This is basically my New Year's Resolutions list for 2015. I need to straighten out some bad habits and make myself and my environment more conducive to living an exciting and adventurous life. Baby steps to begin with, and build up some steam for the bigger more scarier things I want to do.
1. Declutter all my possessions
I have a tendency for impulsive shopping. I think I do it to cheer myself up. Only now I have reached the point where I cannot move for the teetering piles of stuff on my floor. Nothing is easy to get at or find in my home. Therefore, it needs clearing out, badly. I am going to declutter all my possessions this year, hopefully within the first 6 months. I want to completely sort through all the large reference books on my bookcase (and those stacked on the desk, and the floor, and the landing). I also have a filled double layered bookcase of novels I have never read. A huge mountain of CD's I've never listened to, and DVD's, and Video Games. I think they are a bargain when I buy them so cheaply from the charity shop, secondhand or electrical trade in store. But they soon build up into overwhelming insurmountable towers, threatening to collapse. So now they have to be vastly shrunk in quantity, and I have to choose what I like, quite like, and love. And only keep what I really, really love.
2. Lose 2 stone (28 pounds) in weight
For the first half of the year I intend to use my decluttering as my exercise, then develop an exercise programme after that. It will include Pilates, various Aerobics DVDs (of which I have collected quite a number, but never watched), and possibly some weight training (I have a beautiful collection of light blue dumbells under the bed, happily collecting dust). I would also like to explore some alternative fitness, such as contemporary dance, anything different and fun to try. Just because I am doing it in my own home, can I not emulate and express myself like the dancers on Strictly Come Dancing? In the meantime, I intend to eat fruit and vegetables as snacks in between meals, but eat plenty of them if out walking or doing exercise. They seem to contain so little calories that the weight easily starts to fall off. It's just mastering the self-control every day to stay away from the chocolate bars and fizzy pop!
3. Get up early every day
I am much more of a night owl than an early bird, this one is going to be very hard for me to stick to! But it does have the greatest impact in giving you lots of free time to accomplish all the other goals listed below. Plus I have more time out of bed, hence more time to burn calories to help with my weight loss!
4. Nothing New - Do not buy myself any luxuries this year
This will massively help with my decluttering, I tend to declutter lots of things from my home and take it to the charity shop, only to come back with armfuls of books and games I don't need! I am also a ferocious internet shopper. I once spent over £500 in one month on ebay, and only made £15 in selling some unwanted stuff. I should definitely never attempt to make my own business buying and selling, I would soon go bankrupt! This goal also gives me the opportunity to make or craft anything I actually want, or just draw the things I want, til the desire is satisfied and my impulsiveness moves on to a new target.
5. Be Kind, Be Patient, and Make Time for People in my life
Partly inspired by a radio interview I heard with Bear Grylls, where he explained how he begins every day on his knees by his bed, and gets his children to do the same. He says something like: "Be Kind, Do your Best. Come on, Let's Do It!" This motivates and starts his day the right way, focusing on what he wants to do. I really like the idea of starting each day focusing on Being Kind. I think it would make our relations to other people so much better. Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol with the famous character of Scrooge teaches us to carry the spirit of Christmas in our hearts all through the year, peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind. I would like to get on better with people, spending more time with my immediate family, and less time on my own in front of a computer screen. I believe being kind is a very good way to prevent the usual irritability and impatience that can get in the way of you getting along and making friends. Also making time for each other and having patience is good too.
6. Learn to play new Card & Board Games
This will also help me to spend more time with other people. I have bought quite a number of traditional board and card game books, to help me find fun new ways of spending time with my family. I have tried some of these games out recently, including Farkle and Pick Up Sticks, and I have found they also help with my Maths. My Maths skills without a calculator are not as good as I would like, but the main problem is that I lack confidence with them. Practice will make me feel better about it, and finding a way to have fun with them too will encourage me to keep at it. I also have some new Solo Games books which teach me many different ways of playing card and board games on my own, so I will never have an excuse not to improve my gaming and Maths skills, and can always relax and have some fun with them.
7. Start an Art Journal
I love looking at Art Journal pages online, I collect images of my favourite pages, but have never made any of my own. I have blank Sketchbooks and numerous craft store papers and embellishments to use, I have just never got around to doing it. I would love to start my own, as I believe once I have plucked up the courage to start my own, then I will be so happy and addicted I will make many pages and many journals! I am thinking of beginning to make an Art Journal for 2015, focusing on my 2015 Adventure List, with a page for each goal. Now I have several page ideas to work from!
8. Learn to play a musical instrument
I have collected various musical instruments, some cheap, some not quite so cheap, and I would love to finally learn to play at least one of them. Again, I have various music books to teach me, the odd DVD and CD, and of course numerous Youtube videos and About.com pages. I have everything I need at my fingertips, I just need to push myself to start!
9. Write a Short Story
I always have 'Write a Novel' on my New Year's Resolutions list each year. I want to write novels, I have attempted National Novel Writing Month every year for several years, without success. I have never finished Nanowrimo. Ironically, I have never tried to write a short story either, as I have no idea how to plot such a short story, I wouldn't know what I could fit into the story or not. Can I fit sub-plots or just one main plot in a short story? Can I develop much of a science-fiction plot, or not? I have the Teach Yourself book Write Short Stories and Get Them Published by Zoe Fairbairns, so hopefully I can find out how to plot and write a complete short story hopefully within the next 6 months.
10. Be more Adventurous in my Personal Style
I am not as adventurous as I would like with how I wear my hair and what clothes I choose to wear. I always wear my hair in a ponytail, spend the summer in jeans and a T-Shirt, and the winter in a Hoody, jeans and a T-Shirt. The only variation tends to be which colour hoody am I going to wear this week? I want to try wearing my shoulder length hair in different styles. Can a 30-something wear her hair in pigtails? I intend to find out! I know I am going to have to strictly stick to my Nothing New goal, and not buy any more clothing unless I literally don't have anything to wear, but people generally wear only 20% of their wardrobe, and I am sure that is true for me too. So there must be many new outfits I can make from my wardrobe as it is, without buying anything new. I am going to find out what these are, make some new combinations, and pluck up the courage to wear them!
11. Read 10 Novels and 10 Reference Books
I struggle to read my own books. I am more likely to read books from the library than from my own shelves. They are actually more neatly stacked in the library! I want to read 10 novels (that's less than one a month), and 10 reference books. I want to read what I have instead of leaving the same books to gather dust on the shelf, never knowing whether I like them or not, and never discovering the exciting gems that lie hidden inside. Also, as a writer, I need to read more novels, and find more methods of writing my craft.
12. Discover new music
I have had this one on my New Year's Resolutions before, and actually stuck to it pretty well. I enjoyed looking up the music videos of artists in the Official Charts. I also checked out the American Billboard Charts, I love their country music. This year I want to take that up again, get to know the music even better, and discover some new musical genres that I don't tend to listen to, and see if I like those too. This is the year I want to experiment and try something new. I may not like everything I hear, but at least I will know what I like because I have tried it.
13. Learn more about ancient traditions and beliefs of England
I have recently been learning about the ancient traditions and beliefs of England at Christmas and the Winter Solstice. I am fascinated to learn that ancient cavemen in Stone Age times were celebrating this time of year in their traditional way at Stonehenge and similar stone circles, observing the sunset and sunrise on the longest night of the year, feasting and merry making, dancing and having fun, whilst sharing the warmth of the fire and the food they had with their family, friends and neighbours. I had no idea they were so sophisticated. I would love to learn more about the other times of the year too, like the Summer Solstice, the Spring and Autumn Equinox, and the other ancient festivals in between, such as Imbolc, Beltane, Lammas/Lughnasagh and Samhain. I am fascinated to learn more of my English heritage, and keep that tradition alive today.
14. Keep a Sketchbook
I love drawing, ever since I was little girl I have loved to draw things around me, sometimes from what I see around me, and sometimes from imagination. As I've grown up, life has tended to get in the way, and I don't draw anywhere near as much as I'd like to. I would love to become a really skilled artist, becoming a fantasy and science-fiction artist. But I must improve my skills first, and keeping a sketchbook really helps with that. One office I worked in, when I would take my break at my desk, I would take a sheet of printer paper and sketch on it each break and lunchtime. By the end of the week I had filled the sheet of A4 with doodles and sketches of strange furniture with eyes in it, plants that were alive, superheroes and cartoon characters of people I worked with. I want to have more fun like this, and improve my skills. Art is fun!
This is my 2015 Adventure List, my New Year's Resolutions. I may have picked rather a lot, and I make struggle to accomplish them all, but I am hoping I can attempt some or all on different months, and make my life more fun and adventurous. I intend to post the results of my attempts on this blog, along with any inspiration, motivation and encouragement I find along the way, because I am really going to need it!