Tuesday, 30 December 2014

2015 - goals and thoughts

I often belittle myself for beginning to panic at the prospect of a new year. If we are to be realistic about what a new year actually is, it is nothing more than the sheer passing of time. Another 24 hours in a day, another day where the sun rises and falls. But it's the word 'new' which frightens me. I love new things - you know when you treat yourself to a new bag, or receive some beautiful new jewellery as a present which is so shiny, new and delicate you don't want to use it for fear of breaking it? That is, in my mind what the new year represents for me.

I find it strange how we excite ourselves wanting to get rid of one year so we can look forward to another - often wishing to eliminate periods of our life in a certain year. Unfortunately, no matter what year it is - the negative memories you associate with that year has nothing to do with what year it happens to be at the time. It's interesting how we capture sections of our lives into 365 day segments. 2009 was a good year. 2010, not so much. When really and truly, the reality is that I've struggled in some areas of my life, and had positive fulfilling times in others - no matter what year it is/was.

New Years is associated with pressure, and many of you will know that I am not one who deals with pressure very well! Weirdly enough, I do like the idea of making changes as a new year approaches, but I'm not quite sure why. Half of me doesn't want to conform to that kind of pressure - of which I need to lose weight, make positive changes, drink more water - and vice versa. Yet the other half reels in the perfectionism aspect of beginning something new and fresh. I think for me, it has a lot to do with my struggles for identity. I massively struggle with figuring out who I am as a person and feel as if my identity constantly adapts and changes - to then want to reconfigure myself for a new year seems crazy as I spent the rest of the moments in my years wanting to do just that.

I discussed last year how useful the prospect of a new year can be psychologically - and I still stick by my sentiment. I am a sucker for a good to-do list and that is why I tend to write goals instead of resolutions. Resolutions imply for me that I wish to change aspects of myself - which is wrong, the goal is to accept myself, flaws and all - and use that as a fuelling technique to push myself forward into recovery. Also, I think a huge trick is to use your goals and resolutions for YOURSELF and not for the benefit of others. If you're setting out to lose weight, make a huge lifestyle change, rid friends all because someone else wants you to - these are not your goals and it is important to recognise who you want to make changes for before you do them. This is something that I struggle to separate in my mind.

I'm going to keep a separate goals list written down in my 2015 diary, as it feels more personal that way - but I'll share with you some of my prospects and plans for next year. These goals will be quite vague but it's because I think the main message of today's blog has already been addressed. Don't pressure yourself to change in 2015.

  • To return to therapy/taking medication - and stick to it! If it doesn't work out, at least I can pat myself on the back for trying my absolute hardest. BPD (and anxiety, for that matter) is a complex illness and will undoubtedly remain with me for the majority of my life, but if I can learn to control it, that is the most important thing. 
  • Pass my second year at University - work as hardest as I possibly can.
  • Try to live by a routine of saying YES more often than NO.
  • Make an aim for a 23 books challenge - one book for every year I'm alive. If I surpass it, amazing! If not then it's okay!
  • Much more charity work and mental health awareness raising in 2014, I hope! I'd love to do more work with my blogging and hopefully vlogging (which Nathan is encouraging me to try out again!)
  • Try to get into a routine of running and exercising often - which also includes yoga and mindfulness. Despite doing the Race for Life each year I know that I have a capacity to do so much better and I'd love to continuously raise money for charity this year whilst conquering fitness and anxiety goals at the same time.
  • Look after myself more - I became really run down at numerous occasions this year when I usually have a good immune system and I can only put it down to not looking after myself enough. Frequent baths, wind down time, walks, exercise, good food, and vice versa. This also includes use of my Headspace app on my phone to engage in mindfulness - excellent source of DBT therapy which I never make time for myself to do!
  • Travel often.
  • Most importantly - allow myself to be happy. Do more of what makes me happy. Sometimes, when I'm genuinely happy I panic and worry because I'm happy. Which sounds bizarre, but because of my constant mood changes I'm used to falling into low mood soon after a high one. But my main aim is to embrace the happiness when it does arise, capture it, savour it. I know it's possible. 
It sounds strange but we enter years praying for miracles. But the truth is, nothing comes good to you without effort on your part. I am one to say that I haven't tried hard enough to make my life better for myself - mostly because I never feel like I deserve to try and make my life a good one - and ultimately, because it is HARD. Liking and accepting yourself enough to want to make positive changes for yourself is something that requires effort, and let's face it, we are less likely to put effort into these tasks than others because it feels the most challenging. I can't beat myself up for not accomplishing goals which were never possible to happen simply because I never tried in the first place. Recovery and trying to make life better for yourself is SO difficult and cannot take space just in the space of 365 days. It is a gradual process. So make the next year and the rest of your life less about pressure, but more about simply living your life as a journey.

Happy New Year everybody.

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