Sunday 3 January 2016

2016: the year to overcome negative thoughts

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...
inspirational Anne Lamott quote discussing perfectionism and creative life over vintage moygashel fabric
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 and
"Happy days" over on and
"What I'm Writing" over on
"Share With Me" over on
"The Prompt" over on
"Be Inspired" over on


Unknown said...

Banishing negative thoughts is a great ambition for the year, and as a recovering perfectionist myself, I know how hard it is to let go of that one! But just being aware of it is half the battle. Here's to a great year for you! :)

Maddy@writingbubble said...

Firstly, thank you for linking to #WhatImWriting - it's always lovely to 'meet' a new linker! I think your plans for 2016 are wonderful and all work together nicely to push you in a positive direction. Absolutely, you're never to old to learn something new especially an instrument. you'll have to post an audio clip at the end of the year! (no pressure and it doesn't have to be perfect and you don't have to do it at all ;) )I'm also a people pleaser and it can be very draining. I'm much better at saying 'no' these days - it's all work in progress! I have a love/hate relationship with FB - love keeping in touch and being nosey and sharing stuff but, you're right, it's such an idealised environment and it's not healthy to be on it a lot - your husband was on to something there! Thanks for sharing this post - it's made me think! xx

Unknown said...

Thank you for this post - it's exactly what I needed to read. I found myself nodding along with every single one of your goals - right down to the ukulele! It's the self-consciousness and people pleasing that really gets me though. Every time I think I'm on top of it something comes along (like, say, Christmas with my family...) to shoot me down and make me doubt everything all over again! So I think there is an awful lot for me to learn from your attitude. Looking forward to following your blog as the year unfolds x

Leigh Kendall said...

Banishing negative thoughts is a fabulous thing to focus on this year. It's liberating to stop caring so much what others think, and to stop thinking things need to be perfect. All the best xx #sharewithme

Katy (What Katy Said) said...

Great points to try and aim for and I love that you are wanting to learn an instrument- I am not sure my brain could cope! Thank you for sharing in #HappyDaysLinky x

Sian said...

These are such great aims, especially being less of a people pleaser. I am terrible for this. Good luck learning to play the ukelele! That sounds awesome! Thanks for joining in with #HappyDaysLinky x

Moderate Mum said...

This is amazing! I'm all over these right down to learning the Uke. I got one last year and learned one song so I'm hoping to at least double my success from last year #sharewithme

Let's Talk Mommy said...

Fabulous goals for such a big year ahead darling. Wish you all the luck to accomplish these and more. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me blog hop. I hope to see you again this week for another great round. #sharewithme

Let's Talk Mommy said...

I am not sure if my comment with through hunny and didn't want you to think I hadn't stopped by and read and appreciate you linking up. #sharewithme

mumturnedmom said...

I can relate to so much of this! Being a perfectionist and worrying too much about what other people think is exhausting, and I am working hard on these traits... I've just chosen the word 'simplify' to guide me through 2016, and letting go off excess baggage is one of my aims. Getting rid of negativity is such a wonderful thing to aim for, I look forward to following your journey x Thank you so much for sharing with #ThePrompt, and lovely to see you on #whatimwriting too :)


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