12 months ago I picked 4 things about my life that I wanted to change. I never do too well with 'new year resolutions' so the aim of this challenge was to actively address the way I thought about these areas, essentially, teaching myself some good habits that would hopefully become second nature.
So how did I do?
I hold my hands up - this has in no way become second nature. My flat is still full of stuff, stuff I probably don't need. However, on the positive side, I stuck to my one in-one out wardrobe and shoe rack policy, I sold lots of stuff on ebay, gave lots of things to charity (and Brixton's give & take), sold stuff at a car boot sale, de-cluttered my fabric stash and chucked out a fair amount of odds and ends. The impending swap of the flat for my parents' loft conversion has helped a lot in terms of re-evaluating what I really need. But, the truth is, I am a hoarder and this de-cluttering malarky will never be a completely smooth ride for me. In terms of going forward, as long as I stick to a couple of these good habits (one in-one out, selling stuff on ebay etc) and, at the very least, open and file/chuck my mail I should be able to keep my head above the clutter.
This one has been rather successful. I've given my health and my body a lot of thought over the last year. Now I'm not running marathons and living off vegetable smoothies but I've implemented a few small changes that really have made a difference - drinking more water, cutting down on coffee and tea, eating less meat and more green vegetables, and exercising regularly. Yes, I know, there's nothing revolutionary going on here but, what is revolutionary is that I'm actually taking that v.simple advice, and it's working very positively for me! And the best thing about it is: the longer you keep it up, the better you feel. No, I'm not a size 12 and no I don't really look any different but I feel great and, thanks to six months of the gym, I can now run 5K without wanting to vomit/die at the end of it. And, the more I go to the gym (or for a run in good old brockwell park) the easier it becomes and the further I get. Being able to see my progress is a massive encouragement factor for me, so much so that I'm aiming to sign up for my first official 5K run this year! Don't get me wrong, I still eat crisps, cake, pizza (a lot of pizza) and I still drink beer but because I'm actually exercising I don't have to give them up. It all seems to be about balance and I think I've finally found mine :)
A combination of saving, being thrifty and budgeting meant that I most certainly bucked-up my ideas when it came to my finances this year. I think the impending wedding should take most of the credit. Not only did it make me actively save every month but it also introduced me to spreadsheets and budgeting. Weirdly enough, it turns out, I really like spreadsheets and budgeting. Saving for the wedding cut considerably into my personal spending allowance (the money left over after paying rent, travel, etc) so I had to make it up elsewhere. Selling stuff on ebay and making my own lunch sound like petty amounts but it all added up throughout each month, and the cash saved could then be spent, guilt-free, on fun stuff - cinema tickets, dinner/drinks and the like. Anyway, suffice to say, with my new-found love for budgeting I have high hopes for the wedding fund and the house fund after that.
DO MORE NEW
The most successful change, probably because as soon as I started trying new things it was easier to say 'yes' to the next opportunity. I have no doubt that this has become a good habit of mine. There's no telling where something out of your ordinary will take you and after all, isn't there an excellent saying about trying everything once?
So there we have it, a year of focusing on 4 things I wanted to change about my life. Overall, I'd say that it was pretty successful - 3 out 4 ain't bad. If you find that 'new year resolutions' don't really work for you, I'd say this is a good alternative to try. I'm off to think of 4 things for this year - happy friday everyone!