Following on from ringing out the old, I think my focus for 2009 needs to be on stress management and getting a better work-life balance (by which I mean more space to work and no crises, thank you very much – last year was several years’ worth, and I just want some quiet, even months to balance things out. No serious illnesses for anyone close to me. No deaths. No messy stuff. My house fixed).
Goals for this year:
1. Work-life balance/stress management. A lot of this has been outside my control for the last year. Everyone has a defined role in their family, and mine happens to be ‘the person who fixes everything’. (Actually, that’s also my role as friend. I’m good at helping to sort things out.) That’s not going to change; I’m not tough enough to say no when people need me. And, actually, I wouldn’t like myself very much if I stopped helping people I care about. But the stuff inside my control – I can do something about that. Which means my daily routine. I think goal (2) is going to be the key, because it’ll clear my head of real life hassles and let me go into the fictional world in my head (which means I’ll meet my deadlines comfortably instead of being miserable and having everything collide because then I end up running to stand still). Putting that in balance will remove a lot of stress.
2. Exercise. Goal: 10,000 steps a day (i.e. take dog for walk as soon as I get home rather than make a cup of tea, log on and mess about with word games). This will clear my head, help me get fitter, and de-stress me. And if it’s raining… Wii Fit. DH has extracted the treadmill from behind my guitar stand, but… can I admit that I don’t enjoy exercise? I love going for walks on the beach and fossicking round ruins and what have you, but going to the gym/on the treadmill/going out for a run… It’s just not my thing. Lots of fitness gurus sneer at Wii Fit. Of COURSE I know it doesn’t replace ‘proper’ exercise. But for people who live in their head, who have a sedentary job, and who wouldn’t be able to do the gym without having a notebook and stopping to scribble down ideas… it works, actually, because it’s flexible and fun. Low-impact step (because if you bounce on the board you’ll break it) or ‘boxing’ for 3 bursts of 10 minutes = 30 minutes of exercise. (Which is a lot more than I managed in 2008!)
3. Weight management. Every single year, I say I’m going to do this. Every single year, I fail. Now, I eat relatively healthily (except when really stressed; then, I don’t sleep properly and I rely on too much coffee to get me through the day, and that’s a bit of a vicious circle). Breakfast = porridge and orange juice; lunch = home-made veg soup and a chicken salad or wholemeal pitta bread stuffed with tuna and salad; dinner = salmon or chicken with a low-fat sauce, plenty of veg and a jacket potato or new potatoes or wholemeal pasta or brown rice. In between I might have a yoghurt or some fruit. (If it’s a really bad day, there will be some chocolate involved, but not huge amounts – because I know my weakness and I’m not stupid enough to keep that much temptation in the house.) So it’s not the calorie input that’s the problem: it’s the lack of calorie output because my life is way too sedentary. I work from home, and the kitchen is two rooms away from my desk (or even the same room if I’m doing proofs – the breakfast bar is perfect for spreading papers across). So if I sort out the exercise goal, it will also sort out the weight management goal because the calorie output will improve. I’m going to use the Wii to keep a proper track of my weight (you can’t do the scale dance on it because it’ll just say ‘error’). I’m also going to stop playing online word games or Collapse (my absolutely worst habit). When I’m stuck, instead of using word/strategy games as a thinking tool, I’m going to walk away from my desk. Play the guitar or piano, or maybe do word games on paper (the act of turning the page will be enough to tell me to stop), or take the dog out, or do a couple of the Wii Fit games (i.e. move my lardy self), or watch the birds in the garden. Things that will help refill the well.
4. Writing. This year I want to lift my game. I want to write books that people remember and love. Books I can feel proud of. How am I going to track it? I guess through award shortlistings and bestseller lists, and feedback from my agent, editors and readers. And that project that fell through the cracks last year… this year, I’m going to carve out the time to do it.
So what are your resolutions for this year? And how long do you think you’ll stick to them? I wish you all health, happiness and fulfilment for 2009. Happy New Year!