Tag Archives: resolutions

That resolution thing

One of the good things about making resolutions in a blog post is it being easy to check back and see how the previous year went. I can’t find last year’s, I may not have made any, it was a very tough winter for me and I was not in a good place.

This year I find myself in the awkward place of needing to re-make a resolution from some years ago. I need to get my body to the point where I can spend a couple of hours doing things. I managed to build up to that, previously. For the last 18 months or so I’ve been relentlessly ill in assorted ways, and currently I can walk for about half an hour on a good day. To get into town and back I need to take a rest in the middle. I can’t climb the hills. The impact on my life and on my mental health has been huge. I’m hoping to get enough time when I’m not ill so that I can rebuild.

I have a fundamental need to be able to pour myself, heart and soul, into things in a way that is meaningful. If I can’t give of myself wholeheartedly, it takes a toll. If all I do is pour from myself into other things/projects/people I can end up burned out and emotionally depleted – this is pretty much my default state these days. I’m not ok at the moment because I’m not giving enough of myself in a meaningful way. I’m not able to give because I’m feeling threadbare and desperately depleted. I need to find some space, or spaces, where more comes back to me, and where I can afford to have my heart on my sleeve. Right now I have no idea how that might be going to work, but I really need to find some answers to this.

As ever, I hope to learn new things this year. I hope to make things, to use less, to improve my relationship with the planet. I hope to do things I can feel good about. I want to invite joy and comfort into my life, I don’t have enough of either at the moment and I’ve felt that lack deeply. Walking was key to how I experienced and connected with the land, and the loss of that has deprived me of beauty and nourishment. Lockdown has deprived me of music. I’m missing too many of the things that enable me to feel like myself. Currently I’m not sure what I can build, or rebuild, or reclaim and I have no idea who I will be doing that with or in what way. I’m waiting to see who opts in.

I’m a relational creature, I don’t function well on my own. Most of the things I most want to do involve interacting with other people. Much depends on who wants to do what. 

Looking ahead, and something like resolutions

I changed tack with New Year resolutions some time ago, having figured out I was just using it as an opportunity to beat myself up. No diets for me anymore. No unworkable aims to somehow bully my body into being thinner despite that never having worked for me. Instead, I started coming up with ideas and aspirations to improve my life. That’s gone well. Last year I was short of ideas. This year, I am not.

I need to plant trees. This has been a thing for me for more than a decade, but until now I haven’t seen how to do it. I don’t have a garden at the moment. I do however have a cunning plan that will, in the coming year radically change my life as a whole, and move me towards the orchard I long for. More of this as I go along.

I aspire to having my normal working week be under 30 hours, and to work a four day week. That won’t be feasible around events, but I want to do it when I can. I will use the time this gives me for taking better care of myself, and doing non-economic things, like planting trees. I will read more, dance more, live differently.

I will spend more time in wilder places and at the coast.

I’m making the headspace to think more about how we do Druidry in the current political climate and in face of climate disaster. I’m going to be taking about that more as we go along.

I’m going to learn Welsh.

I want to wake up in the morning and wonder what I will be doing that day, and get to decide – clearly not all the time, but at least some of the time. I want to start the day feeling excited about what it might bring me.

I want to spend more of my working time doing work I am genuinely excited about. This looks increasingly realistic.

I’m going to treat my happiness and wellbeing as important – which I’ve not really been doing. I’ve got to the point where I can afford to, and there is no one who needs me to do otherwise. I’m going to re-invent my life, on my own terms, and in collaboration with the people who are choosing to be part of my life.

New Year Resolutions

Yesterday I blogged about making radical green resolutions. So, you may well ask, what are mine? I already don’t own a car, a fridge, a freezer, a television or a microwave or washing machine. I’m already committed to not flying, and I’m already vegetarian. I can’t do much more to eco-fit my home because I live in a block of flats. I can’t grown my own food or compost my own waste for the same reason. My scope to make radical changes is not as big, as a consequence.

I am looking at strategies to reduce the amount of animal products in my diet. I’ll be blogging about this as I go.

I’m looking at how people drive because of me, as an extension of car use issues.

I’m going to invest more effort in persuading people to live more as I do, and I’m going to do that this year as part of a project to talk more about how to be happy. I get a lot out of my relatively low impact life and I think other people could, too.

Last year brought a lot of changes and challenges for me, but it’s made me think a lot about what I want in all aspects of my life. I’m rethinking where I am creatively – more on this to follow. I’m set on focusing more on how things work day to day, rather than being too long term about anything. I don’t have any long term goals at this stage in my life that don’t depend more on luck than my own efforts. How I live day to day has more impact on me than where I might be going.

This last year has taught me to rethink a lot of my relationships with people. Every time I’ve held my boundaries and said no, it has really paid off for me. I’ve asked for help – something I find difficult, but I’ve clearly asked the right people and have had help that has made a huge difference. I’m going to go forward more aware that help may be available, and more willing to ask for it.

My major intention for 2019 is to make more time for daydreaming. I’ve still got a lot to figure out. I feel like I’m in an in-between place, not really ready to set firm intentions for a calendar year, but needing to put in time on how I want to change and grow. Daydreaming has always been an important imaginative tool for me. I use it to test ideas, seed creative projects and figure out who and how I want to be. I need to dedicate more time to it.

I hope whatever you plan for yourself for this year, that you can do it in a way that serves you. I’ve tried resolutions as penitence and self-punishment and they don’t achieve much. I’ve done much better with them since I shifted to setting intentions and looking at my trajectory and needs. I can heartily recommend this as an approach.

Resolution time!

I like the end of year opportunity to check in with my previous year’s resolutions, see how I did and set some intentions about how I wanted to move forward. So, this time last year my goals were as follows:

Improve my stamina so that 2 hours of fun stuff (walking, dancing) does not challenge me at all.

Remove the mute button, and be as I am with more people more of the time.


Write songs. Even if I only sing them twice in public, before I go off them, I want to do more of this.

Cause more fun stuff to happen.

Pick up some new skills (maybe craft skills, I don’t know, we’ll see what comes along).

How did I do? I can’t count on being active for two hours, but the likelihood of being able to be more active without taking a pasting has greatly improved, so good enough, and more of that in the future.

I don’t know that I’ve got very far with removing the mute button, although I’ve successfully cut down on the time I spend with people I feel obliged to mute around. So that moves things the right way.

Ceilidh – total fail. That’s not my fault, the local dances keep happening on nights when I’m already doing something else!

Write songs – win. I’ve written a couple of songs I really like this year. I feel more confident in my song writing.

Cause more fun stuff to happen. Win. And also, I’m spending time with people who cause fun stuff to happen so it isn’t all coming from me.

Pick up some new skills – well, I’m learning things about making small films and I went to a couple of writing workshops, so, good enough there. I also learned a fair bit about ecolinguistics.

What’s next?

High quality sloth – not just down time, but really good quality downtime with better sleep, better soul nurturing stuff, more happy stuff, more good. Not being so tired that I can’t have good down time.

More local events. Because travelling to do events is a lot of work and the trains are silly.

Making more time for my creativity, more time for creative collaborations and more time for spaces where I can happily share creative stuff in an un-pressured sort of way.

Being much more guarded about my time, energy and resources and being willing to be more selfish about what I need for me, and more willing to say no to people. Saving my energy so that I get more opportunities to say yes to good things that I actually want.

That New Year thing

An arbitrary date change is as good a reason as any to pause, look back and look forward. Since giving up the aspects of self-abuse and flagellation (lose weight no longer features on my list) I’ve come to rather enjoy the process of setting intentions and checking in at the end of the year to see how I did. The blog is decidedly helpful in this regard.

Last year’s resolutions were all met. I read more books, I sold a lot of books, and I did a far better job of picking my fights and not investing energy where it would clearly do no good. Last year I also resolved to go to the pub more, have more live performance in my life, and dance more, and these have been the areas of wildest success.

This summer I discovered Dawn Morgan’s 5 Rhythms classes, which are fantastic. I’ve gone once a month, ish, and my confidence, balance and joy in dancing have improved greatly. I’ve danced more at home as a consequence.

Stroud Out Loud (a monthly spoken word based gathering) became my opening gambit for ‘more live stuff’ and is a brilliant event, and has since spawned an occasional singing session that goes to the pub. This year has seen a fantastic upswing in my social life – improved energy levels and really feeling that I’ve found my tribe now. I’ve got people to do things with.

I intend to keep going with all of the things on last year’s list. So, here’s the stretch-goal list for 2017

  1. Improve my stamina so that 2 hours of fun stuff (walking, dancing) does not challenge me at all.
  2. Remove the mute button, and be as I am with more people more of the time.
  3. Ceilidh
  4. Write songs. Even if I only sing them twice in public, before I go off them, I want to do more of this.
  5. Cause more fun stuff to happen.
  6. Pick up some new skills (maybe craft skills, I don’t know, we’ll see what comes along).


Despite the international politics, despite the many environmental issues that worry me greatly, despite the many good and beautiful people who died in 2016, it was a good year for me overall. All years have their share of pain and challenges in them, that’s a given. And despite all the bigger picture issues, I feel optimistic about next year. 2016 saw a lot of changes, I think I grew and healed a considerable amount and I feel ready to move forward towards better things. More books. Lovely people. More walking and dancing and singing and going to the pub.

New Year Plotting

It’s that point when its tempting to look back and look forward, think about things, plot things. So, here we go. This last year has been ok – not terrible, not ecstatic, but a fairly functional mix of highs and lows, more progress than setback, and enough seeds planted for the future to feel hopeful. Most of the highs involved events and people. Most of the lows involved people.

In terms of last year’s resolutions, I did a pretty good job of working with them. I successfully increased the amount of cake in my life. I have not noticeably gained weight, probably the opposite. I have walked more – especially leisure walking, and longer distance walks. I did not manage to have this be as social an activity as I’d hoped, but people are showing up who do want to play, so I think that’s only going to improve. I did spend more time doing nothing. There’s still lots of scope to improve on this. One of the ways I’m improving is by taking more time off. I haven’t quite taken down capitalism yet, but I’m seeing more moves in that direction all the time from other people!

This year’s resolutions then:

  1. To read more books. Because books are good, reading for leisure is good, talking about books is good, lending people books is good and there’s going to be more of it.
  2. Go to the pub more. Not just to talk about books, but also as part of number three…
  3. Get more live music and other live performance into my life. This is in no small part about managing my energy such that I have the physical resources to go out in the evening more.
  4. To sell a lot of books. Not necessarily my own, although that would be fine, but to get more good books into people’s hands. Probably not by jumping out of darkened alleys ways dressed as Batman and thrusting novels into the hands of alarmed passers by, and demanding payment, but you never know.
  5. To stop angsting over unwinnable fights and focus my time on energy on doing good things that make a difference. Where ‘good things’ and ‘making a difference’ are going to be mine to define as I’m going along.
  6. To dance more. Possibly in public, possibly as part of resolution numbers 2 and 3. I used to dance a lot, I want that back.

Whatever you’re planning to do with 2016, I hope it brings you gentle abundance, peace, and the opportunity to share that around a bit to good effect.

New Year aspirations

New Year’s Day can be a traditional opportunity for self-flagellation. All those resolutions about diets, gyms, lifestyle changes, giving up smoking, drinking, achieving more… It can be less about making change and more about a chance to beat yourself up for shortcomings, real and imagined. As the next couple of months will most likely be grey, cold and depressing, its hardly an idea time to give up the things we find comforting, or attempt to make ourselves run around getting wet.
As a younger person I used to thoroughly indulge in this annual opportunity to give myself a hard time. Convinced I was far too fat, I would promise to starve myself. I have a very efficient body, I adapt to famine situations. Starvation attempts never consequently led to much weight loss, but they did play havoc with my body, and increased my predisposition to store fat. About as counter-productive as you can get, really. Not eating was a simple way to express the rage and frustration I felt with myself, for all the things I was not, and could not do well enough. An invisible form of self harming.
Looking back it is apparent to me that I had no sense of ‘good enough’ or of being an ok person. I felt under constant pressure to achieve more, get better results, earn more money, be more pretty, more likeable and all that guff. I had a great deal of external support in developing and holding that perception right through until the last few years. I also, from my teens, had a body that wasn’t working terribly well, and nothing useful from the medics – an early diagnosis of ‘psychosomatic’ left me feeling unable to ask for help. Maybe one day I will pluck up the nerve to go back and say, actually, that illness a doctor told me I was imagining? Well I’ve spent the last twenty odd years now dealing with pain and fatigue, and no amount of telling myself that it’s all in my head makes it go away. Any chance of a rethink on this? Maybe one day. When I’m feeling brave and have convinced myself there’s a point. In the meantime, I can work on accepting that this body of mine has limits and is a finite resource, and not keep pushing to breaking point on the grounds of thinking I *should* be able to do more than I can.
New Year’s resolutions are a useful opportunity to reimagine, and rethink, if you use them that way. It does not have to be an opportunity to pile on the misery, nor to set yourself up to fail. It’s taken me an embarrassingly long time to figure this out. Better late than never. Not beating myself up has been an ongoing intention for some time now. Some days, I do better than others.
This year’s set goes as follows:
1) To be gentler with myself.
2) To say ‘no’ when I need to and to guard my energy and keep it for the things that matter most to me, respecting my own limits.
3) To be less tolerant of bullshit.
4) To invest more in the people and activities that really make me happy.
5) To devote more of my time to trying to put uplifting, inspiring, encouraging material into the world.
6) To boldly go…. (I’m not sure where, Brighton for one, but, places, and boldly).