This time next year, I will achieve the following…
I use the word “will”, because I’ve learned that in order to make your intentions come true, you have to fully believe that it will happen. Rather than hoping or wanting my goals to happen, I have to tell myself that they will happen. Being specific and confident in your goals is the first step to aiming for them
Can you tell I’ve been reading a lot of The Secret recently?
This leads me on to the first thing that I will achieve this year
Reading at least 3 nights per week
Reading every night is something I used to be very good at. I’d put my phone on Do Not Disturb, on the other side of the room and read for about an hour before going to bed. Not only did this help me detach myself from the constant anxiety inducing scrolling through social media, but it allowed me to learn so much more. I prefer non-fiction over fiction, however I will happily read anything if it is engaging enough.
Reading has been one of the main factors in improving my mental health. The first book I read in a long time was Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig. This book got me through a very difficult period, and spurred me on to read many more of his books, such as Notes On A Nervous Planet and How To Stop Time. Since then, I’ve always had a book on the go, however I hit a wall in April and I’ve been unable to start anything until Christmas break started this term. I’m currently halfway through The Secret, it’s my second time reading it and I am trying to apply the rules to my life each day.
Be in a good routine
It’s taken me time to realise, but I am very much a creature of habit. Whilst I like excitement, I also like to have a day with a set structure. Having a part time job through my A Levels meant that I learned very quickly to have a good plan of my day and get myself into a productive routine
Waking up at the same time each day and being in a good routine with food, exercise, work, productivity and socialisation is so important for being in a good mental headspace. Our circadian rhythms are vital for ensuring that we work and function to our best ability, and when routine is thrown off – everything is impacted.
This term at university I’ve slipped up quite a lot on my routine. I’ve probably only had about 5 nights in the whole 2.5 months where I went to bed before 10pm and woke up feeling refreshed. Favouring late nights out and lay ins left me in a bit of a rut and completely unable to function at my best self. My sleeping, exercise and nutrition took a back seat and lead me to feel run down.
In 2020, I will have a better routine and allow myself to have nights out at times when my productivity and health won’t be dramatically impacted. I’ve always been a morning person – I would happily take a 6am-2pm shift over a 6pm-2am shift. I’d rather run 5k at 7am than wake up at 3pm.
Dedicate more time to running and the gym
I’ve somehow managed to maintain the gym 3-5x per week consistently, for about a year. However, these haven’t necessarily been worthwhile workouts.
As with above, when I don’t have a good routine, my body does not function properly and I can’t see any progression in my workouts. Furthermore, when I am running on minimal sleep, I tend not to push myself very far or follow a set workout structure.
In 2020 I will ensure that my workouts are as best as they can be, and set aside a decent amount of time in the week to go to the gym. Exercise has been an important part of my life for over 5 years. It’s helped me overcome so many mental blocks and given me an avenue to put my energy into; meaning I need to put it at a fair level of priority. Without letting fitness take over my life, I need to understand that time and effort will pay off, and that I will see the results I want to see if I start to take myself seriously.
Additionally, this time last year I discovered that I really enjoy running. I’m far from fast, or high endurance, but I really benefit from the impacts of being outdoors and going for a run. In 2019 I ran 328km – which is 328km further than I ran the year before.
In 2020 I am going to reach 500km, which is very do-able, considering that the figure above is a result of running fairly regularly between January’19-May 19′ – and then completely giving up after my half marathon. I’ve probably been on a total of 7 runs since May, as I’ve just not set the time aside for myself to get out and improve.
I will take my degree and career goals seriously
This is a big one for me. I often forget that I was never “meant” to be studying this degree. If I had followed the first choice I made, I would be in my 3rd year of Mental Health Nursing and close to qualifying.
There is a reason I left that course, and the reason is because I knew that I had something within me that should be following a very different path to that of a clinical environment. From sending emails to admission tutors at 4am in a hostel in Hamburg, to attending every single lecture and seminar in year 1 first term – I put my all into being where I am.
In first year I had high visions of where I wanted to be, I took part in extra curricular activities which would build up my CV. I shadowed on BBC Watchdog, I recorded a mental health podcast with BBC’s Katie Thistleton, and I blogged/recorded videos regularly. I put time and effort into my assignment and tried to get good grades
As with everything else in my life, self doubt and lack of ambition took over. I started to believe that all I wanted was the social life of uni, and that I didn’t really care about my degree. I lost my vision; and that’s what I will get back this year. There’s only so many terms before I’m a 23 year old graduate, and I want enough under my belt to go out into the world and start my career. Regardless of whether Becky from my hometown thinks what I am doing is weird – go back to selling face creams on a Pyramid scheme and eating steak bakes.
Improve my relationship with alcohol
See previous post for more information. The last few months have shown to me that alcohol really can mess your life up. I would never consider myself to be dependent on alcohol, I can very happily (and actually prefer to) go days and weeks without touching a drop of it.
I’m actually known in my family as someone who doesn’t really drink (lol), and I don’t think there has ever been a time where I’ve sat in my house at 7pm and poured a glass of wine like a classic white girl.
However, I’ve been going on 3-4 nights out per week since September, and drinking a LOT. It’s often with people drinking the same amount, and often very encouraged. My problem is that when I am drunk/hungover, I am not myself at all.
Drunk me is 9/10 very happy, very entertaining and very misguided. I’ve made a lot of regrettable mistakes through being too drunk, which has caused the following days to be full of shame and regret – thus I resort to drinking again to get over the guilt.
Hungover me is depressed, moody and absolutely lacks any mental clarity. I will walk into trees, spell my name wrong and fall asleep for 3 hours mid day. Hungover me is how I spent half of first term.
This year I will go on nights out which are actually worthwhile. I’ll plan ahead and ensure that I’m prepared for being a hungover mess the days after. This year I will have frequent weeks without drinking at all, and learn to stop when I’ve had enough.
Socially, in 2020 I will pick coffee dates, brunch, phone calls, days out and meals rather than going on a night out or going for drinks.
Before going to university I was never really a drinker at all, and I would always pick the above as a way of catching up with people. I’d rather spend 2 hours with a friend, sober and being myself vs a night out where I am not really being myself and not consciously with whoever I am out with.
Finally, in 2020 I will put myself first
This point ties up everything as above. My “breakdowns” are caused by me trying to please other people and putting all of my energy into what other people think/may think. I gradually stop doing the things that are good for me and start to lose my focus.
Internalising other people’s actions and trying to find stability within others causes me to give up on myself and just float along doing what everyone else says and thinks.
If 2019 has taught me anything, it is that you’re going to be with yourself for your whole life – and its important to maintain a solid foundation within yourself before you can start to put energy into other people and groups.
Don’t base your actions off the presumed reactions of other people. If you are being kind to yourself, considerate of others and doing no harm to anyone – then always, always follow your passions; and that’s exactly what I will be doing.