New Year’s resolutions? Not really something I’ve ever put much thought into. I’m not the world’s greatest planner. My husband does enough of that for the two of us and a few more to boot.

That doesn’t mean to say that I don’t have ideas about what I want to do. One of the things I do almost every year is reread Doing It Now by Edward C. Bliss. As I said in my review, it is both inspiring and depressing. Inspiring because when I review my goals from years ago, I see that I have actually achieved some of them. Depressing because it makes me realise that I’m still struggling with some of the same issues, in spite of knowing better. Knowing that my life would be better if I was more consistent with certain habits isn’t always enough to change my behaviour in the face of other distractions and the belief that I should spend my life learning and enjoying myself, not having a perfectly organised house.

After much thought, I have come to the conclusion I should stop trying to make myself into something I’m not. What’s the point of fitting a square peg into a round hole? I strongly believe the road to happiness means playing to your strengths, not trying to become somebody else. After all, the grass always seems greener on the other side and it’s a well-know fact that people with straight hair always wish it was curly and vice versa. Of course, if you want to work on something to improve your skills or persistence in a certain area because it would make you happier or healthier, then follow your dreams or conscience, but do it in a way that suits you.

Sometimes it helps to be challenged by somebody else

I know myself well enough to know I’ll probably never have an empty ironing basket, and I might not be able to tell you exactly what we’ll be eating for dinner every night this week, but that doesn’t mean to say I don’t have goals and dreams. Sometimes it helps to be challenged by somebody else and sometimes it helps if that somebody is someone you don’t know personally. I’m no fan of being nagged except in the vaguest of terms. I know perfectly well when I haven’t achieved my goal, but if I get a reminder in my inbox every day to exercise or tidy up or write or create something, I’m more likely to do at least some of those things every week. If my husband is nagging me, on the other hand, I’m more likely to dig in my heels and think up a more interesting priority to work on.

Matt Frazier’s #writeandrun31 challenge

So I was happy to find an email in my inbox on the last day of the year, challenging me to write and run for 31 consecutive days. Actually, I didn’t read it until 1 January, so this is my first piece of writing. Also, my first excuse. Today we’ve been travelling, so I’ve spent most of the day sitting in a car and on a ferry. On the other hand, I had to run up and down the stairs getting things ready this morning. Why does the cat food always run out when you don’t really have time to fill it up? Don’t tell me, I probably should have spotted it and done it earlier. Maybe, but it did give me some extra exercise and get my metabolism moving on the first day of the year.

Permission to fail – be kind to yourself

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.

And who said you had to succeed first time? Life’s a journey. It would be boring if you’d already done everything, wouldn’t it?

So, I will be accepting the challenge, but ‘run’ will be interpreted very loosely. ‘Exercise’ is more my style. Running may be included. My gym is organising a run in the dark in April, then there’s the women’s 5km (or 10km) women’s Marikenloop run in May that I ran for the first time last year. Can I improve my pitiful time?

Writing I can do, but can I do it every day for a month? Probably. There is hardly a day goes by that I don’t write something, even if it’s only a book review. And it takes the pressure off if you realise that some of what you write can remain as a draft. And something else I believe: if you miss a day or break your resolution or do the complete opposite to what you planned, even if it’s for more than one day, or a week or longer, doesn’t mean to say you can’t get back on track.

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Resolutions / goals and dreams to work on

  1. Exercise every day. Run, walk, do some squats and planks, go to the gym or do the housework. It all counts.
  2. Write every day. A blog post (draft or publish), a book review, a web text.
  3. Take more photos.
  4. Chip away at the household chaos.
  5. Reading challenges:
    • 1001 challenge (BookCrossing – BC)
    • 6 countries, 6 continents, 6 books challenge (BC)
    • Reduce MTBR challenge (BC)
    • Around the World challenge – Frequent Flier & Circumnavigator (Goodreads)
    • Decade challenge (Goodreads)
    • Popsugar Reading Challenge – my daughter challenged me to this one. I may not accept it.

Just when I was writing this post, an advert came on TV for, inspiring people to try something new when they get old. It seemed apt.