Mimi Say's…

Make Just This one New Year’s Resolution This Year…
..And that is, never make another New Years Resolution again. Never. Ever. How many time’s have you declared that you will “lose weight”, “get fit”, or stop this habit, or do this or that, as the bell strikes midnight? And how many of us, years later, still have that same weight to lose, still have this skill to achieve or that habit to drop? New Years Resolutions don’t work and they just make us feel bad when we fail, so stop the cycle now!
Before I go any further, please don’t think I am some kind of New Years Humbug! I love the start of a crisp New Year. Choosing a new diary, the thought of all the coming seasons, the special days, a blank page on which to start afresh.  I like to think of it as that ” New Term” at school feeling. I have often dreamt of glamorous parties and soirees with which to welcome in the New Year, but I must confess that the reality is usually a little less exciting than this- but even when at home (I won’t say “just” at home, because we all know there is nothing like staying at home for real comfort, to quote Jane Austen), I always stay up to hear the chimes, preferably with the teeniest glass of fizz…
So now we have firmly established that while I love New Years, I hate New Years resolutions. I really feel that they set you up for failure, like a horrible tripwire laid down  in advance. While I was having Christmas dinner with a friend the other day, over Brussels sprouts and parsnips, she explained that she has target’s each year, rather than resolutions. I love this idea! Targets seem so much more positive to me. Admittedly this particular person has targets that are too daunting for me (past years included the London Marathon!), but what a lovely idea. And one that I fully intend to magpie for myself, and share with you here. (Doesn’t “magpie” sound so much nicer than “steal”, when it comes to the work of others??)
So rather than saying “I resolve to lose weight”, I will say it is my target to become slim. And I can’t help but feel that you need some measure of progress and success, so you know when you have reached your target. Obviously this is easier with some targets than others: surely you will know when you have read the complete works of Jane Austen, taken afternoon tea or visited France? But those more personal targets, such as becoming slim, eating in a more healthy way and so on, can be a bit harder. If we have one bad day, does that mean we are no longer eating healthily, and thus have undone the work of the previous three weeks?  Of course not! Why not say instead, that in order to eat more healthily, you will eat an extra piece of fruit a day? Or drink a glass of hot water with lemon on rising, or learn to love herbal tea? The trick here is that if you say you are going to eat healthily, you have to spend all day not having that extra biscuit (or indeed, first biscuit!), or saying no to a chocolate, and really you are never done. But if you have drank your hot water or crunched your way through that apple, then you can declare yourself wonderful and get on with your day. So whatever your target, be it in this area or others, try and make them positive rather than negative, break them down into manageable chunks and make sure you have some way of managing success.
Another idea I came across (while reading the wonderful Sarah Ban Breathnach!), to boost you a bit when your inspiration is flagging, is to buy (or for the green fingered, plant) some bulbs (I like tete a tete best, but you could try paper white’s or hyacinth), and on one of those old fashioned luggage labels, write down one of your targets, tie it loosely around the bulb shoot and watch your dream grow.
Now one last thing, keeping with the idea of being positive, is to try affirmations. There is a lot of science behind it, that is a bit beyond me, but all I can say for sure is that it makes me feel better. The trick is to choose a time when you are relaxed and quiet, perhaps in bed before you sleep, as you awake, or in front of the mirror after a soothing bath, then you make some statements. Then you repeat them. And something strange happens. You start to believe them. With all your heart. And then you go about your day while the magic you have invoked gets to work on your soul. Say them out loud to give them more power, but if that makes you feel silly, whisper them under your breath or say them only in your mind. What you say is of course up to you, but you must make your statement positive, and as if they are already true. So instead of “I wish I wasn’t fat” (Oh, the dreaded “f” word-sorry to have used it, but it illustrates how we talk about ourselves so well!), you say “Today I am going to eat healthy foods that will help me become thinner every day” or ” I am a beautiful healthy person” or “I am calm and relaxed” or my all purpose favorite, “All will be well”…
The thing is to choose whatever is personal to you. Reading through this, the illustrative points have been about health and slimness, but that is just my own personal New Years pre-occupation. I will have other targets too: I do think it is a good idea to mix it up a little, to have a bit of variety in there. I want to tackle a piece of knitting that little bit more challenging than what I have been doing, so I have chosen a beautiful hot water bottle pattern for this purpose (Warm and snugly too- a bonus!!), and I want to go the Christmas markets in Bruges and learn a new recipe every month.
Whatever your New Years wishes and aspirations, may they come true and may you have a very happy 2006…
Lot’s of love, Mimi. xxx         

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