2016 is settling in, January 1st is almost over and today has been the fresh start that many people have been looking forward to. I love January 1st, not only does it mean the start of a new beginning, a fresh new year to make your mark and accomplish all the goals you've set for the year ahead, but it's a day which brings excitement, confidence, a renewed sense of self. A day for making plans, for feeling energised and refreshed, a day where anything seems possible. My whole life January 1st, the start of a brand new year, has had an allure to it that no other day throughout the year can hold. It's a magical day, a day to be reckoned with, but this year? I'm doing things a little differently.
Instead of setting myself New Year's Resolutions, instead of making myself promises that I will accomplish this or achieve that, I'm heading into 2016 with a positive mindset, a belief that the good intentions, personal growth and new beginnings I began in 2015 will continue forth into the new year without needing to write a list of dedications and positive intent. Instead, I'm going to start off this fresh new year by sharing 5 things I tried in 2015, 5 simple things you should try in 2016. Don't think of these as resolutions, no promises or commitments to be made, just 5 little ideas passed from me to you.
001. Self-care, self-love, self-respect
Easier said than done though, right? The following 4 points all come back around nicely to this first point, as each played their own part in me achieving these things for myself in 2015, but here's some other quick tips for looking after Number 1 in 2016.
Remember that you are the one who has to live your life, you are the only one who will look back in x amount of years when you're grey and old and reminisce on days gone by. Don't waste time now on negative intentions, negative mindsets and negative influences. Someone who may have been good for you in the past isn't necessarily good for you now and it takes more strength to walk away now and put yourself first than to keep battling in the hopes of a better day. There will always be people with bad intentions, people who will use words to try and force their negativity into your life; you can't stop their words, but you can choose how to let them affect you. The Internet can be both beautiful and dark in equal measures, but just like those words that don't deserve the space in your head, you can chose what to take from your online world. If something is having a negative effect on your mental wellbeing, turn it off, block it out, chose not to view it.
Give yourself the confidence you're looking for. Accept compliments, don't be afraid to congratulate yourself, be proud of everything you achieve - whether it's simply getting out of bed each morning when the world is the last thing you want to face, or reaching a target you've set yourself and worked damn hard to achieve. Appreciate the hard work you put into every single moment of your life; don't look for approval from others when the most important person to seek that approval from, is yourself.
And don't forget, self-care, self-love, self-respect - it doesn't happen overnight and it's something you always have to work at, but once you start and see the way they positively benefit your mind, soul and life, the easier they are to maintain.
002. Shrug off that blogger guilt
At a time when our online personas are forever crossing over to our offline lives, the pressure to be something you're not has never been bigger. I've had online profiles and social media accounts for over 10 years, on websites which are long forgotten about until mentioned in Buzzfeed articles for being retro, yet it's only since writing this blog over the past 4 years that I have felt the pressure to come across a certain way, to have a life that fits the 'blogger ideal'.
I've never been able to achieve that pristine white and marble life with whitewashed wooden floors, fairy lights and flat-lays that give you envy. It's just not me - and trust me, I've tried. Trying to make your life look Instagram worthy, your blog photos look as if they'd fit nicely into whatever is the coolest magazine to be reading right now, to have that perfect figure/face/hair/life, it's an unrealistic goal I could never reach. It made me feel rubbish, unworthy to write a blog, that the content I put out there would never be enough without that pretty backdrop. I can't tell you the amount of times I've almost bought a marble background, copper pot or picked up that roll of wooden floor wallpaper.
Sod that. Not only do I not have the space in my life for random background accessories, or the fine eye to set up that magazine shot, but it's just not me. As soon as I realised that I didn't have to have the same photos as everyone else, that I could write this blog with my own photos, my own (non-existent) photo style and ideas, the sooner I stopped worrying about being 'good enough' to call myself a blogger. Same goes for; counting numbers and obsessing over views and followers, being able to contort my body into uncomfortable shapes for Instagram shots, feeling like I have to have every latest beauty release to be relevant, giving away more of my time than I actually have to give or having an Instagram 'theme'. I don't need all of that, and neither do you. Your blog, your social media, it's all an extension of you - offer the true, unedited and unapologetic version of yourself, shrug off that blogger guilt and realise you - and your content - are enough.
003. Give yourself some downtime
Read a book. Run a hot bath. Go for a walk. Turn off the WiFi. Get stuck into a new TV series. Write. Sing. Dance. Bake. Learn a new craft. Do something that is different from how you spend most of your time. Give your brain time to unwind and your mind a chance to detox. We're not robots, we don't have an endless supply of energy, our candles do burn out and things do get too much. Give yourself some downtime, whether it's 10 minutes a day or one hour a week. Let your mind breathe.
004. Be determined, but be realistic
There's nothing wrong with setting goals, with having ideas and projects to achieve, targets to aim for or even New Year's Resolutions, but be realistic. Don't set yourself the unachievable and beat yourself up for not reaching the finishing line. Be determined to get where you want to be, but be realistic about how to get there. It's a much healthier way to reach your goals, one which won't have you beating yourself up every time you fall down and find yourself struggling to get back up. We are all capable of great - different, but great - things. Be kind to yourself and reach for those stars, just make sure the stars you reach for are yours for the taking.
005. Let things happen
"What will be, will be". A quote I finally took note of in 2015. Letting things play out, letting my life show me my way forward, just letting things happen as they are meant to happen. It's amazing how much worry and fear melts away when you stop trying to control every tiny aspect of your life. Some things we have power over, some things we can change or mould the way we'd like them to be. Some things are meant to be no matter how much we try to make them otherwise, and letting go of the frustration, anger and anxiety that comes along with trying to force change where it's not welcome, is one of the most beneficial things you could ever do to positively benefit your life.
For me 2015 was a year of change, a year where I learnt more about myself than ever before, a year where I let myself grow and let my life just simply 'be'. That's all I hope to achieve from 2016, to continue learning, growing, loving, caring and respecting myself, my mind, my soul.
What about you?