New Year’s Resolutions: making the write move

I’m interested to know if anyone has kept a New Year’s resolution past Valentine’s Day – because I definitely haven’t. In fact I rarely keep one past the 4th January – my resolutions of working out, drinking less, eating healthier, and not buying any new books all broken in the first week of January. The idea that we are meant to make this huge, life-altering changes because the date changes seems very arbitrary, why don’t we also make new month resolutions? I think the problem is I often lack the motivation to change – I know I ought to exercise more, but why would I sacrifice Netflix time for something I don’t even really care about? Why would I swap chicken nuggets for kale when, let’s be real, the former tastes so much better? A lot of New Year’s resolutions seem to be based on something we feel we ought to be doing, not something we want to do.

Last year I decided to make a few New Year’s resolutions, however instead of pledging to make a massive change to my lifestyle I decided to set myself challenges that if I completed would enrich my life. These were things I had always wanted to do, but was maybe scared of or thought would be hard. Some of them were to go out for dinner alone – I love going out to eat, but felt I often missed out on places I wanted to go because I couldn’t find someone to go with. So far I have only managed to go out for dinner whilst travelling alone (another resolution) – but this year I intend to take myself out in Leeds. I also tried to eat vegan one day a week – this became a lot easier when I realised I was lactose intolerant, but a lot harder when I gave up being a vegetarian. All of these made me a better person; eating vegan made me a better cook, going out for dinner and travelling alone made me more confident

The best thing that happened all year though was completely unrelated to any of my resolutions – I discovered something life-changing about myself and it’s something I’ve stuck with because it makes my heart sing, not because I have felt I have to.

I have always enjoyed writing – I spent years writing stories by torch light, creating stories in my head, but it wasn’t until this year that I really started putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and letting myself write. I now write at least three times a week and it has helped me in more ways than I can say – I made a huge change to my life not because I felt I had to, but because I had a reason to, because it was something I felt passionately about.

Really, unless you feel passionately about something, the idea that you are going to change your life because it’s a New Year seems somewhat unrealistic, and if you do feel passionately, why wait until the New Year?

Emma Healey

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