With the crispness of a new year, most of us rush to resolutions. Yet, perhaps a slower-can-do-attitude will work better?
The will to wake yourself up with a cold shower, muster a morning jog or read a chapter of the latest guide to mindfulness before dawn is, surprisingly, less appealing than ever. In this blog, I’ll discuss little by little: the art of moderation - and uncover why many of our efforts drastically fail so early on.
After the excess of Christmas festivities and getting fattened up like a stuffed turkey, by the time the New Year swings around it can be easy to ramp up determination. Of course, after consuming a dozen or more chocolate truffles, a partridge and a pear tree, you’ll be ready for some sort of diet. After doing so much of one thing (metamorphosing into a couch potato) it’s completely natural to fall into the trap of wanting to go cold turkey, turning over a new leaf and plunging head first into becoming a new person. Suddenly you have a burst of adrenaline spurring you to magically transform. I am in no way saying this is a bad thing, but the way we act on this strong, yearly desire for radical change, is often unsustainable.
The process of integrating change into our lives seems to be more effective when we pace ourselves. Go little by little. It’s helpful to look back at goals you have previously wanted to achieve, and differentiate which ones you actually managed to accomplish compared to the aspirations which were left rotting with expired vegetables at the back of the fridge. My journal from aeons back in 2017 had the following goals:
Spoiler alert: none of these got done, and the purple glitter gel pen didn’t make the resolutions any less intimidating. No matter how well intentioned your goals for the year are, if they are a stretch too far, you may end up dropping them all together., Alternatively, in seeing that, adapt them to follow a different course. Here’s what actually happened in 2017:
Setting high goals, standards and expectations is natural, but let’s not underestimate how far baby steps can get you. Breaking things up into smaller chunks is an obvious cure for the new years I-can-do-everything-itis. You could do this through giving yourself a time frame to work on a project (365 days is a hefty period) or split things up thematically. It allows you to set more realistic goals, climbing up rungs of the ladder rather than jumping straight to the top, whilst also maintaining sparks of the determination which made you want to pursue these passions in the first place.
As the New Year’s resolutions have progressed, I’m sure we’ll all learn the importance of gradual change. Listen to your body, go slow. The New Year starts with an everyday act of becoming. Wishing you all a balanced and bountiful 2024!
Read of the Month
The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
An excuse to cosy up with something like a story book, but what does this set of short stories have to tell us about moderation? The world of werewolves and abandoned mansions can definitely feel fanciful, even excessive. The characters, or archetypes, as you’d probably expect in fairy tales, often lie rigidly within the extremes of vulnerability or violence. If you fancy indulging in feral, feminist fairy tales, you’ve found your prince charming!
Anisha Minocha is studying English and Spanish at the University of St Andrews, currently living in Andalucía. She is a writer and poet whose work has been showcased in winning competitions, readings and anthologies. She co-edits SINK Magazine, which gives a platform to Northern creatives, and founded the "Roots"" project with Friends of the Earth that looks at the intersections between South Asian identity and ecology. Twitter: @anisha_jaya
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