It’s been really quiet around here, and that is entirely my fault. It’s not like I’ve stumbled into a particularly bad patch of writer’s block and haven’t come up with anything to say – my notebook is filled with ideas and half-realised musings that I’d meant to show other people. It’s just that none of them are finished, and most of them haven’t even progressed past the deranged-rambling-first-draft stage, so it’s safe to say that they will stay in the blog post graveyard for now.
There was a point in my life, maybe two years ago, where I fashioned myself a kind of blogging schedule that I would be able to realistically stick to; that worked – for about three months, before life intervened and the schedule and the blog was abandoned.
A lesson that I keep learning over and over again is that circumstances and the cast of people around you tend to change more frequently than you think. Life is mostly trying to adapt to these changes, often jumping and hoping that there’ll be something to reach for on the way down. It is difficult and scary, but if your life is remaining at a constant, you’re probably doing something wrong.
The past few years in particular for me have been jumping and sometimes finding a merciful ledge, but mostly falling and falling until someone else lifts me back up, or I hit rock bottom. It’s not been great, and I finally realise that in order for things to change, I have to instigate it. So in 2014, I have decided to introduce some new features in my life that will hopefully keep me on solid ground, and avoid my next fall from being too hazardous.
New Years’ Resolutions are bullshit. I usually throw one or two big ones in there (finally move out; realise career goal) that I do not have the willpower to follow through with. Some resolutions don’t end up being completed because of changing circumstances out of my control, or just a change of heart. The result is a list of incomplete resolutions at the end of the year, and one disheartened girl.
I think some of the problem is that a year is an awfully long time to plan for. I have some friends who have known what they’ve wanted to do with their lives since they were children – they can see the bigger picture and are pretty good with understanding what they want to achieve, and friggin achieving it. I do not number in their ranks, because I have no clue what I want to do in terms of say, a career or life in general. What field do I want to work in? Do I want to get married? Or have children? Will I have time to eat breakfast tomorrow? I DON’T KNOW! and it’s difficult to plan for a future that you can’t even begin to picture in your mind.
The first class I attended in my first year of university was centred around goal-making; I think one of the most important things I learned at university that I still carry around with me today is to make SMART goals.
That is, the goals have to be:
Whenever I write out a list of things I want to achieve, I try to stick to the SMART formula. Instead of saying “I will aim to drink more water”, your goal should be “I will drink eight glasses of water every day” – this is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART!).
Planning for a whole year (let alone five, or 10[!]) is daunting and quite frankly, unrealistic for me. Instead, I have broken down my yearly resolutions into monthly goals. For instance, one of my resolutions is to get fitter. You may notice that is not a SMART goal – normally I would say something like “go to the gym for two hours, three times a week”. Except that I know that is not a goal that I would be able to keep up with for 52 weeks. I juggle jobs and responsibilities, so my schedule changes throughout the year (side-effect of undecided future). It is much more manageable to re-evaluate and adjust my goals each month so that they fit in with my schedule, and that I can actually achieve what I set out to do and keep motivated throughout the year.
That’s the theory, anyway.
There are times when life can feel stagnant. Time is a weird concept and sometimes it feels like nothing is moving at all. When change doesn’t come quickly enough, you have to instigate it yourself. In the very last tutorial class of my final year at university, one of my professors dispensed some excellent life advice. She said that no matter where we ended up after graduation, whether it be our dream job, or some place just to pay the bills, it was important to re-evaluate our lives and career goals every eighteen months. If after a year and a half, we weren’t satisfied with what we were doing, we should quit. Or at least make a change.
Enter: my version of the Quarter Quell. Every three months, I plan to switch up a part of my room – whether it be my desk, my wall organisation, or completely re-doing my bookshelf. Most of my time at home is spent in my room, and I use the space to work, play and sleep (I know, you shouldn’t sleep and work in the same room, but where else am I supposed to write when inspiration hits at 2am? I’ve tried the kitchen and it doesn’t work). I find that regularly changing a part of my room, or even just giving it a good deep clean makes the space seem newer. And a shiny new space invigorates me to work, play and sleep harder.
If you’re thinking that my Quarter Quell isn’t exactly Hunger Games-hardcore, it’s only because you don’t know the pain of throwing out whole boxes of unused craft supplies. My deep-cleans are intense, you guys.
I intend on doing much more physical exercise in the new year. In 2013, my excuse was that I never had enough money to join a gym for more than a few months at a time. I completely ignored the fact that Blogilates offers free online workouts, and that there is a giant park begging to be run in not ten minutes from my home.
This kind of ties in with my monthly goals, because I will be adjusting my fitness goals to align with my schedule. I am currently focusing on getting back into running on a regular basis, and running in public in particular, because that is still a massive fear of mine. I am a big fan of using RunKeeper to track my running path and my average speed. The reason I find treadmills so appealing (besides being able to run in private) is that they present my stats to me as I’m running. Apparently I am not motivated unless I am told constantly how fast I’m going, and to keep up the good work. So RunKeeper is my current incentive to run outside, in the real world, in front of people. It is my treadmill away from the treadmill, if you will.
Anyway, those are the new things I’m implementing into my life in 2014. Hopefully it will keep me out of the hole, or at least make getting out of it a lot easier. What are some of the new things you’re looking forward to doing in the new year?