I always think a new year is akin to a brand new school notebook. You open the book, sigh in pleasure at the thought of all those fresh pages to fill, pull out your best Parker pen and write your name in large legible letters. By February, or several pages into the book, you have inevitably blobbed some ink onto the pages, made some crossings out and probably be forced to rip out a couple of pages that were badly written. By now your writing is back to its usual scrawl. You might even have drawn some faces or doodles on the front cover and the name of your favourite pop group in bubble writing on the back cover. (Or, maybe that was just me.)
So it is with New Year resolutions. At our age we have done the “I’m cutting down on alcohol and/or cigarettes. I’m going to exercise more,” several dozen times and how many of those promises have we broken? More times than we would like to admit. How many of us have gym memberships only to give up attending by March?
At our age, exercise and healthy eating should be part of our lifestyles not something we decide to improve or radically change each year. Age is not a barrier to many things but fitness and poor health will preclude you from some activities and indeed some pleasures so we should constantly be monitoring our bodies and health, ensuring we eat the right foods and are active.
I have not written New Year’s resolutions for many years. When I hit forty I wrote out a Bucket List although I preferred to call it my Carpe Diem* list. Each year, I chose a challenge from the list and worked towards that. Sometimes it would take all year to achieve that challenge. However, each gave me focus. It was easier to work towards one important goal than cut out butter or go jogging every day. The list became my replacement resolution list.
I completed most of the more physical challenges I set myself while I was young enough to do them, in case ill health got the better of me in my fifties and sixties. That left the easier ones for now—well, easier if you consider doing a zip wire and going zorbing not too physical.
I also have a goal each year—a dream if you like, that I try to make happen. It transpires that each dream when completed seems to lead to another, each more exciting than the last.
That’s what I love about having a Carpe Diem list. It gives you a positive focus when maybe life is being difficult. In working towards your desire you might discover other benefits. Scuba diving made me fitter but also helped me find an inner peace. There is nothing like floating underwater with brightly-coloured fish and hearing only your own breath to calm your mind, raise your spirits and remind you that the world is awesome. Belly-dancing gave me renewed confidence in myself and my body. It also helped shape me up and provided entertainment for my husband when I wiggled my coin belt at him! Learning to do stand-up comedy…well, we’ll see where that takes me this year.
So, this year, I urge you to forget those lists of dos and don’ts. Ask yourself what you want to do, see and experience while you are here on this planet then write your own list. Work towards it and you will discover much better results than trying to stick to the usual resolutions.
Buy a notebook, write down your dreams, hopes and desires and work towards them. One day they will become your achievements and happy memories.
Happy New Year!
Latest posts by Carol Wyer (see all)
- New Year’s Resolutions - January 2, 2015
- How to Relive Christmas Past - December 10, 2014
- YOLO – Five Slightly Crazier Things to do to Fend Off Ageing - October 29, 2014