New Year, New Me

Here we are, a week into 2019.

My legs are in agony, partly from forcing myself to the gym, partly from the lovely little tumble I had heading home after the bells. My healthy eating plan lasted all of a few hours until someone ordered Dominos for breakfast after our Hogmanay celebrations. I am still on the hunt for an over-priced notebook with dotty pages in the hopes that this year will finally be the year I start – and keep using- a bullet journal (surely it’s the answer to all of my problems).  I seem to have accidentally acquired a boyfriend three days in, which is a slight distraction from all of the work I was determined I would have done by now and the plan to practice everyday like a serious music student has become more of a freak out about all the practicing I could have done and haven’t done thus far, leading to some less than productive work.

So, I guess it’s time to embrace a new outlook for my 2019 goals.

While the beginning of a new year does provide me with a much-needed boost of motivation, the unwanted pressure to strive for some kind of new-found perfection never creates the happiness I am convinced bettering myself will bring. Launching myself into a strict new routine, creating rules and restricting myself from actually enjoying life (ok I know I need to budget better but when else am I going to find a dress this cute for this cheap other than the January sales?!) turns the excitement of what is to come into a deep dread at the thought of the endless slog of pretending to be someone else, a better version of reality, Emily 2.0 – at least until towards the end of January when birthday celebrations begin for me and my pals, prompting a slippery slope as we all crack like eggs, end up in Exo far too often and spend all of our SAAS on chips and cheese from Belmont Kebab (We love you Mr Regmi).

Speaking of birthday celebrations, I remember that as a kid, I would give myself until my birthday, (the 25th of January), to mess up my plans a bit so that by the time I turned a year older I would be ready to have a whole year of being that age to get them right. So, adopting my childhood philosophy, I have concluded that this year, I need to forgive myself for my mistakes and just keep pushing onwards.

I can have a new year whenever I want to, whenever I am ready to. I don’t need to recreate myself every time January rolls around. For example, heading back to Uni in September; I became a Musical Director of a fun little a cappella group, something I never thought I would be capable of. I made so many new friends. I signed up for the gym and tried a bunch of classes that I ended up really enjoying. I started all my new second-year classes, started new rep with my singing teacher. Started rehearsing new operas. Sound like a fresh start to me. Maybe September is the new January? Or maybe Refreshers Week is my new beginning? Maybe I will finally start dancing again? Maybe I’ll properly stick to learning piano? Maybe, maybe not. Who knows, the opportunities available are endless and most importantly don’t have a time limit on staring and don’t have a contract keeping you there. I can go try anything I like, I can stop anything I don’t enjoy. January is going to be about widening my experiences, not confining myself to some miserable plan.

Next Monday is a new week, tomorrow is a new day. It’s never too late to start doing what you wish you were doing, it’s never a bad time to make positive changes.

Ew. How patronising. But hey – sometimes a motivational speech is just what you need to get over the insecurities that every new year resolution-themed advert or post online sparks deep down in our sub-conscious about the flawless existences we should be experiencing.

So, am I ditching my new year resolutions? Yes and no.

While I think resolutions, on the whole, are pointless added pressure that will only last a few weeks until the routine of normal life kicks in after the holidays, the urge to try new things and the ease to do so as a million taster sessions and membership deals flood our inboxes is a chance to hit refresh and grab the resolution of learning a new language, trying out ice-skating, maybe going to learn how to knit something over than a scarf – whatever you’ve been meaning to try that you’ve never managed to get round to.

Yet, in the very same breath, all of these options can be overwhelming. I have been saying for years that I am going to go try Ballet… but I also want to start Highland Dancing again, I stopped when I moved away for uni. Now it’s all well and good to want to try something new, and of course, it would be nice to keep up something I’ve enjoyed doing for most of my life, but I need to accept that fitting in two new hobbies into my schedule just isn’t realistic. Even if the classes weren’t on Fridays at the same time in opposite ends of Aberdeen, even if I didn’t have to be in Glasgow every third weekend for opera rehearsals, creating such a busy timetable for my everyday life when its already so full is going to result in things that should be fun becoming laborious – especially when the burn out really kicks in. Does this mean I’m failing these whimsical resolutions by avoiding trying out everything I would love to do in order to put my health and studies first?

With constraining “healthy” or helpful resolutions banished to allow me to actually enjoy existing and goals to try things I have always wanted to do out back into the pile of dreams that will have to wait until a better time to become a reality, what’s left for me to actually base a resolution on?

I guess the only thing I can resolve to is to not have any strict resolutions. A lot can happen in a year; everything is constantly changing, so it doesn’t make much sense to keep one consistent resolution for 365 days. Instead, I will make my way towards any goals I have bit by bit, without pressuring myself too much, making progress when I am ready to. Maybe taking this approach, to just live my life and take everything as it comes, resolving to not resolve, letting myself be free to be myself, might bring about a better me who is also happy instead of drained from her new routine.

Hey, being responsible for my wellbeing and minimising stress?

I guess a new year is a new me after all.