Not making New Year Resolutions

All they do is set you up to fail. They are mostly about giving up. Giving up smoking, drinking, sugar, biscuits, cake. All the things we like.

If you are not giving up something you may resolve to take up things you don’t do because actually you hate them. Like running, or yoga, or salsa. I spent £100 on trainers for running two years ago. Worn them five times. Twice last weekNew Year Resolutions are therefore a list of stop doing what you love and start doing what you hate. That is a sure-fire recipe for disaster. Where is the fun in that?

Top of the list – lose weight

Come next week Weight Watchers and Slimming World groups will be heaving. These companies love New Year Resolutions as they make them the most money. First timers will not only sign up for membership but will buy all the ‘essential’ tools such as point counters, Eating Out Guides, weighing scales that calculate the ‘smartpoints’ in your food and even bloody tape measures. Because none of us have one of those at home.

Lose pounds

The one thing I can guarantee that you will lose by joining one of these clubs, is pounds. £’s. And, yes, if you have the discipline, the motivation and the drive you can and will lose lbs too. And you can do this without joining the groups if you are that motivated.

Confession time

I know this because I was a Weight Watcher. For years. I had all the books, the gadgets, and yes I did achieve my target weight at some point, cannot recall when. For years I was the classic yo yo dieter. I even became a helper at my local meeting because that way I didn’t have to pay. The team of helpers were a lovely bunch, it was sociable and I thought it would keep me motivated. I was the greeter and keeper of the cards. The first person a new member would meet. Within minutes I could tell if they would lose weight. I was never wrong.

Be kind to yourself

There’s is a reason why airline safety films instruct you to put your oxygen mask on first, before helping others.

Those working in a caring profession, nurse, care worker, trainee nurse, probably would not lose weight. My theory was that they were so outward focussed caring for others (thankfully) that they neglected to care for themselves. Also shift work, eating at different times together with biscuits and chocolate on the wards, makes keeping to a food plan more difficult. Busy nurses miss lunch breaks and so eat and run, care workers race to appointment to appointment skipping meals. Finding time or having the energy to cook from scratch is also hard, the fast food route is tempting after a long shift. I am not saying that if you are a nurse or a care worker you can’t lose weight just that your job makes it harder to keep to an eating and exercise routine, so that needs to be factored in.

I have paid my money and still not lost weight

This group thought that all they had to do was join the club, pay money and the weight would drop off. With no effort from themselves. I call these the blamers. These are also the group that will spend the most in the shop. Every gadget, every book, and all the sweets, chocolates and snacks. They would swear each week they had stuck to the plan, and in the first week may lose a couple of pounds and from then onwards lose no more. Every week they will ask the leader about the points in a curry or chips. This group are also serial club joiners. When Weight Watchers doesn’t work for them they join Slimming World and slag off WW to all that will listen. A couple of months later they have left that group, declared that they have big bones or some medical condition that makes it impossible for them to lose weight and give up. One year later, they are back, the WW plan has changed and this will work for them. Almost certainly they weigh more than they did a year ago. And so it goes. The diet industry love this group.

Thin means happy (it doesn’t)

These are the ones that believe losing weight is the gateway to happiness and success. They will also buy all the gadgets, but not the sweets and chocolates because fat is a bad thing. They can calculate the points/calories of every meal and always put their hand up in meetings to answer questions. Other members will identify them as the expert and ask them questions. They will lose a lot of weight at first, achieving their goal weight in record time. Leave, and next year be back to do it all again. This is because they make no other changes in their life, expect the weight loss to do it all for them. They stay in the same job, the same relationship, the same routine and as soon as they get to the desired weight, start eating how they used to and stop exercising. Often members of this group have experienced mild depression, that they have not faced up to. I know this because this was me.

Say goodbye to diets

Eventually I threw every book out (donated to charity) and dumped all the gadgets. I am still overweight but have stayed the same for 10 plus years now with few exceptions. Lost a lot when I was travelling. I was more active and eating better quality food. Especially in Fiji and SE Asia where I ate lots of really healthy foods and drank hardly any alcohol. Definitely no wine. Swam every day in Fiji, walked miles in Melbourne, did lots of trekking up mountains on the road in Australia. When I was ill earlier this year I dropped 7 lbs in a week. Clearly the key to my weight loss is to live on a  Fijian island or be ill. I choose Fiji.

Back to not making resolutions…

Ok, this turned out to be a tirade against the diet industry which is not what I started out to do. And while I said at the beginning that resolutions were either stopping what you love or starting what you hate and that is a recipe for failure, I realise that drinking too much booze, eating too much crap and smoking at all are generally not a good idea. What to do then? What, instead of resolutions we can choose to make plans to do things that give us joy. If our well being improves we may be in a better place to make better choices for our physical health too.

It comes down to this.

if you always do what you always did then you will always get what you always got

I plan to…

Do more. See more. Get a life.

I am in truth a bit of a couch potato. Going out is so much effort. Give me a cooking programme and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and I am happy. And missing out. Can you believe I never got to eat chicken wings at The Butchers Social? And now I can’t. Nor had Sunday Lunch at The High Field. See what I mean… I need to get out more.

Be a tourist in my own backyard

I have a great city less than a mile away from my home. Birmingham has some of the best places in the country to eat out at. See Full to the Brum if you don’t believe me. Michelin starred restaurants to pop up street markets and lots of indie food producers.

I bemoaned the fact that in Melbourne you can get a great brunch or a burger in every neighbourhood and there is nowhere in Birmingham. Turns out there is, not so many, which given the population of Birmingham is just wrong, but then again,  you can’t get a decent curry in Melbourne.

Experience more culture and history

I have National Trust Membership that I hardly ever use. Indeed I have used it more in Australia than the UK in the past 5 years.

Birmingham has great theatres, concert halls (ELO already booked for June) and art galleries.Birmingham Museums Trust holds the most important collection of Pre-Raphaelite art anywhere in the world, numbering over 3000 paintings, drawings, prints and examples of decorative art and design. It also hosts The Staffordshire Hoard.

Enjoy green space

I will go for more walks. I can see Lightwoods Park can be from my bedroom window and Warley Woods is also nearby.Getting out into green space is nature’s Prozac, and if there is some sun, even better.

Move more

To be honest I just wish I were fitter. Fitter so I can climb mountains and walk around Uluru and not be so achy. And that is down to me. Wishing for it isn’t doing something about it. Wishing is a poor relation of dreaming, and to make either come true you need a plan.

I am beginning to like walk/jogging in the park (see green space above) and yoga. Possibly because I didn’t make some proclamation about what my resolutions will be for 2015 and didn’t start them on January 1.

Write

I will write more. It is the one thing that I do that when I do it, time flies.

Make a house into a home

I will spend much of the year making this new small house an amazing, uncluttered home. A safe harbour when I need it. (And a pension).

Travel

In the UK and overseas. There is so much of the UK I have not seen, Scotland, Ireland and East Anglia. Australia in June/July/August and fit in Greece before or after that. I may even do the whole of the number 11 route at some point. Or not.

See Friends

I will spend more time with friends, especially those that have had a bad year. Getting back in touch with old school friends has been a highlight of the past couple of years and there are some friends I don’t see enough of.

See what happens

There are probably more things I will do. Who knows what life will bring. This time last year I hadn’t any idea what 2015 would bring. A house sit in Melbourne, a house move and major downsize, a revelation about clutter (took me 30 months to work that one out) and it is all documented on my blog.

I have found this blog tremendous help – when I thought I was getting nowhere with the decluttering it  was a measure of just how far I have come.  I know I have helped others to get on the decluttering journey and that makes me happy. I know it has made me a better writer. It is also great therapy.

Am I still Travelling Coral? Well that has always been the plan and life, after all, is a journey. You have to decide what that journey looks like (see plans above)  make it happen yet notice when you need to go with the flow. And that  is why a travel blogger can write about decluttering and write about anything she bloody wants to write about.

And I can do what I want to do, and I intend to fly.