Thursday, 18 December 2014

A Review of the Year - one Monthly Resolution at a time

When I decided to abandon New Year's Resolutions in favour of 12 small monthly changes, I had no idea it would work so well or I'd enjoy it so much. This is a round up of the changes:

January To sort out and enjoy my haphazard collection of toiletries. I still don't make enough pamper time and I've still barely made a dent in some of those sweet smelling lotions, mousses, butters, scrubs and gels but at least I now have them organised and tempting me to open the lids and dip in rather than gathering dust, unloved and forgotten.

February Go the Extra Mile. This was a literal extra mile to build my comfortable running distance up from my usual 3 miles and it has been fantastic. I felt a huge sense of achievement when I completed my first Half Marathon  in October this year.

March Plank 40 minutes for Lent. The planking challenge was tough - really tough - but I did it and proved to myself that anything can be possible if you set your sights on it and put in the effort.

April To run with my husband. I mostly run with my daughters and I love it but running with my husband has now become something of a special time for both of us. Last weekend, we ran our local Xmas 5K fun run together in festive dress and I thoroughly enjoyed myself (especially when redeeming the free beer vouchers we were given at the finish)

Photograph by Duncan Murray

May The CHANGE It somehow seemed fitting to include the menopause in my monthly changes! Although my body is ardently hanging onto the last vestiges of fertility, I am still determined to power through and embrace the new challenges of a maturing body.

June Just Get on and Do It It is so easy to find a million reasons to not do something. I am getting very much better at ignoring those reasons. It is amazing how much you can achieve if you make the decision to just get on with it.

July Try new recipes I am really loving trying new recipes. I have perfected two of my favourite desserts - sticky toffee pudding and chocolate brownies. I have made a Dundee cake for Xmas (all gone  already) and discovered a pear crumble cake that satisfies my dad's non-sweet tooth. I even had a go at making lemon curd when I had an unexpected glut of lemons.

August Forgive myself Sometimes, despite my very best intentions, I fail. This month I failed to implement a change and in doing so, inadvertantly made possibly the biggest and most important change I have made all year - that is to forgive myself when I  get things wrong or don't live up to my own expectations.

September Read More Books The literary part of me has received much enrichment from a whole range of books - trashy novels, classics, modern literature, misery memoirs and even a bit of non fiction. It can be frustrating sometimes if the light is not bright - even with my reading glasses I can struggle to focus on the text. For those occasions, there is always the kindle loaded with the Game of Thrones series - on the embarrassingly large font setting!

October Try Something Different I loved being part of a new initiative in our town - singing in a 'pop-up' choir to co-incide with the first local arts festival - and sharing the experience with my daughters. We are on the look out for more projects to get involved with.

November Pole dancing Many years ago, my husband surprised me with a gift of a pole after I expressed an interest in pole dancing. I think he had visions of being entertained with erotic dancing and would in all likelihood be happy if I simply walked around it in high heels and skimpy lingerie. For me it was more about fitness and strength and connecting with my sensuality. I practised in private and never offered to put on a show for his benefit. I might have been more inclined to treat him to a demonstration if I'd been any good at it! I quickly realised that it is physically challenging, it hurts when you get it wrong (I have had some impressive bruises!) and I am very aware that my face contorts with concentration and the sick feeling I get if I overdo the spinning. I am certainly not the effortlessly graceful dancer I once imagined I might be!

Not one to be put off, I thought it was about time to resurrect my ambition and dedicated my November change to doing just that. I found some instructional videos on YouTube and started again from an absolute beginner's perspective.

I have learned from my running the importance of technique and posture and applied this to the pole. I broke the simplest spin down into tiny steps and worked hard to master it. I also know from my running that if you keep trying, you are bound to improve. I did improve but realised that I am a long way from where I want to be.

Following on from the success of the 2014 monthly changes I decided that my 2015 resolution could be: Learn to Pole Dance - 1 move a month for 12 months. This time next year with 12 moves in the bag, I should be performance ready!

December To have a simple lovely Christmas For this I am taking inspiration from my 6 year old daughter who wrote a Christmas planning list for me:

She seems to have it all covered!

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