Each year I make New Years resolutions. Each year I promptly break them at about, oh, 12.02 on New Years Day – at most a few days later, as long as I’ve decided “They start when you wake up” (Clearly, the “give up drinking” can not be enacted at 12 midnight on the night in question). They’re typical, and unrealistic and I wind up beating myself up about failing at them fairly rapidly. I know I’m not going to Never eat chocolate, or always say no to that cheeky glass of wine. I’m already laughing at the concept of going to the gym every morning before work. So why? Why do we tell ourselves that this year will be different, when we’ve failed every year before and are no less good people for it? Yes I’ve a few more, lets say curvaceous, body parts than I would like and I imagine the no-chocolate, no-wine, gym bunny I aim to be would be a lot faster about removing them, but realistically I’m also a working mother with a healthy appetite and a regular amount of stresses in every day life – we all have to give in a little bit and turn off the alarm for five more minutes. (Ha. Unlike the child who doesn’t have a snooze button).
This year, its all about Aspirations rather than resolutions. Things I would like to happen, ideally, but that I’m not resolving myself to do – if they happen it will be nice, and I will aim to meet a lot of them, but hey, its no big deal if we fall off the wagon. As a leader in Weight Watchers advised us a few months ago, “There is no shame in falling off the wagon. The shame is to remain lying there longer than you have to”.
So what to add to a list of Aspirations for the year ahead?
1. Read more books. I used to be an avid reader, I was that child who if lost in a toy shop would be found in the book section, not with the Barbies. Then college came and broke me and it became all about the growing pile of academic reading which I was so behind on that I resolved (see, theres those resolutions again causing trouble) to not read for fun until I had the academic stuff done. So seeing how my reading list became all about FIonn Mac Cumhaill and his many, many conquests (Think Fifty Shades, Medieval Style, with a few more fur pelts and awkward turns of phrase) and the economic systems of Sweden and the recession (fun for all the family), my poor fun reading got relegated for quite a while. It never has really picked up stamina again since, and the introduction of a tiny tyrant who really does make you obey the statement “Sleep when the baby sleeps”(i.e. rarely) has not helped matters. I am hoping that this improves in 2015 as I feel I’ve a lot to catch up on. I’m also looking for suggestions as to what all the other cool kids are reading, so please leave suggestions in the comments below!
2. Start swimming. So this one is like “Join a gym” but different. Firstly, I’m a member of a gym already and just being a member apparently doesn’t send the memo to your stomach and thighs to start acting accordingly. Secondly, this one is somewhat physio mandated, because of my back I’m allowed to do very little strenuous exercise but apparently swimming will strengthen my back while not putting much pressure on it. I’m hoping it also works for toning up the Mammy Belly – there is only so much that weight loss can do, so its this or a miracle.
3. Cut down on Caffeine. The pre-childbearing me would have considered this a reasonable request. Nine months into parenthood, I’m never far from a coffee cup and even so it is never enough. While I’m hoping that E will aspire to “sleeping the night in full” or at the very least “wake up and play quietly in my cot before going back to sleep disturbing nobody” (ha), I realise that he’s an infant and not doing this deliberately so I’m going to have to learn to live with the sleep patterns we’ve become so accustomed to. The caffeine consumption is going to have to be cut down on though – its not healthy, it doesn’t help with concentration and worse still, I find it only really kicks in when I least need it to – not during the full, long stressful day in work, or when the baby is crying at 4am, but at just after midnight when I need to fall asleep quickly in order to maximise the amount of sleep before the next wakeup – I have a feeling that changing my double shot lattes and copious cups of tea for a herbal tea or even a bottle of water may help with the falling asleep, while he learns to stay asleep, and then we all win.
4. Improve my writing. This year, I started writing this blog as a place to vent while I was heavily pregnant and imprisoned by the Irish weather and being huge, pregnant and signed off work (later hospital bound). It was therapeutic and has opened doors to connections with people like me (and people I aspire to be like), as well as improving my writing and general doing-stuff-on-the-internet knowledge, which is constantly being improved. I’m hoping in the next year to improve my writing further – not to put pressure on like saying “I will blog every day”, as I’ve learned nothing incurs writers block more than saying it has to be every day – but to work at it, set aside some time to do it and not leave it to snatched moments like it is at the moment (when I could be sleeping). Focus on the blog and find out what I want to write about and just do it. It’s something I enjoy so I want to do more of it, but better. Simple as. And if I learn how to use WordPress properly without breaking my blog any further, all the better..
5. Hakuna Matata. As the singing animals do say, it means no worries. This one is quite the aspiration as I’m a worrier- about stupid things, insignificant things, but I manage to stress myself out unnecessarily and really, life is too short to add even more pressure. I’m not going to be that Pinterest mother, my child is not going to wind up square eyed and developmentally stunted by watching a few episodes of Bob the Builder, and nobody is looking at me at that level of detail that they’re judging my dark circles at 8.30am as I wait for the bus. So I’m going to give myself a bit of a break, theoretically. There are still going to be stresses. still going to be stressful days, I don’t think theres an option for a stress-free grownup life in modern Ireland, but I can do my best to try not to add to it and give myself a slightly clearer head. Starting with the not worrying about the fact that my gym membership is completely going to waste come January 2nd…
So those are my main five – what about yours, have you any good ones to add? Let me know in the comments below 🙂
Edit: After I wrote this, the lovely Helen at The Busy Mamas set up a wonderful linky to look at the year ahead, so I’ve joined in the fun. You should check out everyone elses plans following the link below 🙂
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