Welcome to 2018! If you’ve been here for a year, you’ll have read last year’s blog post on three simple things to do to sort your style for 2017. This year I’m taking a slightly different approach, and sharing my resolution with you – and how I came up with this particular resolution for this year.
At the start of each new year, we’re encouraged to do two things – reflect on our successes and achievements over the past year, and look forward to the things we’re going to resolve for the new year. I admit I’m not in a particularly reflective mood. I know I’m currently operating under a negative bias vis a vis 2017 – it asked a bit much of me, and ended with a hard lesson learned, so I’m not looking at it clear eyed just yet. However! There were certainly lots of happy days, projects completed, and new things learnt, and a lot of that came from out of this blog. Great job, little blog.
I was thinking about my new year as I drove up and down the country this holiday season, making and discarding lists of potential resolutions. I have a real habit of making Commandment Resolutions – “thou shalt not” etc – and, unsurprisingly, I never keep these. They’re totally about finding the thing you think you’re doing wrong and chivvying yourself to change, and being disappointed when you don’t manage the “go to the gym three times a week” goal. This year I decided to go deeeeeeep instead. I decided to look for just one resolution that would become the theme of 2018; the touchstone that, if followed, might lead me to a more fulfilling year.
I am a pressure cooker of a human. If I had a dollar for every time someone has told me I have high expectations of myself, I could buy something real pretty. What I realised this year is that the pressure is never going to be less than it is right now. If I carry on this track, I will only have more senior jobs, more responsibility, more people to manage, the projects will be more high profile, the dramas of life will become more life and death. I could opt out, and perhaps I will, but first I want to try and work out how to deal with pressure. Despite what Instagram would have you believe, it isn’t only diamonds that come from pressure. Pressure isn’t always good.
So – what is the problem of pressure for me? If I could figure that out, I’d have the germ of a resolution that might be a game changer. Having pondered, I realised it’s two-fold:
- When I feel under pressure in one area of my life, I speed up. I become hyper-reactive and instinctive as I desperately try to make decisions and deal with what’s in front of me so that it will go away. Fast decisions, or reactions, are not always good decisions or reactions. Plus, it’s a catch-22 where my perception of the need for speed adds to the pressure I’m experiencing. The real kicker is I do it everywhere, not just in the sphere where I’m actually experiencing the pressure. Introducing: lying awake at 2am worrying about every aspect of everything ever.
- Ultimately, I then get overwhelmed by the amount things to think about and juggle and become thoughtless and inconsiderate. My NUMBER ONE bug bear is when people act thoughtlessly. I hate being on the receiving end of a person who clearly doesn’t give a f*ck. Weird, then, that the person most guilty of doing that to me this year was…me. I frittered away time on Netflix when I could have been doing something that would actually make me feel better. I failed to immediately respond to messages (and forgot about too many of them) instead of remembering how much I value my friendships. I agreed to help with x, y, and z instead of thinking about whether I really had that in me.
I hate to sound like a millennial here, but it’s frigging obvious what my resolution is, isn’t it? It’s this:
There are so many ways I could express this. Keep Perspective. Slow Down. Practice Mindfulness. But for me, Be Thoughtful works perfectly. It reminds me that instead of mindlessly chowing down on chips, I can think about what my options are. It reminds me that instead of agreeing to take on that project, I can say “I’d love to help you, I’ll give some thought to how I might be able to contribute right now”.
It’s also so useful as a style resolution for 2018. The only one of my Commandment Resolutions that I really felt strongly about was: “I will not buy chain store clothes this year”. I know that clothes on the high street are mainly getting there via terrible channels, and since I’m lucky to have enough money to buy from local designers, and enough time to fossick about for vintage or second hand clothes, there is zero excuse for me to participate in the dark side of the fashion industry. My resolution to Be Thoughtful should act as a brake on any impulsive high street purchases, and at least encourage me to use some of my time to research the high street options to see if any of them are reasonable options.
To keep me honest on my style resolution, I’ve introduced a new feature called the “Buy Diary” – you can see a link at the top left hand side of the blog. Each week I’ll upload a wee list of the things I did buy, and the things I didn’t buy, with my reasons (that’s the Thoughtful bit, y’know).
What are your resolutions this year, and what was your thought process?