I have a difficult relationship with New Year’s Resolutions. On the one hand, I think it’s great to take a long, hard look at your life and think, “What can I do better this year? How can I be a better person?” On the other hand, they’re overwhelmingly unsuccessful, and besides, I firmly believe that you should make resolutions as and when you feel the need for change, and not wait around for some arbitrary point on the calendar.
Add in the fact that for the majority of my life the academic year has governed me far more than the calendar one, and you’ll see why I haven’t really been that enthusiastic about them.
This year, though, I’m thinking hard about things I want to achieve and, more importantly, questions I want to answer. About myself and my life and how I’m living it, as well as about the world around me.
In 2015 I will be asking myself:
Am I who, what and where I want to be? If not, why? How can I change things so that I am?
It’s much broader and all-encompassing than a lot of resolutions, and I guess as a result it’s kind of more wishy-washy. There’s not a concrete destination in mind, and it’s hard to give myself a pass or fail when I reach the end of the year and look back. But it’s something that I hope will drive the decisions I make throughout this year, resulting in being happier and more comfortable in myself by the time I get to the end of it.
This year, my goal is to find an agent for The Quiet Ones. I planned to query this in the summer of 2014 but that just didn’t end up happening, and my procrastination over writing a synopsis means it hasn’t happened yet, either. But it will. By making my goal as lofty as ‘find an agent’ (rather than just ‘query’), hopefully I’ll manage to finally get on with it.
I plan to release at least one more poetry collection, which may seem like very little compared to the three I released in 2014, but I haven’t written much poetry recently. There are things I’d like to achieve with my poetry (like selling at least, I don’t know, two per month — I’m not hugely ambitious but that would still, frankly, be an improvement) but those are primarily outside of my control and depend very much on readers, so I can’t judge myself if I fail those.
And I also want to work on a number of other novels, primarily the Moth Trilogy which I’m working on at the moment. I’d like to have second drafts of all three books by the end of the year: I currently have a first draft of book 1, a first and most of a second draft of book 2, and nothing except a vague plot outline for book 3.
I’ve set my 2015 Goodreads reading challenge goal at 75 books. I’ve surpassed that the last two years, not least because during the period when I couldn’t use my hands, reading was one of the only things I could actually do. However, with university and everything I have no idea how much I’ll be able to read and I imagine most of that total would be made up during holidays.
One of my goals is to start reviewing books more regularly to ensure that I’m actually responding to those I read.
Blogging and vlogging
I would like to blog more regularly on this blog: not necessarily more often, but on a more regular basis and with a slightly less eclectic approach to post formats etc. (Please let me know in the comments if there’s anything you particularly enjoy or otherwise, so that I can try and shape that.) Likewise, I have a habit of making a lot of videos all at once and then neglecting my YouTube channel for weeks at a time, so I’d like to do better at that, even though I know uni will make that difficult.
Music has taken a backseat in my life this year, but I would like to build on the steps I’ve taken this term towards getting involved in it again: going to ceilidh band, joining the FolkSoc, that sort of thing. Maybe I’ll even think about going on ceilidh band tour in the summer if I’m healthy enough.
As for dance, my main goal is just to get through Coppélia unscathed this February, and then we’ll see what happens next.
Identity and self
One of the things I started doing in 2014 was taking selfies, many of which I posted on Facebook in an album called ‘Shameless Selfies’. The description read: Because 2014 is the year I learn to like myself, stupidly incompetent body and messed-up brain and all.
I don’t think I entirely achieved that. I know I’m happier with some aspects of my appearance now than I was a year ago — my hair is definitely cooler and I own some really awesome clothes — but I also know I’ve got a long way to go before I can say that I like myself. There are many things I struggle with in terms of self-image and identity, as I’m sure is the case for most people, and while I’m trying to overcome them, it’s a long journey.
So this year I’m going to keep taking selfies, no matter how many people tell me it’s vain or pointless or whatever. I’m going to chart the changes in my hairstyles, in how I dress, in my expression on the good days and the bad. And maybe by the end of the year I’ll look back at that 2015 album and say, “Each of these photos represents a day when I liked myself enough to take a picture. I must be doing okay.”
Okay, so it would help if my phone’s front camera worked properly. But we can’t have everything.
(Rest assured that I also have the generic plans for this year: get fitter, go to bed earlier, be more sociable and generally try to become a better person, you know the kind of thing. I’m only human.)
What are your plans for this year? What questions are you going to try and answer? Let me know in the comments — and if you want to link me to your favourite selfie from 2014, I’d be delighted. Let’s embrace the selfie tradition. LET’S DO THE THING.