ImageNow, I’m not one of those preachy ‘New Year, New You’ types, but I do love the beginning of a new year; somehow, it feels like a fresh page to begin writing the next chapter on, a chance to start afresh and make some changes or set some goals. I love the opportunity to re-evaluate myself and my path, and how things are going, and I always spend New Year’s Day making my resolutions. My list is usually a mix of things I’d like to change about myself, and things I’d like to achieve during the year, as I find this gives me a sense of motivation to succeed in all of the areas, bar a few – I’m only human!

1. Visit five places I’ve never been to before. I set this as a goal for 2013, but due to low funds, university work and general life, I only managed two. This year I’m determined to cross off the whole list, beginning in the Spring with a return to Paris, where I’m determined to explore some places I never managed to get to last time.

2. Read twelve new books. I love to read; it’s by far my favourite pastime, but it’s something that’s fallen by the wayside since starting full-time work, when it becomes all too easy to fall into a stupor in front of the television instead of getting absorbed into a beautiful story. This year, I’m pledging to read twelve wonderful new books, one a month, so it’s a manageable target.

3. Watch twenty new films. Similarly to the above, it becomes too easy to believe you’ve not got the time to invest in watching a film. This year, I’m going to make sure I work my way through the pile of unwatched DVDs I have in the flat, alongside any new fabulous films that come along in the cinema.

4. Achieve a healthy body and lifestyle. I’m sure this is one that most people have on their list, but this year I’m determined to mean it. I don’t really want to get any thinner – I’m a happy size 8-10, I just want to be at a healthier weight and get toned up, so I feel confident, happy and energised. I think I definitely take my body for granted, and youth is on my side, but I really want to learn to enjoy exercise and begin to really love and look after my body.

5. Learn to ride my bike in the road. This sounds super silly, I grant you, but hear me out. I’ve never ridden any bike on the road, as I’m absolutely terrified. I can’t ride one-handed to indicate turning, I don’t know the highway code or understand road signs, and am a general wuss. But Lewis’ grandmother gave me her beautiful pink vintage Raleigh bicycle in 2012, and it is still yet to be ridden outside. I want to spend Spring and Summer, and most of Autumn, riding my bike to work, and for that, I need to learn to be a big girl. And obviously get a bell and a basket. Obviously.

6. Complete a five mile run. This is one that I’m not altogether sure about. Put simply, I hate running. With a burning passion. But in my mission to fulfill objective Number Four, I’m going to try various ways to look after my body, and running seems like a good place to start. I’ll begin soon, with gentle jogs around the park, and hopefully will build up to five miles by summertime.

7. Blog more often, and blog for myself. I love my little blog, and I love having a little space of my own where no-one can tell me what to do. But it’s all too easy to get sucked into blogging trends, and more than once, with previous blogs, I’ve found myself straying into territory that doesn’t suit me, simply because it seems to be the thing to do. I want to write what I want to write, and hopefully if I enjoy it, someone else will too. I’d also like to make more of a conscious effort to blog more, as part of my mission to avoid television and do more with my time post-work.

8. Learn conversational French. Like most people, I learned French at school. I did it for three years, then dropped it to do an intensive Spanish GCSE course instead. It’s quite handy knowing the basics in two languages besides my own, but I’d like to pick back up on French again this year, and take it to the next level. It’s my dream to move to Paris in a few years’ time, so that is my motivation to get on with it and get good at it! Souhaiter moi bonne chance!

9. Spend more time with my mum. My mum and I have had an odd little relationship over the years. When I still lived at home, we hung out together rarely, very much enjoying it when we did, but we didn’t do it often. I refused to accept we had so much in common, and kept myself distant, not sharing much, or anything at all, about my life unless absolutely necessary. However, when they moved back to London, and I chose to remain in Aberdeen, things changed. We now speak once a day on the phone at least, and have turned into great friends. I now embrace the fact that we have so much in common that we enjoy, and I just want to continue to improve the relationship. It’s not easy, seeing as we’re still 600-ish miles apart, and I saw her for eleven days in total in 2013, but this year things will be different. I’m taking her on a trip to Paris in the Spring; hopefully the first of many trips away with my new (old) best friend.

10. Write at least ten chapters of my novel. Like reading, I also love to write. I always thought I’d be a writer, and it’s still my ambition to write for a magazine and write a book in my lifetime. I’ve written for quite a few magazines now, so the next goal would be to progress my career into that area in a few years’ time. However, there’s no time like the present, and no excuses left, to not be writing my novel. I’ve a good idea (or so I hope it is!), chapters planned out, and a brand new Moleskine to begin writing in, now all I need to do is grab a pen and get going!

11. Shop less, and buy better quality. I think we’re all guilty of indulging in fast fashion a little too often, but this year is the year that this changes. I thought that when I began earning properly, gone would be the trips to Primark, and I’d begin spending my money in places like Whistles, ASOS, Urban Outfitters etc. Unfortunately, all that seems to have happened is that I continued to go to Primark, but just bought more stuff! Primark has its place in my wardrobe for great basics, but this year, I want to focus on a more timeless, classic style, and for that, I need to begin investing in better quality – even if that means only buying one or two things a month, sob!

12. Save up 20% of my year’s earnings for a house deposit. Pretty self-explanatory, but 2014 is the year that I want to stop renting, or at least set the wheels in motion for buying a house/flat. I’m already pretty good at saving around this amount per month, but i want to up it where I can and save as much as possible, while still allowing for little treats and nice things.

13. Date night, once a week. Lewis and I had a rare luxury in our relationship – three and a half years where we only ever had part-time jobs and college/university, so we spent most of our time together, doing fun things and nice things. Since we both started work, that’s also something that’s slipped away a bit. We still try to make the most of our weekends together, and having two weeks off at Christmas has reminded me how nice it is to just spend time together, having dinner out or going to the cinema. This year, I want us to do something like this once a week. To make it affordable, we’ll go to the cinema on Orange Wednesdays, and look for dinner discounts on Groupon etc. Putting that little bit of extra effort in means we’re always enjoying what time we do have together.

14. Indulge creativity more often. I’m naturally a very creative person, and before working full-time, I spent lots of time writing, making music or making bits and pieces in general. This is something else that has fallen behind recently, and I want to make the effort to spend a few evenings a week writing, sewing, baking or even singing, seeing as I miss it so much! I might even go the whole hog and find a wedding band looking for a singer!

15. Make more effort with weekday appearance. This is something I want to improve immediately. I get up an hour and a half before I need to leave for work, but I always spend about fifty minutes of that time staring at the television whilst eating breakfast. Of course, I end up throwing on the nearest comfortable thing and quickly running the straighteners over my hair. I want to take the time to plan out nice outfits the evening before, and make sure I do something nice with my hair or makeup. I genuinely believe that if you feel confident with the way you look, and comfortable too, then you’re a happier and a more productive person, so this is something that I think will really make a difference to my attitude and work, as well as appearance!

16. Have a glorious Christmas! It’s not like we have bad Christmases, it’s just that they’re never quite what I’m looking for. There’s almost always an argument, and I’ve gotten to the stage where I’d just like to do it myself, my way, and see how things turn out. This year, I’m hoping for a beautifully decorated house, a dressed table, a delicious meal, and happy guests!

17. Have a huge clear-out twice a year, donating at least half to charity. Another self-explanatory one, but something that doesn’t happen often enough for me. I spent all day on Sunday sorting through almost everything I own, and now I feel great! There were three bags of things to be thrown away, two bags for the charity shop, and one bag of items with enough potential to be sold on eBay. Everything feels uncluttered and sleek, I can shut drawers with ease, and my wardrobe rail isn’t bowing in the middle! I tend to only clear out when we move house, so I want to make the effort to go through everything regularly, throwing out anything tired-looking or unworn for long periods of time. Tidy house, tidy mind!

18. Go to the ballet. Early last year, I heard someone I knew had booked tickets to the ballet at the Grand Palais in Paris, for Christmas Day, and I was so envious. This year, we will go and I will love it!

19. Be more present, and live in the moment. I’m a chronic sentimentalist, and also a serial worrier, meaning it’s quite difficult to get me to focus on the here and now. This year, I’d like to let go of old ghosts and memories that hang about my mind, as there are a few that have been around for more than enough time now. I’d also like to stop worrying about what might happen and when, and just do things because they feel right for me. I’d like to accept that if things go wrong, sometimes that’s not my fault, and that’s the way things work out sometimes, and it’s not worth worrying about. I think achieving this will make me a wholeheartedly lighter and freer person, so it’s something I’d really like to work on!

20. Be less anxious. This kind of echoes the above, but I mean it in a different way. I almost constantly have a knot of anxiety in my stomach, and it’s usually about nothing serious. I get very stressed out and nervous about small things, such as if our neighbours will make a lot of noise tonight (a rare occurrence, to be honest), if I’ve said something silly, how I’ve come across, money worries etc etc. None of these are actual things to worry about, and I’m not sure why they affect me so much. It’s gotten to the point where I never feel properly relaxed, and that’s really quite upsetting for me. I’d really like to find a way to shake off the anxiety and learn to be a calmer, more balanced and happier person. I’m thinking about joining a meditation class to begin with, to see if I can begin to wind down.

21. Have a very special birthday! It may sound like the request of a six-year-old, but I’d really like to properly celebrate my birthday this year. I always feel like it’s something that just passes by briefly, without much fanfare, and I’d like that to change. This year, I’d like to be in a different country, to do something amazing, with the people I love. After all, in the grand scheme of things, we don’t have many birthdays, so I’d like to make the most of each and every one.

22. Be more thoughtful in all areas. Sometimes, I speak without thinking. I write without thinking. I buy things without thinking. I do things without thinking. It normally always ends up with that pit of anxiety bubbling away, so I’d like to take my time with everything I do and consider it, even for a moment. I’d like to think more of other people, and what they would like too.

23. Move home! This year may well be the year that I finally get to move back home, it may not be – time is yet to tell. I’ve loved living in Scotland, but the time feels right to be back where I belong, in London with my family. I pray this is something that we can achieve this year, but if it can’t be, then I hope the wheels are at least set in motion.

24. Be the very best that I can be. For myself and for my loved ones.


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