The turkey’s all eaten, the Christmas decorations packed away in the loft, and 2016 securely seen out amidst much maudlin remembering of auld acquaintance.
Goodbye 2016, hello 2017. It’s New Year, the annual opportunity to turn over a new leaf and generally plan to live a fitter, happier and more productive life.
New Year, New Me. Time to change my life.
I’ll lose those twenty pounds, take up virtual boxing, learn Vietnamese, and create tofu cuisine. Just like January 1st last year, when I committed to learn German, enrol in spinning classes, eat more mackerel … and, er, lose those twenty pounds.
OK, so maybe I’ve made one too many New Year’s resolutions over the years, starting out on 1st January full of sparkling hope and grit only to see my attempts to improve myself crash and burn three weeks down the line.
But I’m not alone, oh no. Blue Monday they call it, the third Monday in January. That’s the dreary day that apparently finds most of us chucking in the diets, flogging the exercise bike on eBay, and scoffing a Chinese takeaway in front of TV instead of braving the dark and cold to get to evening classes.
Life doesn’t easily change.
I was thinking about my miserable resolutions track record while taking down the old year’s calendar. As I glanced through the battered diary of last year, it occurred to me that there was something I had achieved, something I promised myself when I started writing a few years ago. And, I realised, I had kept this one promise. Not just for last year, but every year since 2013. I promised myself back in 2013 to write something, pretty much anything, every single day. And guess what – I’ve kept that promise so long that now it’s a habit like brushing my teeth.
It’s not earth-shattering prose every day, or most days if I’m honest. Nor do I manage to productively work on a planned story every day. But at the least, for four years, I’ve written at least one sentence a day – if only in my journal. Most days I’ve done quite a bit better. And some of my writing over those years has been published. I’ve been paid (pennies) for some of my writing, and had people tell me they liked this or that story.
As I thought about this, I felt happy. A lot happier than if I’d eaten tofu all that time instead. So this New Year, I’m not making any resolutions. No new starts, no promises to self to change, no plans to reform my life. But I do have a plan. It’s simply to keep on keeping on, writing every day.
Now that’s life-changing. Happy New Year to you all.
[ If you like this blog, take a look at my travel blog, co-written with my husband and fellow-biker Peter: peteandjacmotorbikingineurope.wordpress.com ]