I find January hard. It’s dark outside most of the time, generally quite cold, there is little time to get outside and enjoy the countryside, I’m tired, work is busy, and EVERYONE is talking resolutions. We are encouraged, maybe not directly but certainly by inference, to promise ourselves lots of things that will make us better people – eat more vegetables, consume less sugar, detox, drink more water, do loads more exercise, get a new job, take on a huge challenge, and a whole load of other things. I don’t know about you, but I find the pressure of New Year’s Resolutions absolutely huge. I don’t dislike them completely, and certainly have nothing against those who choose to make them. But they have such coercion, they don’t feel real or personal enough to make any difference.
At the same time I really love a new challenge and know that setting myself goals gives me something to aim for that I might otherwise let slide or forget about altogether. Proper goal setting really works. The very act of deciding on a thing you want to achieve, writing it down and sharing it with others is a great way to motivate (I’ve written about this before when talking bucket lists), and I know they work for me. But over the last few years I’ve realised that allowing January to do its particularly blue thing and waiting until a few weeks into a new year to write my list makes it all feel much less stressful. This weekend I had time to sit and think, to brainstorm, to work out a few things (and write a few lists). So I’m ready.
Last week I shared my 2015 update, and this week I feel I am ready to share my new list of goals and challenges for the coming year. A bit different to the last couple of years, perhaps. I’ve tried to be smart here. I’ve tried to really think about what I want from life and not just what I want from the next twelve months. I’ve tried to be completely honest with myself about who I want to be when I get to this time next year. And by sharing this (rather long) post here I am trying to ask for your help in achieving them without anyone thinking I’m being a complete oddball.
Live “Life is all About the Journey” with Real Purpose
My most significant and main aim for the next twelve months is to absolutely nail my “life is all about the journey” mantra. I say this thing a lot and do my best to allow it into every aspect of my life, adding “make the most of every step” whenever I have the opportunity. But this year I want this easy saying to become even more special – it is going to become my purpose. I want the words to shine through my every pore, and like a beam of light from the top of my head, from the ends of my fingers and through the bottom of my feet for all to see.
This isn’t about adventure, although I do hope it will play a part because I do like a bit of adrenaline and/or endurance fuelled fun. And I love an excuse to spend lots of time outdoors. I mean, heading over to Canada and the USA in the summer will definitely be an adventure, quite possibly the biggest one I’ve ever had, and the fact that it’s a road trip will give me plenty of life is all about the journey fodder – it’s easier to demonstrate a metaphorical journey with a real one. But it is important to me that it isn’t just about those ten weeks of is-it-real motorcycling fun, it must be about my everyday existence in the run up (I am determined not to wish my life away) and then when we return home (back to reality – eek!). I want to demonstrate that people just like me, those who have 1001 time and money commitments that could easily get in the way of everything, can live experience lead and memory-filled lives.
AND, I want to inspire you to do the same. I want you to adopt the “life is all about the journey” approach to living. I know I don’t get it right all the time (have you seen me moan in my weekly vlogs – oops, got to stop that!), but this is exactly what I’m getting at. I want to live my life in such a way that I encourage YOU to make the most of yours. Whether that be through a bucket list tick, an adventure, a road trip, a hike to the top of a hill just to see what’s the other side, a story about a random memory, an awesome recipe that made my belly smile, a “how to guide”, or whatever else. I am here and now making this my purpose. Yes, I have made a decision about what it is I want to be when I grow up, and it is to be a good example. A happy and normal 35-year old who loves life and is really good example to you and your children.
While this is most definitely my main aim, and I really hope I’m doing the right thing by writing this here when it’s quite a significant goal from someone who is an introvert and has had very little ambition in the last 35 years, there are some other goals and challenges I would like to achieve in the next twelve months.
Get Jeans Confident
Yes I am putting this out there. I’m not sure what’s come over me really, after years of promising myself that it doesn’t matter, it turns out that it does. A lot. Jeans simply don’t fit. Unless they are labelled “wide” or “curvy” they don’t have enough material around the thighs or calves, and have too much in the length. There are two problems here. The first is that I have short legs, and there is nothing I can do about that, unless anyone has one of those old fashioned stretching machines to hand?! Joke. Mostly. The second is that I have thighs and calves that used to be good for powerful sports such as running and jumping and throwing and wielding a hockey stick, but have been replaced with un-toned tree trunks that spread out when I sit down and rub together when I walk. Sorry, but it’s true. Yes my legs are pretty good at walking a long way, but they have to do that in wide cargo pants. I also have a bit of a belly but that’s just cake. And chocolate.
Anyway, by the end of 2016 I want to own a pair of jeans that are flattering and make me feel great. They don’t actually have to say “slim” or “skinny” or “straight” on the label, and I don’t care what size they are, and I’m happy with black, in fact black would be perfect. I just want to feel great in a pair of perfectly fitting jeans. I want to feel in proportion. You get what I’m saying here. Nice, smart, stylish jeans that are also comfortable. I think this might take some work, and it’s definitely not going to be easy with three months on a motorcycle in the middle of the year. I’m going to need some help. And a whole lot of motivation.
Considering these goals and challenges are my equivalent of New Year’s Resolutions, there has to be a healthy eating related aim, and this year mine is all about the first meal of the day.
I’ve got a love-hate relationship with breakfast. I never fancy food first thing in the morning and go through phases of forcing myself to eat it. I enjoy a breakfast smoothie (fruit only) and am happy with porridge, but I do neither regularly. I need to get in to an actual routine. I am jealous of instagram feeds full of avocado toast and scrambled egg, but then I wonder how many of those people have to be at their desk by 8am. Please don’t tell me it’s all of them.
So the plan is to buy easy oats and muesli and keep them at work (note: done!), make sure I’ve got milk in the work fridge, and eat breakfast at my desk EVERY DAY. At the weekends and days off I may decide to let it slide or treat myself to something cooked, depending on what’s happening. I am also going to get back into the smoothie making; but rather than have that as my only breakfast, that will be my mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack to keep those sweet cravings at bay which are always SO strong. It’ll still be just fruit though, it’s going to take a lot for me to put kale and spinach in my blender and be able to actually drink it. Who wants to consume something that looks and feels like gritty slimy mud?!
I have really let my fitness slide. Yes I did Lyke Wake Walk and while I did a lot of walking in the early part of 2015 to get ready for that, I was incredibly lazy in the main and have been for a long time. Actually walking is the only thing I did last year; I managed hardly any cycling even though I really enjoy it, practically no swimming apart from that one dip in the open water lake, and definitely no running. Actually let’s not talk about running, I’m not going there again, I’m done with running. Anyway, as a result my cardio is poor and my strength is even worse.
I’ve mentioned it a few times recently, and I’m here to say it again – I am going to do something about it. This year I want to get stronger. Hopefully this will naturally help with the jeans goal, and will hopefully help with the life is all about the journey aim, too. Ideally I want to start with swimming, something I know is great for my muscles, my heart and my head – I love the water and used to be a really great swimmer – I’m still confident in the water but don’t last long before I tire. I have a fab new swim suit; that should help to start with!
Have Fun with my Bucket List
Oh yes, here we go with the bucket list item in my goals and challenges blog post for this year. This year I want to try LOADS more new things. Last year was actually pretty awesome for bucket list ticks, as was the year before, and I’m not sure if I can beat them. But I’m going to try! You all know my bucket list is looooooooong and has a mind of its own, with new things appearing on it daily, and with “life is all about the journey” being my ultimate aim this year I am certain there will be a lot of opportunities that will just require a “yes” from me.
One thing I know is going to happen is “Up at the O2” – I received a gift voucher to walk over the top of the O2 and will be doing that later this year with some members of my family. Have you been? Apart from that I’m open to suggestions. There’s the small outstanding matter of sleeping on a hill under the stars that I definitely want to make sure I do this year; Jenni has already said she’ll come with me, so that makes it more likely as it was her fault we did the Lyke Wake Walk. And of course there will be a lot of new experiences on our road trip – flying our own motorcycles across to North America, visiting Canada, seeing Yellowstone, maybe some skiing in Colorado and surfing in California, hiking in Yosemite, and lots lots more. I can’t wait to get going and see where our wheels and all that time will take us.
I know things I love most on my bucket list are the things you can do in between everything else. The little experiences that can be achieved with little time and money. If you were writing a list of things to try on a Saturday afternoon what would you put on it? Go on… inspire me!
Rediscover My Love of Music
Music has always been a huge part of my life. With a mother who used to be a music teacher and a sister who is one now it’s not surprising really. But I hardly ever listen to music properly anymore. I haven’t been to a gig for years and haven’t bought any new music for longer. I miss it. So this year I want to get right back into my music, especially rock music which has always been my favourite genre, from its country roots and to its metal divergence, and pretty much everything in between. Give me a great guitar riff and pounding bass line, whatever the tempo, and I’m happy! But other styles too; I love listening to melodic jazz and am a big fan of the classics and film scores. I’ll start with what I know but I’m definitely on the lookout for new stuff – who do you recommend? Hit me with your suggestions and I’ll have a listen!
Make More of my Space Online
The final goal I’m sharing today is all about my little corner of the internet. I find it a bit strange to say that I want more from this online game, because I think people will assume I have delusions of grandeur and just want to become rich and famous. But it’s not about that. I mean, look at me! In order to be a great example I need a platform, and I see this space as my stage. So I want to make more of it – reach more people, find and create opportunities to engage with you in a way you find useful and fun and makes you want to come back. I also want to use my blog and social media channels to make more of my own life; it’s already opened some amazing doors and given me some memory-filled experiences, and I would love to have more of that. I would SO love more of that! I see this as a bit of a circle – I am here to demonstrate that life is all about the journey, my space online can be both the means by which I do that and the medium by which I can communicate it.
Hopefully I’ve started to do this already by running my Weekly Photo Challenge (#SplodzWPC) – have you joined in yet? It’s an opportunity to get creative, share some photos from your week, and “meet” new people online who might just be great to chat to. There’s a new theme every Thursday morning and you can post as many times as you like through the week. And then there’s Outdoor Bloggers, something that I genuinely hope will give people just like me the chance to meet other similar characters, both online and in real life. There’s more coming on that very soon, Jenni and I have been chatting about our plans for the coming year. Exciting!
Having said that, I don’t want my life is all about the journey wish to be a digital only mantra. I want it to exist in reality, and hope and pray that I will be able to demonstrate it in real life to those I know and love in my every day life as well as my online being.
So there we have it. If you managed to read all that then thanks very much – there are a lot of words on this page! Do let me know what you think of my goals and challenges in the comments below or over on one of my social media accounts (links to all of them are in the sidebar). If you have any ideas on how I might be successful in achieving anything on this list please do pipe up and say, it’s so much easier when we share! Oh, and while I’m at it, if you’ve got suggestions of things that absolutely must be on my bucket list (remember it’s not all about adrenaline, or tradition, or money) then let me know.
Here’s to the next twelve months. Let’s all make it awesome x