Blank pages

What is it about a new year, a new week, a first of the month or a Monday that inspires change? Is it the blankness of the page sprawling ahead? The unknown possibilities? Maybe it’s hope, because we all need hope right, particularly after the hideous lack of any kind of hope the last 2 years.

I have veered dramatically over the years between being a resolution setting, daily goal keeping go getter, and a ‘resolutions are bullshit and we will all be off the wagon by 13th Jan’ negative Nelly. Both have worked. When I set small, achievable goals, I can smash them, keep myself accountable. When I don’t set resolutions I can’t be disappointed when I break them , maintaining a kind of unhappy equilibrium where nothing changes but I’m not bothered because I didn’t need or want it to change.

This year I’m neither. I set myself challenges back in October to avoid the typical January blues. A couple of weeks off over Christmas didn’t feel like failing, it felt like having a rest, and now I don’t have the manic feeling that the start of January often causes. Back to work, healthy eating, dry January, starting a workout routine, we pile it onto ourselves in spades and then often wonder why we fail.

We focus so much on ‘stopping’ things we do rather than continuing or starting things that we already set ourselves up with a negative narrative. And this year throw into the mix the absolute uncertainty of restrictions and omricon and it’s no wonder we all feel so stressed and miserable! The key is to find what works for us, for you, for the individual. Stop looking at what everyone else is doing, we only see what they want us to see anyway. Someone smashing the shit out of the gym and weight loss might have a boat load more time on their hands than you. Our goals and resolutions are personal, and we should celebrate them, not compare them. Comparison is the thief of joy after all.

One thing we definitely shouldn’t do is mock them. The amount of comments I’ve seen, however jokingly around peoples January plans only goes to contribute further to the misery and despair. ‘When will all these new gym people stop coming?’ I dunno, you didn’t stop coming, so maybe they won’t either. Maybe next January they will still be there when the next influx of people come. You didn’t invent regular gym attendance so maybe give the newbies some encouragement and support instead of mocking them?

‘Dieting this way or that way doesn’t work!’. Every single one of us is different, so every different kind of diet has its place. I’ll admit to being hyper critical of weight loss clubs when I had a PT, thought they were a cult, and now I love them! I’ve changed, my needs have changed, my health has changed, so what worked for me in my 20s doesn’t work for me anymore. As long as what we are doing is sensible and healthy and has the desired outcome, surely that’s the main thing? That the person choosing their diet is happy? And just because we ‘don’t need to diet’ doesn’t mean we shouldn’t.

Judgement is very easy to pass on everyone. People we know literally nothing about bar the odd tweet that they want us to see. We hate it when we feel judged ourselves, but continue to do it to others. Let people shout their achievements, no matter how small in your eyes, from the rooftops. Roll your eyes in private and not out loud, we have no idea the impact of our words or thoughts on another’s progress. The fragility of resolutions could be derailed by a person saying something in a gym changing rooms, or an evening class tea break. Everyone starts somewhere, even you. So maybe for 2022 we just let people do what they want? Make goals or don’t. Fail at things or achieve them. Stop things or start them. Do things slowly and quietly or quickly and loudly. Live and let fucking live, and let others do the same. We have a blank page, we can fill it with negatives, or we can leave it blank and not let our words spill out onto the page without regard for who might read it.

Here’s to our blank pages and doing whatever we choose with them.

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