February, The NEW, New Year?
How many of you have actually managed to stick to your New Year's resolutions thus far? If it makes you feel better, breakfast for me during the month of January consisted of my mother's incredibly fluffy pancakes that are absolutely not gluten-free, raisin scones slopped with sugary Irish jam, and a bit too much bread. Come dinner, I was still saying gimme all the carbs. Being far too good to myself, I decided I'd wait until February to begin my new year. January is just a trial month after all, right?
Coming towards the end of 2017, I felt a bit blah. Unmotivated, disconnected and consciously drained. So sticking mainstream with the same idea as everyone else, 2018 twinkled in the distance. A fresh start, a chance for a new beginning, writing new goals, and buying new stationary... ultimately, a new year, new me.
I’ll be honest though, in the back of my mind I knew that this super healthy, motivated idea of myself would not begin the moment I open my eyes Monday morning of January 1st, 2018. First of all, I was super hungover. And well, yeah that’s about it. Although I think that's a pretty good reason. Christmas leftovers and a hungover head is a dangerous but beautiful duo. Being fair though, I was celebrating New Year's Eve in Galway on the west coast of Ireland and was preparing myself for a two hour bus journey back to the royal county of Meath. With a family dinner on the horizon of that harrowing bus journey and my boyfriend visiting, it just wasn’t going to happen. Am I making excuses? Probably. But when the entire country is hungover you can't be too hard on yourself. Tomorrow is a new day, and the year is still new. However, the next day comes along and I'm still pretty wrecked, my online winter college course is about to begin, and mother is cooking up a batch of her divine pancakes in the kitchen. Blah, blah, continuing with the excuses I'm just gonna go with the fact that it is technically still a holiday. Come day three, alright look, I’m still on holidays. I'm only back in Ireland for a short time, stop being so psycho and embrace the extra fluff girl.
In short, basically what I’m saying is that January is a pretty awful month to achieve such expectations of your best self. The idea is great but the physical act of doing it is painful. Realistically, after scoffing down as many mince pies as possible, Jacob's biscuits that you just had to pair with your cuppa, and that box of Celebrations devoured in one sitting, you're not going to feel that hot come the first day of January. We’re all a bit fat, extremely broke, and wondering how to make pizza healthy when really you just want a giant slab of greasiness, with ALL the cheese please. Baby, it is COLD outside and this new-found you that just gave up bread is being highly contemplated.
Don't get me wrong, it’s undeniably a beautiful thing that once the final chapter of a year closes we all take a moment to reflect. Reflect on our accomplishments, our failures, and on the changes we can make to be the best version of ourselves. Maybe for you it might just be that chance to buy new stationary, and a new pen for good measure. I mean don't we all love a shiny new planner to begin the new year. It makes you a new person, right? But I feel there is so much pressure to change into this new person that once you fail with those unattainable goals the whole year is thrown into disarray and the oops! we'll try again next year commences.
Maybe January didn't work out exactly the way you planned. February is a new month and those goals you might not have been ready to begin with on the blurry morning of January 1st are still there. Instead of looking at the month of January as a struggled attempt but a repetitive fail from last year, look at it as a month of preparation. I mean, that's what I'm doing. Although I didn't prepare for anything except not being too shocked about the inability of closing the top button of my jeans, or any button for that matter. Analyze what worked for you, and what didn't. How you can do better and what do you now know isn't your thing. Do I really want to do vegan? Am I miserable without cheese? Is life too short without bread? Think about the benefits of taking January to put yourself in a position to really succeed and polish up your plans for the year ahead. Life is all about improving yourself and trying new things.
Making my 2018 goals had me thinking that I seem to always make the same resolutions year after year. How many times have you began the year saying this is the year I’m going to get really healthy and get into great shape. Last year I can't even remember what I promised myself for 2017 (or where I wrote it down), but I'm sure it went something like this - stop eating bread, stop eating shit, don’t miss a day at the gym. Basically, unrealistic. Simply no context, no meaning behind it, no reason why or how I'm going to do it. So, beginning my NEW, new year I’m going to give my goals some context, rather than paddling around telling myself I'll start again tomorrow until the next year rolls around once again. Ask yourself, why am I doing this, what do I want to accomplish and how am I going do it. What is the point setting unattainable goals when I know I am not giving up chocolate for the rest of my life?
Eating whatever I want, whenever I want is obviously not what I have planned for the year ahead. But instead of depriving myself, a goal of mine is to take better care of my body. Absolutely no deprivation, but learn more about balance. Move more, create more of a fitness lifestyle rather than not missing a day at the gym. Finding what works for you could change everything.
Throwing away the fact that this post is already way longer than I expected (I promise this won't always be the case), I have all my aspirations written in my brand new journal that was purchased for the new year (of course), but here are some other goals and resolutions of mine I want to achieve for 2018, both big and small..
No. 1 Start My Blog
If you are reading this, technically I achieved the baby step of this goal. This is first and foremost the number one goal of 2018. I first began a blog in 2015 a few months after moving to NYC. But of course, the lack of confidence thwarted my passion and an abrupt delete ensued without much thought. After confidence built up, working full-time while studying full-time became the focus. After that, an internship accompanied the chaos. There was never enough time. I had become obsessed with being busy. I'd arrive home to Ireland for the few months of winter or summer break and was so burnt out from being so busy that I didn't have the mental capacity to sit down with my laptop. Other than to binge on Netflix on a repeated episode of Gossip Girl. Well this year, I'm calling bullshit on being busy.
No. 2 Travel More
Sounding completely cliché here but who honestly doesn't love seeing more things and experiencing different places. Living in New York most definitely cuts a scary hole in your pocket, especially if you are a student (yet you still manage to pull $7 for that matcha latte because, well, you need it). So honestly, travel has been slightly on the back-burner. Despite what I'm saying, I did manage to get away quite a bit. But I just want to make it more of a thing, ya know? So as we begin 2018 and graduation is soon approaching, it seems like the perfect year to stuff myself back into my travelling pants. The goal this year is to travel to at least four new places. It might seem like very little to some, but I’m not gonna put too much pressure on myself money wise in my last year of studying. I’d rather say I bypassed myself and made it to seven places, rather than turn around and say I made it to three instead of four, ya feel me? cool. So I’ve made it my mission to visit more European cities. January kicked off this 2018 resolution with Prague in Czech Republic! Which in fact was originally suppose to be Paris, but Ryanair and their always considerate strikes cancelled our flight. Unwilling to take off those traveling pants, we decided on Prague. Neither of us had been there so why the hell not. First new city, check. I do love ticking off lists.
No. 3 Say Goodbye to Meat and Chicken (Again!)
In the summer 2014 I became vegetarian, and was incredibly passionate about it. Three years later, I decided to try chicken and meat again and see how it affected my body. After analyzing the differences, I decided that fish was all that I needed. You see, you need to see what works for you and your body! What works for you might not work for someone else.
No. 4 Start living in the moment more.
No. 5 To achieve balance, routine and structure. This is something I am constantly working on, but 2017 I felt I really made progress.
It doesn't matter that 2018 has begun. As I said, January is depressing enough without that kind of pressure. You now know what worked, and what didn't. So with all that being said, what are your 2018 aspirations, the big and the small!?