There are New Years resolution blog posts everywhere at the moment, and I love reading them, especially the late comers that have taken a couple of weeks into January to figure themselves out. It’s not just bloggers though, from conversations I’ve had with people the whole resolution thing seems to have shifted this year. What I’ve noticed a lot is that people seem to be scrapping the idea of resolutions, and instead focusing more on what they hope to achieve over the coming year.
There’s a million things I’d love to achieve, some of them doable and some of them definitely not, and I’m not really a resolution maker either, so instead I’m looking more at what I want to change this year.
I’m taking this approach because by the time I finished work at the end of 2018 I couldn’t have been more ready for a break. I felt like the last few weeks crawled by in a never ending battle of trying to get everything done, fighting off frustrations, complaining to deaf ears, and generally willing the time away until I could sit and relax with no pressure from anywhere.
Everyone gets busy in the run up to Christmas, but it wasn’t really until I looked back on the year that I realised this wasn’t the only time I’d felt like that, and so much of my general well-being, attitude and outlook suffered because of it at multiple points throughout the year.
With two weeks off I had time to myself, and that’s such a luxury these days that for the first couple of days I didn’t know what to do with myself. I felt a bit on edge, and it took me a while to adjust to not needing to be constantly checking emails or darting about from one place to the next to cram it all in. I’d forgot how to slow down and relax.
During the two weeks off I had some really busy, fun days, with everyone close to me, and I didn’t worry about anything. I also had some time between Christmas and New Year where I made the most of having days to myself. I blogged a lot, I did the stuff I never have time for – small edits, updating pages and my media kit, I organised thousands of photos, and generally pottered about. It was so nice, I felt so much better for it, and it really made me realise how much I needed to slow down.
So in light of my new found ability to relax, and actually switch off when I’m not at work, from looking back at last year, and how important it is to make changes when you realise something just isn’t working I’ve come up with a few things I’m changing for myself this coming year.
Blogging for myself
I started this blog originally as a place simply to share my photos, and over the last three years that has obviously developed into what it is now. I found as I started to write things down it was such a good way to look back at everything I’ve done. I started my monthly round up posts and until I looked back over them, and my camera roll I found that I’d forgotten so many things. Facebook might disappear one day, along with time hop, but my blog will always be mine.
My monthly round up posts are some of my favourites to write, and I really enjoyed the reflective week of blogs that I did at the end of December. Writing up my favourite places to eat, my 2018 highlights, and my top nine photos of the year were just blogs I genuinely enjoyed writing. I think sometimes people want to see the more personal stuff, it definitely gets a lot of views, but from my perspective it was also a refreshing change to write those posts. I’d do them even if nobody read them.
Which is basically where I’m going with this. Everyone has a hobby, or something they love to do to unwind, get things off their chest, or to forget about other things going on. Blogging seems to be mine, but I often don’t finish or publish those posts as frequently as I’d like to. I’m making a conscious effort this year to share more of them.
Putting yourself out there and sharing opinions online can be quite daunting, and as more and more people read what I have to say I am more aware of what I write. But at the end of the day it’s my opinion, my blog, my life, my experiences, and my choice. People have the option not to read, or to unfollow.
So you can expect to see more of those types of posts, dotted amongst the travel guides and Newcastle posts. I do them for me more than anyone and I never want to look back on my blog and think OK ten places to eat in Paris is great but what was actually happening in my life then?! Nobody else will probably even notice, but I will.
Stop over committing myself
For my own sanity I really need to stop committing myself to things. I found last year there was a huge increase in travel with my job, and I was continuing to commit myself to things on the days around work trips, weekends just before or just after going away, and it massively took its toll.
I have a real problem with basically not being able to attend my own life, and as much as I love travelling with work, I cant let it affect my personal life as much as it did last year. I cancelled on so many people, so many events and so many opportunities. I’m committed to my job and there is a frequent need to travel, but I’m going to be so much more aware of the bigger picture.
Some weekends I’m going to choose to do nothing, to allow myself the time to relax and switch off, and I’m going to make sure I see the people who are important to me. I can’t do everything and I’m no longer going to try to.
I’m lucky to have flexible working, so rather than fill the time I have gained from this I’m going to use some of it to deliberately do nothing.
Constantly flitting from one social commitment and work trip to the next turns life into a bit of a blur, and you just can’t appreciate it, the places you go or the things you do when you’re moving so quickly on to the next. If I have to say no to more things, to be able to say yes to the things that matter then that’s OK with me.
My photo style
So while I was lying on the sofa in my onesie and stuffing my face with a box of after eights, I began playing around on photoshop and lightroom again for the first time in so long. The amazing camera that now comes with the iPhone, and with so many apps available I got lazy. I haven’t improved or altered how I edit my photos in so long and it’s time I did.
I think it’s important when doing anything creative to continue to try and improve and develop, so I spent some time watching YouTube videos and trying out new things. I love bright, colourful photos but I think I maybe started to overdo it a bit towards the end of last year.
Along with making a few tweaks to my blog itself, nothing too major, and my plans to mix up my content a bit I’ll also be trying new photo edits and styling. I haven’t a clue how this will go yet but photography is how I got into all this in the first place so I’m definitely going to brush up on my skills, maybe buy a new camera and try different things this year.
A healthier lifestyle
The boring one that everyone says, but this goes beyond just going to the gym, which I’m not doing and have no intention of doing for a while. For the last few years I’ve done the 5.2 diet once a year, at a time specific to when I’ve wanted to lose weight.
This time of doing it I’m determined to take it further than just the four weeks, and instead I’m using it as the starting point to an overall lifestyle change. Before Christmas I threw all notion of what is acceptable when it comes to eating out and takeaways right out the window. It was pretty disgusting actually.
I love eating out and I love takeaways. This being the main obstacle to a healthy lifestyle, I’m cutting back completely. 5.2 is great for me for weight loss, it really works and I always feel so much better about myself to doing it.
The weight loss is the starting point, but this time I’m doing it to then continue on with generally healthier choices so I don’t pile it all back on again. I’m not going to stop eating out, but I am going to make healthier choices especially midweek.
But it’s not just physical health that leads to a healthy lifestyle. Mental health is just as important, and I attended a mental health workshop at the end of last year which was so insightful to that. I have a phone full of notes from it so I might actually share them soon. Let’s see how all of this goes but it’s one I want to stick to the most
Speaking up more
I think a few people will laugh at this one as I wouldn’t really say I ever sit on the fence, but there are things that I feel like I’ve left unsaid from times last year. I’m really not one to sit quietly if something bothers me, I much prefer to have it out, deal with it and move on. By the end of last year I was in a very negative mindset, especially towards work and I hate that I felt like that.
I love my job and not many people can say they work in a field they enjoy, but things became too much and it affected my whole life. I was tired, irritable, snapped at everyone, took it out on people away from work, and generally let it bring me down. Because of this I often kept quiet about things, as I was really aware I might be over reacting or taking things negatively when they really weren’t.
I don’t know if you’ve seen recently Cara Delevingne’s post about speaking up against R Kelly, and how it lost her 50 thousand followers. The summarised version from her post said that she’s always been taught that confrontation is bad, and she’s therefore been silent for a lot of her life in order to avoid it.
Sometimes not speaking out can cause more problems, and while my instances are probably pretty small, that’s definitely true for me. Things can escalate and feel like much bigger problems than they are, so I’m sorting that out this year too.
I’m also massively going to encourage others to do the same. If you’re coming to me for advice this year, it’s going to be face your issues head on and deal with them.
So I wouldn’t really say these are huge or drastic changes, but they’re enough to hopefully make a difference to me. What about you have you made resolutions? Goals? Changes?