How many blog posts in a row is it acceptable to start with ‘well, it’s been a while’? Asking for a friend.
But it has been a while, and if anyone out there was clung to the edge of their seat, gripped and awaiting the next instalment of my opinions, I apologise. I think I put a little too much pressure on myself to write things sometimes, to the point where it doesn’t feel enjoyable anymore. That’s never good.
This month, however, it’s all about goals. And one of my goals is to return lovingly to my abandoned projects, treating them with the delicate care that they deserve. My problem, I suppose, is procrastination. Or that irritating habit of never finishing the things I start. There are scattered remnants of my half-finished projects across my entire house, laptop and brain, just waiting to be picked up, dusted off and given life again.
The thing is, how can anyone even begin to consider working on all the little fun ventures when there’s a to-do list that’s spilling over the top of the mind containing it? I really struggle to stay organised in the smaller areas of my life when I feel like there are bigger things to consider, and I don’t think I’m alone in that.
That’s why I’m writing down a list of my December goals. So that, this month, you can hold me accountable for all the things I desperately need to stay on top of (in order to remain a functional human being that spends less time scrolling through her own tweets and more time making active, positive changes to her life). Does that sound good to you?
This is everything I’m hoping to achieve before the start of the new year:
Buy/make all my Christmas presents in good time
Remember that thing I said about starting projects and never finishing them? Well that is doubly true around the holidays. There’s an entire shelf of my discarded knitting projects in my room, alongside notebooks filled with creative gift ideas that have never seen the light of day. The fact is, I love making homemade presents, but I’m so aware that it’s hard to create a high-quality gift from scratch and avoid it looking tacky. That’s why I’ll throw away a scarf I knitted because I accidentally slipped a few stitches, and that’s why, come December 24th, there’s always a few people I have to send out I.O.U.s to.
This year, I’m vowing to be different. Operation ‘homemade gift’ starts now. Everything will be in order before Christmas Eve, or else all I’ll be getting is a lump of coal.
Write detailed and personal Christmas cards to my relatives
I am truly terrible at correspondence. In case you hadn’t noticed by my inconsistent blogging efforts, I don’t generally tend to write when I don’t feel like it. And I think Christmas cards are a bit of a scam really. Well, actually, I think they’re a fucking waste of time.
However, much like weddings, funerals, and birthday parties where the guests are pals that haven’t seen each other for a while, you have to remember that this isn’t really about you. It’s about the audience. If someone sends me a Christmas card, it’s nothing more than a recyclable nuisance, but if I send my Grandma one, it might make her day. Sometimes you just have to do things you think are stupid to make other people happy. After all, it is Christmas.
Successfully complete the clear out I’ve been putting off since April
Indisputably, the greatest bodily and mental sensation the human body is capable of achieving is climbing into a freshly made bed, with perfectly clean sheets that have that slight cotton-y dryer scent, after having a long, hot soak in the bath.
Waking up on Christmas morning and coming down to a spotless house, complete with sparklingly clean kitchen sides, perfectly vacuumed carpets and clutter-free surfaces, only to destroy it in a whirlwind of torn wrapping paper and seasonal cooking, is the parallel of that sensation. And it is for that reason alone that I am determined to make this month the month I empty my house of all the rubbish taking up space.
Find a way to work on my health and fitness, even in the bitter cold
It’s so easy to make excuses this time of year (and every other time of year, if you’re me), but in this month of indulgence and partying, it’s more important than ever to take care of your body. I don’t mean training for a half marathon, but just getting out and taking a walk instead of getting an Uber, drinking water instead of coffee, having a vegetable once in a while.
There’s not a lot that makes you feel better or more energised than regularly exercising, staying hydrated and eating well, so don’t let it slip when you’re gonna need your body most. I’m not saying I’m gonna join a gym or anything (just imagine!), but I’m gonna stop making excuses and jumping in the car when I could hop on my bike or just walk to where I’m going. It’s not even that cold, anyway.
Make the effort to meet up with all the people I keep saying ‘we should meet up soon’ to
So this list of goals is rather depressingly making me feel like I’m probably a bit of a shitty person, but I guess that’s what this kind of thing is all about; recognising the things that make you a shitty person and taking action to improve them. I love my friends, and I wish that I always had the time/money/travel capabilities/energy to see them all regularly, but I know it’s not really that simple.
However, December is the perfect time to make the time for the people you love (or so these gushing Christmas films I keep watching tell me), and nothing makes the dark nights more enjoyable than a catch up over a cup of mulled wine or a slice of pizza.
Spend less money on disposable items, spend more on experiences and self-improvement
For someone who wrote an entire blog post on the perils of the ‘treat yourself’ mentality, I spend quite a lot of my income on crap. Did I deserve that £4 coffee from Costa? Probably, I’m fucking wonderful after all. But did I need to spend £4 on something so meaningless and temporary? I doubt it.
This month, more so than any other, spending is encouraged. Expected, even. The amount of times the phrase ‘it’s Christmas’ left my mouth last year as I triumphantly slammed my debit card down onto a shopping counter or bar is unthinkable. This year, to save me from surviving off pasta for the duration of January, I am going to stem my indulgence and think twice next time I think it’s wise to buy that sparkly top or that Jagerbomb. I think my body will thank me on this one too, to be honest.
Stop worrying about whether I’m maximising my festiveness this year, just enjoy it
Is there any worse time of the year for FOMO? Everyone seems to be simply having a wonderful Christmastime for the entire month of December, while you’re taking a break to sit on the sofa in your pants, catching up with The Sinner, eating Doritos and forgetting that it’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. Don’t worry about it.
Maybe it’s the abundance of carefully curated Instagram feeds that seem to be more prominent at this time of year, or maybe it’s simply the power of advertising, but sometimes I feel like the only one who’s not particularly bothered about feeling the festive spirit. And then I start worrying, because there are some really great things about this time of year, and I don’t want to miss out on them.
But there’s really no point measuring my festiveness against anyone else’s – as long as we’re all enjoying ourselves it doesn’t really matter. That’s why this year I’m planning to relax a little, somewhat uncharacteristically, and let Christmas come to me instead of chasing it in desperation. I’ll be knocking back Baileys hot chocolates at the German market in no time, just you wait.
What are you doing this month? Have you set any monthly goals? I’d love to hear them and get inspired!