Apparently new year’s resolutions aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. Ok, I’m exaggerating so you’ll read my post. Though it is a commonly held belief and there is probably some research out there to confirm that if you create a list of ‘will do’s’ then the likely scenario is that you won’t do – any of them. Sometimes the problem can be that we set ourselves improvement goals that are unattainable. Another problem can be that we start the year believing that we are fat and full of problems and simply that mindset sets us up for failure.
Research has recently concluded that you will see the most health benefits from physical activity if you believe you are active enough (Radio 4, All in the Mind). Participants did the same amount of activity but those who believed they were doing enough had better outcomes than those who still believed they were lazy buggers who would die early. I reckons (pushes glasses up nose) it comes back to our penchant to believe that we’re ‘not enough’, which is life-stripping in so many ways. See, scarcity culture is bad for our health. Literally.
Obviously, if you sit around on your butt eating creme eggs, no matter how much you muster up the belief that you exercise regularly, you will still have health problems. Yet I find it fascinating to hear of another example of your mindset impacting your physical health.
Even more so, your mindset impacts your mental health, it’s not just a coincidental syntactical similarity. Back to the new years resolution thing, perhaps to decide on a mindset for the year would be better? It’s not a straightforward measurable like ‘lose 10 pounds’ so less demoralising and I’m proactively attempting to improve the way I think and approach life in all areas.
Ali Edwards has created the One Little Word movement, which involves selecting one word for the year that you live and breath and make daily choices out of its influence.
Here’s my word for 2018 (it’s little, you could miss it):
It’s small, but powerful. It’s about movement, progress, action. But it could also be about staying where you are. It’s about making choices.
This is what it means for me and how I hope it will influence my 2018, though I anticipate it will change and grow…
Do more, think less
I love thinking. It’s a big part of my personality and I don’t want to disparage or negate that. It has its benefits. For example, arguments with me tend to involve a lot of silence as I formulate answers, as opposed to angry, thoughtless words that would hurt you and I will regret later. Helpful on the one hand, infuriating on the other.
Where it tends to cause problems is when it comes to creativity. I’m too busy trying to think of the perfect outcome that I don’t actually put a lot down on paper, if anything. At the heart of creativity is risk and so I can’t map out the perfect story or creative project entirely in my head first. I’ve got to get out the rubbish first draft. I’ve got to write 5000 words of crap before landing on that thing that it’s all about.
When approaching my writing, crochet, anything creative, ‘just do it’ willbe my mantra. Crack on.
Do more, fear failure less
I don’t like getting things wrong. Who does? Perfectionism is a creativity killer. If I want to be innovative and also make the most of my time I need to hesitate less and accept the inevitable slip ups… and big fat falls-on-my-face. I can’t tell you how much I can struggle with this. It’s so easy to hear ‘please do this next time’ as ‘how could you have not got that right first time around, you cretin’. Yes I may have never done it before, but still, I should know and perform perfectly, 24/7, in all areas of life, right?
It sounds ridiculous but yet that’s my daily life soundtrack. It’s tinkering away in the background making me hesitate and cry over being human and making errors.
Do more to connect
With life having upped a few gears in recent months, I am realising how much more intentional I need to be to connect with my husband and kids. Being in the same room doesn’t equal connection. I have to make a conscious effort to do that baking time… Do that help with homework… Do that board game (even though it is so boring and it’s usually destroyed in a fit of rage before we can finish it anyway)… Do that snuggle time… Do that extra story at bed time.
And then there’s the kids…
Do and then don’t
This needs as much of my commitment as does the pushing past fear and cracking on with creative tasks and work. To accept that no matter how many hours I put in, I can’t ever achieve all that needs to be achieved because there will always be another email that comes in, another issue that arises, another change that needs a response, and so when it comes to the end of my working day, whatever is left undone, I need to let it go – mentally and physically. I have to accept the discomfort I may feel and just do it. Close the laptop, accept my limitations, and rest.
How’s your 2018 going so far? Do you have a mantra/word/theme? Perhaps you’ve gone with tradition and it’s working well for you? I’d love to hear in the comments.