OK, we know it’s February, but resolutions are supposed to last the whole year anyway, right? As part of our Jabruary series, we’re thinking about our 2018 #goals in light of our 2017 #life.
With A Little Help From My Friends I Get By
I think we can all agree that 2016 was the beginning of the end. But one good thing did come out of that dumpster fire of a year – it collectively galvanised us into getting our shit together in 2017.
I was always content to float through the year like a dandelion gently blown around by the Winds of Fate. Que sera sera, c’est la vie, right? But I desperately wanted, needed to end 2017 in a markedly different place than its predecessor, and for that, I needed an action plan.
So for the first time in a long while, I made a list of resolutions. They’re not exactly unique or profound, but the act of breaking down my goals into realistic, manageable action points felt foreign, though not entirely unwelcome. Suddenly, I was imbued with a sense of optimism. 2017 was going to be my year.
RESOLUTION #1: COMMIT TO AN EXERCISE ROUTINE
I never understood the appeal of working out because a) if I needed to destress, alcohol is a much better companion and b) to quote the great Ann Perkins, I know it keeps you healthy, but God at what cost???
Anyway, in a fit of enthusiasm, I decided to bid the sedentary life goodbye. I envisioned myself glowing with superiority from waking up early and exercising on weekend mornings, posting smug post-workout selfies and choosing whole grain salads over bacon pancakes for brunch. Instead, I turned up 15 minutes late for my very first class in years and was barred from entering.
I was ready to chalk up this resolution as a failure and re-commit to being a potato. Unfortunately, I had very persistent friends. Friends who cheerfully harassed me into signing up for exercise classes, cajoled me into joining their fitness activities, and willingly accommodated my lower fitness level when working out together. In the face of all that goodwill, tough love and support, how could I NOT turn up?
I finally attended one exercise class. Pretty soon, I was signing up for 10-class packages and stocking up on activewear (Cotton On Body, if you’re reading this, hit me up). I haven’t gone full #fitspo – my limit is still one class per week to be honest – but I do notice a welcome change in my posture and energy levels. And more importantly, a newfound awareness and appreciation of my physical body. To feel muscles that I did not know existed move, to stretch and move and realise the limitless potential of your corporeal self… maybe this whole fitness business is on to something.
RESOLUTION #2: FIND A NEW JOB BY MID-2017
In terms of taking action, this wasn’t a difficult goal. I gave myself a realistic timeline, I actively earmarked potential opportunities and set myself the extremely-achievable task of sending out at least one job application every week.
The actual difficult part was in finally deciding that I had enough of feeling empty and unfulfilled in my previous job, and that the onus was on me to Do Something. For the whole of 2016, I blamed various external factors (Organizational changes! Absent bosses! Industry underperfomed!) for my circumstances, when I could have just… left.
Everything was absurdly smooth-sailing once I actively took charge in steering the direction of my professional path. I received replies, went for interviews, and tendered my resignation by June 2017 – exactly the mid-year target I had set.
2018, what do???
2017 was uncharacteristically productive for me. I got a new job, started exercising, travelled to new places and achieved a slew of other objectives I had set out for myself. It felt good to be ticking off resolution after resolution, but by the end of the year I was running myself ragged. Settling into my new job, dealing with personal relationships, maintaining a social life, keeping up with a healthy lifestyle, setting aside time for self-care… I was so overwhelmed by life’s constant demands that I nearly got myself deported from the country (!!!!).
When I was leading a more low-key (read: lazy, sloth-like) existence, I had a lot more time to devote to my mental well-being and internal development. I’m not suggesting that I abandon my current productivities, but in 2018 I would like to seek more balance, especially in these areas:
- Say yes to me-time: As someone whose love language is quality time, I find it extremely hard to turn down social invitations. Instead of saying no, I compromise and work around my schedule a lot. As a result, I am a perpetually exhausted pigeon. In 2018, I would like to remember that there is always some other time to be social – my friends will not begrudge me for prioritising me-time.
- Be more purposeful with my downtime: Perhaps this was a side-effect of constantly running around, but the things I originally intended to do to relax or unwind ended up feeling more like obligations. I slap on my skincare products in a rush instead of relaxing in my routine, I consume media and literature mindlessly without much reflexivity. I want to be more conscious, do things with purpose, and focus on enriching my internal life.
To be honest, I haven’t had the greatest start to 2018, having abandoned all aforementioned resolutions due to a crazy January. But the beauty of resolutions is that you don’t have to wait for another calendar year to begin again – you CAN (and you WILL!) be the master of your fate with a lot of determination, commitment and support. Here’s to a fulfilling rest of the year ahead!
(Header image credit.)