2016 - GIVE GIFTS

I'm not the gifty-type. I like presents, but I don’t love them. I don’t remember to give them out, they’re usually late and I'm not too bothered about receiving any either. Lewis, on the other hand, loves presents like lots of my other dear friends. It’s too unfortunate that I rarely get my act together in time to be generous and give someone a gift for a special occasion or birthday.


So in 2016, I’ll be endeavouring to give a little more in the formation of presents, so those who love presents will feel thought about and looked after in the way they prefer the most.

2016 - IF YOU'VE NOTHING GOOD TO SAY

Last Monday I went to my Great Nan Elsie’s funeral, she lived a full life and passed away at the end of 2015 a centurion. At the tribute my Aunt said one of her fondest sayings that she always lived by was, “If you've nothing good to say, don’t say it all.”

What we speak is powerful; words have the potential to transform our futures and change lives with weighty ‘yes’s’ and ‘no’s’. They have the potential to tear others down or build people up and for 2016 I’d rather be the latter.

I've indulged - haven’t we all? - in a little bitch, moan and winge, and it feels good... for a minute or two. But after that I get this weird feeling that doesn't sit right with me. I'm not interested in being someone who’s tarnished with the brush of negativity and I don’t want to hurt others with my words in the process. I want people to trust me and trust what I say. I'm a cut the crap kind of girl anyway, so if I can’t say it to your face, I shan't say it all.

PLAY PIANO

I love the piano more than any other instrument and I can play a bit too.. But I'm not Alicia Keyes. Last year I stopped hiding my piano in the cupboard under the stairs and placed it smack bang in the middle of my living room so it challenged me everyday - wooing me to play it.

Some days I ignored it, telling myself I didn't have time to indulge in such luxuries - there were jobs to do, things to plan and people to see.

But occasionally, I confronted my nervousness that I wasn't yet a master pianist and reminded myself to slow the pace down a little to practise. Sometimes it was scales, sometimes it was learning new chords, sometimes a new song was born. Rarely did I walk away from the piano regretful about the last few moments I had spent twinkling away. And now I can hardly wait to pop it back in its rightful place once the Christmas tree is down, bang smack in the middle of the living room!

MOVE MY BODY

I've never been one for exercising or sports and massively discounted my ability to succeed in this. The biggest thing for me to overcome in this area was my own self. Here were a few of the rules I applied to exercising in 2015:

1.       No ‘I’ll start Monday’ attitude about anything health related. If I ate the chocolate bar, I wasn't going to beat myself up about it and sulk. I would eat the chocolate bar and continue to run later that day.

2.       I wasn't going to measure the distance or timing of my running and I most certainly was not going to get frustrated if I hadn't thrashed my target from the day before. Each time I exercised was going to be an achievement simply because I’d moved my body that day.

3.       To realign my thinking from ‘weight goals’ and ‘losing weight’ to focusing instead on keeping my heart healthy, muscles moving and blood pumping. I was going to be grateful that I had a body that was able and I was going to use it.

One of the other things I had to overcome the most was the fear of other people’s opinions of me. I was wrongly thinking that every time I stepped outside the door I would be ‘found out’ as not ‘a runner’. Instead I told myself these strangers didn't know that, maybe I was slow because I had a knee injury? Or maybe I was a professional who had been running all my life! I also figured that if I was focusing on all these thoughts about myself whilst running, chances are, other people were focused on themselves too.. not how silly I looked.


Running became relaxation. It’s the only thing I do on my own, that I want to do on my own. It’s my time to focus, do something for myself and switch my mind off. I'm proud that I got my body moving to discover something that I can do for myself - without adhering to putting pressure on myself - in order to enhance my health and my well-being.

TAKE TIME OUT

Lewis & I are hopeless at recognising when to take a break. We’re fortunate enough to love what we do and we thrive when we work hard.

In 2015 we set ourselves the goal of taking a holiday - maybe even two (!)
We’d learnt the hard way that continuous working without relaxing to take stock equates to burnout and a stagnant imagination. So with that in mind we planned ahead, snapped up cheap deals and learnt to take up chances without regret – freelancing means you’re almost always guaranteed to be offered work the minute you book a holiday!

And we did it! We managed a hiking holiday in remote Snowdonia and our first proper fortnight away together when we visited Goa in October.

It might sound trivial but I'm most proud that we recognised we need time for peace of mind to refuel and ignite our imaginations again. I'm proud we took a risk to live out our dreams and remain present by booking out these two periods of space – because otherwise what are you working towards, if you’re unable to enjoy the fruits of your labour.


BE VULNERABLE

In 2015 I wanted to allow myself to become more vulnerable with others.

For one reason or another I found I had become a naturally guarded person, with interest and intent in other people’s lives - as long as nobody could truly get to know me. I was very concerned with feeling safe and accepted with someone so that I could truly let my guard down.

Suddenly, I didn't feel comfortable with being the kind of person who only opened up if I felt very secure with a chosen few - that felt more like counselling, not a relationship. It didn't seem healthy to me that others could freely open up but my actual thoughts would remain a closely guarded secret, and it was becoming lonely.

I'm glad I tried being more vulnerable with others in 2015. I learnt through sharing my vulnerabilities with others - admitting imperfections, concerns, dreams and ambitions - that other people warmed to sharing, and in turn shared their own stories.

It was a bit scary but I needed to confront the idea that I had to hide my truest, softest, squishiest self from people. I realised I had no real reason to hide at all, it was all a mirage! Nobody was shocked, offended or freaked out by it. Okay, so sometimes it hurts a little bit more now when I'm let down or I show my vulnerability to someone and it's misunderstood. But we've all heard that phrase, ‘It’s better to have loved and lost…’ and I'm a firm believer in giving it everything, rather than wondering what could have been.

2015

I'm a very goal-orientated person who finds great satisfaction in ticking something off ‘the to-do list’. So, love them or hate them, in 2015 I / we set a few attainable goals – not resolutions – in the hope that they would pave the way for a healthy satisfaction rather than guilt ridden intentions.

As January is the start of the calendar it’s only natural for it to be a time to consider what is ahead and reflect on the previous year. I'm coming at it from a different angle this year, I'm choosing to consider the positives from the past rather than beat myself up about something I didn't achieve, succeed in or move forward with.

Here are a few of those 2015 goals I'm happy to say we did manage - including a few for 2016, which I'm hoping will encourage you to reflect on similar ideas for yourself.