I first wrote this post about alternative new year’s resolutions at the very beginning of 2019; but a lot is still relevant a year later, because – surprise surprise – I didn’t manage to accomplish everything on the list!
Happy new year guys – did you have a wonderful Christmas and new year? This is always such a surreal time of year, with the excesses of the last few weeks still being felt, and real life resuming as though it never happened.
Lots of people take this time as an opportunity to make pledges for the year ahead, and I’m sort of doing that, but without the associated pressure! New year’s resolutions don’t tend to work, do they? So rather than holding myself accountable for reaching unattainable standards, I’m going to make myself a few promises which will only benefit me.
No faddy diets or unrealistic professional goals here. Instead I’m aiming to simply tick some items off that ever-growing list we all have but rarely find time to attend to.
Alternative New Year’s Resolutions – Without the Associated Pressure to Succeed
1. Get Organised
I’m breaking every rule in the book with this one – it’s not SMART. Oops. This year has seen my personal best (worst) for forgetting birthdays and other important events. I’ve been mortified on at least three occasions, and I blame bastard Facebook. I got complacent – and then it stopped doing birthday reminders!
So this year I’m going old school and will be treating myself to a nice desk calendar for my new office!
2020 Update: I did it! I don’t think I missed a single birthday this year – phew. In the end I found a nice calendar for the fridge so I’d be sure to see it regularly, and it worked, so I’m doing the same again this year. Success!
2. Switch Broadband
Bain of my life since we moved home – this is a situation which at this busy time of year has been easy to ignore, yet really requires my attention. It’s my bread and butter and still I’ve not found the time to complain to BT, due in part to never having taken an interest in how it all works.
Writing about it here has been the nudge I’ve needed to carry out a little research, which is half the job done and I now have a better understanding:
There are two main types: standard, and fibre broadband. Standard broadband packages in the UK use ADSL technology, transmitting data over the existing Openreach phone network. This means it’s (almost) everywhere, but average download speed is around 10-11 Mbps, compared to the daddy of broadband, Virgin Media, at 362 Mbps. But there’s a middle ground – fibre broadband (not Virgin) uses fibre optic cables from the exchange to the cabinet on your road, allowing speeds of up to 67 Mbps.
But do I actually need super fast broadband?
Maybe – because I work on the interwebs most days. Ultimately however, it depends on what I’m using the internet for. If my BT broadband is working sufficiently then occasional photo of video uploads should be no problem. If I were to have kept to last year’s resolution (!) and got more heavily involved in vlogging, it would be more important.
Given that I still want to do that at some stage, I’m going to take a look at the current broadband deals on offer. Hopefully by comparing deals online I’ll find the one best suited to my needs in terms of cost and speed. In the meantime, I’ll be asking BT to check our line is working properly.
2020 Update: We changed our provider! I’m not convinced it’s loads better, but there’s an improvement at least.
3. Look Into Getting a VA
For those of you who don’t know what a VA is, it stands for virtual assistant – essentially an online PA. I’m not sure that it’s a justifiable cost for my business (yet?), but after a reasonably good year and considering how much I don’t enjoy some of the social media platforms I use, I’m going to seriously look into the possibility.
2020 Update: I did look into it, but the cost of a VA is still more than I can justify for now.
Which is a shame, because it would free me up to…
4. Block Out Time Away From My Desk (Phone)
Because I have to be ever-present on social media, I find myself dangerously tied to my mobile – and it’s not good for my mental health or that of my family. I wish it wasn’t the case, I feel almost constant guilt over it which I despise but have accepted, and I wish things were different. One of the issues is that I can’t just go cold turkey – it’s my job.
So blocking out time away is the next best thing and something I want to promise to do not only for myself, but also for my girls and my long-suffering husband.
2020 Update: Um, I think I failed here. It was inevitable, and I’ll try again this year. But for as long as I do this job, this one is very difficult to implement.
5. Take Better Care of Me
I’ve been so focused on other things for the last few years that beyond staying clean and presentable, my self-care has been relegated to the bottom of my list of priorities.
My husband is great at sending me for a bath a couple of times a week to help me stay sane after a tough day with the kids, but frivolous things like painting my nails – nope.
That’s a great example actually: because it’s non-essential it’s fallen by the wayside – and yet it’s simple and makes me feel nice! I used to regularly paint my nails pre-children, and I’ve decided the time has come to do so again.
Likewise – jewellery; I have many beautiful pieces wistfully gathering dust on my window ledge because jewellery is like catnip for babies.
My brother and his partner bought me a beautiful personalised necklace for Christmas and, anticipating Elfin grabbing at it, I put it on temporarily. But she hasn’t paid too much attention! And so I’m going to attempt to get back into the habit of wearing jewellery too.
2020 Update: I’ve done okay here, but I could do better! I do wear jewellery every day now, particularly the lovely bracelets featured in this post which are designed to help with positivity.
However, baths appear to have fallen by the wayside since Elfin has become extremely clingy. And nails never really got started due to the maintenance.
Another one I’ll continue to work on.
6. Rediscover My Love Affair With Exercise
Right up until the day before I gave birth to our first child, I regularly worked out, frequently and intensely, every week without fail. I loved going spinning twice a week and often went for a morning run, working up to ten miles before an ankle injury put paid to that. For several years this was part of my routine before heading into the office. And then babies changed all that.
I’ve adapted because I’ve had to, and I now walk lots – especially since we moved and I can easily get everywhere on foot. But it’s not really enough and I would like to begin adding in a little more vigorous exercise again, even just once a week. I miss it.
2020 Update: I started swimming occasionally and doing yoga regularly, and then I stopped again! But I still walk loads, and I’m going to keep trying to do more.
If I don’t achieve all of these goals this year, then guess what? The world won’t stop spinning and I won’t care too much.
But if I do then my life will be enriched/improved. So I have some pretty compelling incentives to prioritise my to-do list – and now I’m going to browse pretty desk calendars…
Do you have any goals for 2020? What are they – and are you going traditional or making alternative New Year’s resolutions too?