A new year is great - it's the perfect opportunity to "start fresh", to dust off all the cobwebs of the previous year and vow to do something amazing with the year ahead. I love that we get this opportunity for a blank slate and to renew our zest for life once every year, but in all honesty, the older I get the more I'm starting to see it as just any other day.
Of course, there's all the wonderful celebrations - I couldn't go out this year because of my op to (hopefully) fix my migraines, but I had the most wonderful of New Years Eves, probably the best I've had yet. B and I spent the evening at my parents house drinking expensive champagne (because we've accumulated ridiculous amounts over the last year), eating nibbles and rolling about laughing whilst playing Cards Against Humanity. Now, it may sound really very tame and quiet, as far as NYE celebrations go, but the reason it was such a good one is because I found myself completely at peace with 2014 and calmly ready for 2015.
A lot of people take the opportunity to reflect on the year that's passed. For some this is a great way to sum up all the fantastic things that have happened, and for others it can be a sombre affair. My year has had it's ups and downs - in some aspects (my job for instance) it's been a brilliant, exhausting and fascinating learning curve. As I've reaped the rewards of my working life, it's meant that my struggle with anxiety and depression has become all the more apparent. The contrast between the two has been harsh. While my anxiety is well managed, I'm not content with that. I want it fixed. I've made all the effort I can to work towards this, and finally in 2015 it's looking like the ball will start rolling (NHS waiting lists are the bane of my life). Towards the end of this year I found it really easy to quickly cast my mind's eye back over 2014 and think to myself "yep. that wasn't so bad". Not great, not awful, but not so bad. I didn't dwell on it too long, hindsight is a terrible thing.
After the reflection inevitably comes the forethought. Undoubtedly there are a thousand and one things that I'd love to do differently, or to achieve in 2015. But really, they're not too different from the things I wanted to achieve in 2014. Mostly, these things are long-term goals, with short term milestones. I find that it's much easier to achieve seemingly unattainable goals if you set small, manageable milestones in the meantime.
I don't like resolutions - it's almost like playing Devil's advocate with yourself. I've read many a post over the last week laying out the ways that you can be sure to keep your resolutions, but inevitably it never works because the goals are often ambiguous ("lose weight" - how much?, by when?) or just far too long term to be achieved in a year. I know that the things I'd like to achieve eventually, at some point, aren't things that I can realistically accomplish within a year (or most of them anyway) so I try to lay out some realistic milestones that work towards my ultimate goals.
So, instead of making resolutions I make myself something akin to a personal goals list - and it looks a little like this...
1. Personal: Learn Japanese - buy a Japanese language textbook. Use the Human Japanese app at least once a week (possibly more).
2. Time Management - Blogging: Schedule posts in advance. Take on no more than 5 opportunities at once and sign off one before accepting another. Endeavour to respond to emails within 3 working days.
Time Management - Teaching: Plan all lessons two weeks in advance. Use every spare moment wisely.
3. Work/Life Balance - Plan weekend trips in advance. Pencil things in my diary. Save up for a holiday. Book things before you change your mind!
4. Health - Eat at least 2 piece of fruit a day. Eat at least 2 different veggies a day. McDonalds ban (except for McFlurry). Cancel that stupid gym subscription that you never use. Attempt the 30 day shred.
So hopefully you can see that these aren't resolutions as such, but more small goals that I'd really like to attempt to achieve - some of which span much beyond just one year. I'm not going to get too hung up on it all, but if I can manage just a handful of these things by the end of the year, I'll definitely feel like I've taken that one step closer towards my ultimate goals.