My thoughts about…New Year and resolutions

I feel that generally New Year and New Year’s resolutions are very similar to Marmite, you either love them or you hate them. When I was younger, I always wanted New Year to feel like a fresh start, a clean slate to start anew. I’d sit down and think about the previous year and what I wanted to change or improve on, then set myself goals to work towards in the New Year, almost like it was another school project or piece of homework. The issue with New Years resolutions, is that often they weren’t achievable for me, not because I didn’t want to achieve them but because I didn’t have the right mindset in place to make a change. And trust me, you can’t just will change to happen, you have to put the work in (this took more time than it should have for me to realise!)

As a child, News Years Eve for me was always conflicting. My parents would arrange get togethers with our neighbours and friends in the street where we lived, there would be food and music and we’d all go from house to house as the night wore on until midnight came, we’d cheer and whoop and the parents would continue their merriment until the early hours. I was quite shy so I would put on a brave face to enjoy the party with everyone else even though deep down I was very uncomfortable and just wanted to hide in my bedroom with a plate of party food and a book.

Every year felt the same and the only New Years Eve I can clearly remember from the others is the year I learned to love thunderstorms. I had always been terrified of thunder and lightening, but one year my Grandparents were staying with us for Christmas and New Year when a storm came over. Everyone carried on their party inside our house but my Grandad took me to our garage, opened the door and under the safety of the roof he stood with me, held my hand and we watched the storm. He taught me how thunder and lightening are created and to count the seconds before a clap of thunder so you knew if it was getting closer or farther away. We probably only stood there for 10 or 15 minutes but in my memory it felt like hours. Ever since that night, I’ve never again been afraid of a storm and I love nothing more than sitting at the window watching the flashes of lightening and counting the seconds until the thunder came. That was my favourite New Years Eve, and it wasn’t even the midnight celebrations.

As I grew older and left home, New Years Eve and resolutions changed massively. I was free to do whatever I liked and didn’t have to put on a brave face around other more outgoing people who were happy with a big party. However, as a famously indecisive person there was just too much choice for what I could do! Visit family, friends, stay home by myself and celebrate with my dog? No matter what I chose, I always felt the pressure to make it special and memorable and nothing ever felt good enough. So for a couple of years I ended up either doing something that felt a little flat, or doing nothing at all and feeling even more flat about it. Why did New Year have to feel like this big, amazing night for celebrating out with the old and in with the new? Why did I have to make resolutions to be the best version of myself I could be, only to not feel able to achieve them and give up after just a couple of weeks? When I really thought about it, it’s just another day. The only reason it’s made to feel like it’s ‘go big or go home’ is because of the emphasis we (as individuals) put on it.

In my early 20s, I lived by myself with my little dog and I decided that I wouldn’t do New Years Eve how I had when I was younger, or how I thought it ‘should’ be done. So what I did each year for around 3 or 4 years was wrap myself and my dog up warm, drive to the local beach at about 11:30pm, park up and listen to the radio until I could see fireworks lighting up all along the coast line and Auld Lang Syne would sing out from the car speakers. I’d sit there for about half an hour after midnight, reflecting on events from the previous year and being grateful for everything whether it was good or bad. I didn’t set myself any resolutions or goals for the New Year but instead would visualise what I wanted this year to look like. Did I want to spend more time on my hobbies and passions, less time on social media, was I happy with my job? For me New Year became more of a time for bringing awareness back to myself than a time to set myself goals and tasks that would add more stress to my life which is never needed.

Now I spend my New Years Eve curled up on the sofa with my Husband and dog, watching our favourite television programs and eating our favourite party food. Some people might think that’s boring and that’s ok, they can do something more exciting or fun for them. But for me, I wouldn’t change it for the world!

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