Thursday, 7 January 2016

New Year Resolutions, or, Redesigning Myself

I'm not generally a big fan of New Year Resolutions. I'm very aware that many of them have been ditched long before the end of January, some even by the first weekend of January. So I'm wary of making them. Far better, I think, to make a resolution (or two) each day, if that's what it takes. One day at a time, to quote a well-known organisation. This year may be different.

What about the most popular resolutions? I gave up smoking years ago, I don't drink much (honest!), and I already eat fairly healthily. I certainly don't bother with 'I'm going to lose weight' New Year resolutions. Too vague, for starters. Plus, if I go down by one kilo but then up by two over the year, does that count as losing weight? I use the Runkeeper app to set weight-loss goals which I regularly miss, though I have managed some of them. Trying to combine optimism with reality is often a problem.... At least with a cumulative total of exercise, there is the possibility nearer the deadline of spending time on the treadmill to get the kilometres covered. I tend to set short-term goals on the app, with two months to achieve them. And then set them again two months later. And so on. Eventually I shall get there.

I have decided this year, however, to go for some other self-improvement stuff as New Year resolutions. Generally, these are things about me that I find annoying (so if I'm annoyed by them, how must the rest of you feel?!). A lot is to do with fear/courage. Courage is, of course, being scared but doing it anyway. I confronted some elements of fears last year, and they seemed to go quite well, so I'm reaching slightly further out of my comfort zone this year, and going public on what I'm doing in the hope that you will all be able to encourage me further (yes, that verb was chosen deliberately).

Firstly - fear of dogs. Lots of my friends seem to have dogs. I'm not a dog enthusiast, being more a mad-cat-lady-in-training, but my wariness/terror of dogs has got worse in recent years. So I'm going to make much more effort to cope when dogs are around, possibly to the extent of patting them on the head or potentially even going for a walk with them (on a lead, and with their owner. Please. There are limits!). This doesn't mean I would like all dog-owners to come round with their bouncy pet to show me how friendly they are. I know they're friendly: that's part of the problem. I need to deal with them on my own terms.

Secondly - fear of rejection, in publication terms. I have a lot of poetry in a possibly over-edited state, and I keep telling myself it's not ready to be sent out yet. Until I send it out, though, I won't know if that's true or not. Last year, I finally plucked up the courage to send four poems to a respected journal; they're publishing one and really liked two others but didn't quite have room for them. So this year, I am resolving to send poems out to at least two other journals. If they don't like them, they don't like them. It doesn't mean they're not good. (Just keep swimming, just keep swimming....)

Thirdly - fear of failure. There's a meme out there somewhere that if you haven't failed in life, it's because you haven't lived, that failing at least means you're trying. I'd prefer not to fail, if it's all the same to everyone else. I formed a company a couple of years ago and so far it has done absolutely nothing. Its only expenses have been paying the accountant to file the annual accounts saying that there has been no trading (and no income!). So this year, even if it all goes horribly pear-shaped, I am going to take action and do something with it.

Finally - fear of public humiliation. Those who know me well know that I would much rather write and direct than perform, even though on occasion I have been persuaded to do the latter. I'm not really really bad at it, I'd just much rather not do it. The fear of going wrong, forgetting lines/moves/timing, ruining things for everyone else or being laughed at when I wasn't intending to be funny - all these fears merge into a massive anxiety attack that can leave me irritable, unable to eat and sleepless for weeks. I did have a go at some singing again last year that unfortunately got a bit out of hand and involved dancing as well in places, and I won't be repeating *that* in a hurry. But if it's possible to leave out the choreography... Who knows. This is a difficult one that also isn't entirely in my hands. Let's just say, I won't rule it out.

Those are my New Year resolutions. Here's hoping for a successful year but not to the point that you all hope for next year's resolutions to be to tone things down a bit!


  1. Well said Nikki, I could hear you as clearly as if you were reading it aloud. Proud that you put it out there, and glad to support you in risk taking, it is very freeing to break down our personal barriers where fear is involved. Happy and satisfying 2016 to you!

    1. Thank you for the support - I suspect I'm going to need it!