The internet is awash with posts and articles about New Years Resolutions at the moment. I don't smoke, don't drink much and not particularly keen on joining a gym. All in all, I'm not one for resolutions...but I do feel that the start of a new year is a time to reflect on the past and focus on the year ahead. In 2016 I will turn 40 and it feels like a big milestone to me. My 30s have been eventful. I lost my Dad, got married and became a Mum. There were lots of ups and downs, sadness and much laughter, all part of the roller coaster of life. As I enter my fourth decade, I want to try and leave behind certain behaviours and traits. I think letting go of negative thought patterns is one of the gifts of growing older. If I can learn from past experiences and make changes, then hopefully in my 40s I'll be happier in my own skin...
As we enter 2016, there are certain things I'd like to try & focus on. I wanted to write this post so that I would have something to look back on when 2016 draws to a close in twelve months time. On New Years Day I was scrolling through my Facebook stream when this quote from Anne Lamott jumped out on me. I saw it on the Story of Mum page, always a good source of inspirational posts. I haven't quite been able to get it out of mind my ever since.
I think I can relate to almost everything Anne Lamott mentions. In 2016 and beyond, I want to embrace my 'big, juicy creative life' and resolve to do less of the things that make me feel bad. Back in November I wrote a post titled "Practising gratitude can be good for your mental health. As I get older I want to try to become more resilient and look after my mental health. Here is how I aim to do this:
1) Less people-pleasing:
I don't want to change completely, I will always be the sort of person who cares about other people. I may always be the sort of person who puts others first. But what I do want to try and do is protect myself too. I am a worrier and the one thing I worry about most is upsetting other people. So I tend to become more introverted in social situations in order to 'fit in'. Before Christmas I also saw another quote that I love: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.”. In 2016 and beyond, I hope to speak up more, talk about my achievements and not let people put me down.
2) Worry less about making decisions:
Closely related to 'less people-pleasing' is attempting to make decisions that I feel happy with. I really need to work on making decisions and then making my peace with those decisions. I have spent far too many hours in the past worrying about the impact my decisions have on others. I often say 'yes' when my head and heart want me to say 'no'. I overthink almost every decision, it can be exhausting and time consuming. Sometimes you just have to trust yourself and go with your gut instincts.
3) Try and tap into my creativity and imagination:
I really don't do alot of staring off into space. In fact, I don't even sit down much. Mr. M often says I find it hard to relax. I need to try and stop every now and again, just so I can look around me. I want to get back into sewing and need to resolve to make space for that in my life. Making time for writing is important to me too. It may not be a novel or a memoir, but my blog acts as a space to gather my thoughts and express myself. I want to have more confidence in writing more meaningful posts that reach out to a wider audience. I've made a start on changing the focus of my blog in 2015 and my blog traffic has doubled. I love connecting with people through words, so "Me, You and Magoo" will continue in that vein into 2016...
4) Don't get strung out on perfectionism:
Striving to be a perfectionist is something I inherit from my Dad. It's good to be driven and to try and push yourself, but perfectionism can often trigger overly critical self-evaluations. I am my own worst enemy at times and need to stop comparing myself to others. Social media and the media in general are extremely clever at tapping into our insecurities. My husband deleted his Facebook account about a year ago and says he doesn't miss it one bit. Social media sites are the perfect place to create an idealised version of your life and broadcast it to everyone. If you get sucked into thinking everyone is living a better life, then you will always find it hard to have confidence in yourself. With this in mind, more creativity and less screen time is on the cards for me in 2016.
5) Learn to play the ukuele:
I know this doesn't sound like something directly related to negative thoughts, but bear with me. Mr. M bought me a ukulele for Christmas because I've always wanted to learn to play one. I think it's important to learn new skills and not write myself off as 'too old' to learn an instrument. So there's no time like the present. Music is good for your mental health and people who play instruments exercise their grey matter more. So, hopefully when looking back on this list in twelve months time, I'll be able to play 12-bar blues. Watch this space...
This week I'm linking up with these lovely blogs:
"The List" over on youbabymemummy.com and www.mrandmrstplusthree.com
"Happy days" over on www.whatkatysaid.com and www.quitefranklyshesaid.com
"What I'm Writing" over on writingbubble.co.uk
"Share With Me" over on www.letstalkmommy.com
"The Prompt" over on mumturnedmom.com
"Be Inspired" over on www.tots100.co.uk