eve? What did we do well? It doesn’t have to necessarily be the resolutions we set. It can be the events, habits and attitudes we didn’t think of as goals. We can’t have been completely terrible at the year gone by if we are still going and reading this, right? 2018 wasn’t exactly the perfect year for me, but when I look at it with different eyes, it was important and brilliant. There are some habits and traits that I’ve used this year that I will keep using in 2019.
Here is a list of the things you probably achieved last year, which you didn’t even really think of as an achievement worth talking about:
1. Completed work/a task you thought you couldn’t
I wrote a dissertation. It didn’t fail. Not to brag, but this time last year I never thought I would be able to complete it or do it well. I am sure there were times that you had a task to do, that was so daunting as it was approaching. However, against all the odds that past you told you there was, there came a time when it was finished. You sighed or laughed or cried tears of relief, and you couldn’t believe that that past doubter even existed. As you go into the new year, the next time you have something coming up that seems too daunting and impossible, remember the endurance you had in 2018 to complete “mission impossible”.
2. Looked after your body, even if it wasn’t going to the gym or running around the streets excessively.
Seriously, if you eat every day, drink water, wash, keep yourself warm or cooled, you’re looking after yourself. Fact is, we all get ill and we are going to die, all our bodies are immortal. So, as long as your body feels happy and comfortable the way it currently is, well done.
Making your stomach rumble, isn’t going to make you truly happy. If going to the gym makes you miserable, it probably isn’t for you. Running constantly makes you self-conscious? It probably means it isn’t for you. If you’ve tried for so long for them to make you feel good instead, but they just aren’t. they probably aren’t for you. It is like forcing yourself to be a mathematician when your brain doesn’t work well with numbers; the same with being athletic/into fitness, some people are, others aren’t; just because you can’t do equations doesn’t mean you are any less than those who can. Love your body, keep it well and working in the way that is good for you.
If you walked places when you could this year, carry that on in to 2019. In 2019, carry on buying that pure face wash and shampoo. Eat those carbs that make you feel content. If you looked in the mirror in the morning, and said, ‘Hey, look at you, you’re working.’ do that too in 2019.
3. You appreciated the little things
One of my highlights of this year, was finding a hill, five minutes from where I lived in Warwickshire. The hill looked out onto all the fields and residences around. I would sit alone on it, appreciating the view and reading, even if for only twenty minutes, thinking, ‘This is pretty good, isn’t it?’
There were several other normal everyday things, that were there often, and sometimes I just let them sink in, and think, ‘How lucky am I to have this?’. They weren’t the things that people would usually write on big resolution lists to experience.
Remember that time you were just sitting around with one or two friends one evening, appreciating each other’s company without much expectation from each other than just simply to exist? Do that again, over and over in 2019, because it was pretty good in 2018.
4. Took the time to get to know someone new
You may have started a new job (Well done, that is a scary thing to do). Started going to a new activities group, took up a sport, went out with friends, used dating apps, etc. You’ve met someone new through these things. Instead of just letting them stay acquaintances, because you think you are older now and don’t need new friends, you’ve taken time to get to know this person/people.
Someone who you didn’t know in 2017, or even a month ago, you now genuinely want to know how their day has been and you want them to know all your latest inconveniences or joys. Plus, you’re pretty good at telling each other stupid, pointless things. To think about the fact that you once lived completely unknown lives to each other and had completely separate stories, but now you’ve become a part of each other’s story. That’s cool when it is put like that, right? Realising how great that is, make a conscious effort to do it again and again in 2019.
5. You were someone’s friend.
I know with most of this list, you are probably thinking, ‘Yeah, but that’s normal, I do that every year.’ Exactly, and that is why you don’t need to focus on all the negatives, because you are someone who does good things all the time! You are someone’s friend every year, and remember you are going to still be kind and awesome as the calendar changes.
What I mean by you were someone’s friend is maybe you were kind to a stranger, shouted ‘oi’ as they were nearly hit by a car. Maybe you learned to listen to your best friend’s problem that has been a problem for a very long time, without getting annoyed that they haven’t taken your advice before. You’ve tried sharing words of advice with someone, even when you’re struggling to understand it yourself. Being someone’s friend by sometimes excusing your own selfish feelings in order to make someone else feel better. Because that is what good friends do. “I’m going to make you happy even if for a moment, because that makes me happy.”
I hope you did this, and I hope those friends did the same for you.
6. You got through letting something go.
One of the scariest things of all: moving on. Letting change happen. I am sure you did it at some point, whether it was accepting the end of a romantic relationship, ending an unhealthy friendship, moving homes, graduating uni, a job ending. You thought the goodbyes and acceptance of the end was going to destroy you – but did it? Probably not. It only made you learn new things. Next year, when it’s time to let go of something else, run from the old and embrace the new with open arms. Time goes on and every year there are going to be new things to let go of, so we can’t be scared. Remember, we know from letting go this year that it really isn’t that scary in the long run.
7. Got through the bad days.
You did it, pal! When all the expectations the world and you had of yourself got too heavy. When you just wanted to get into your bed and never get back out again. Some point it felt lighter. There was a day when you got out of bed. There were days where you thought more positively and you were excited about what you could achieve. I know this could sound super cheesy, but sometimes we need to hear cheese in order to celebrate ourselves. If you did it in 2018, you can get through those dark clouds in 2019.
There is nothing wrong with setting goals to improve yourself, but there is also nothing wrong with appreciating what you did right. (If you aren’t a complete douchebag, obviously.) Just before the countdown on the 31st of December 2018, I hope you reminded yourself of these things to encourage yourself to be just as fabulous in 2019. New year, same you.