Summing up 2013 in 3 words: Challenging. Eye-opening. Fantastic. Despite a fair few ‘downs’, I’ve also had some of the best ‘ups’ ever! It’s been a quick one though; I feel like it was only yesterday that I sat down on the train on the way back to Loughborough after my Christmas at home last year. And yet here I am again, sat at home planning my journey back to begin a few weeks full of revision, exams and probably an extortionate amount of coffee to get me through it all.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently (which is always dangerous) about what my New Year’s resolution is going to be. I make one every year with this strange new found desire and strength to fulfil my aim, whatever it may be. Last year, it was pretty simple. Not get injured. Of course, that was a pretty optimistic and perhaps unrealistic resolution as in some ways I suppose this is somewhat beyond my control. But this year I’ve been injured yes, but I’ve also been fixed. Without pushing my body beyond breaking point. In other words, I’ve been sensible (something I’m not known for being AT ALL!) and I’d say I’ve kept to my resolution pretty well.
We all make our resolutions to be better people, right? Otherwise why would we even bother? Some of us want to lose weight. Some say they want to fall in love. Perhaps lay low on the alcohol side of things. Or something simple, such as spending more time with family. Resolutions don’t have to be huge, extravagant, bold claims. Just something we feel we should do to make our lives just that little bit better. I’ve decided to make more than one resolution this year. Perhaps my life does need a big change!
1) Spend less time on social media. I’m the kind of person who scrolls through twitter, facebook and instagram for a good half an hour before going to sleep at night. I don’t HAVE to do this, it’s just something I choose to do. However recently, I feel social media has had quite a negative impact on how I feel. I see posts from all around the world that evoke hate for certain things, sometimes certain people and it’s not something I want to be a part of. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be tweeting, facebooking and instagramming all the exciting parts of my life but when I take a photo of a gorgeous sunset or the usual cycling ‘selfie’ it won’t be posted within 2 minutes of me walking through the door, with my helmet and cycling shoes still on.
2) Really focus on that bucket list of mine. I have some preeeeetty amazing things that I want to do on my bucket list, from travelling across America to the bog standard skydive. But it’s also those small things – a full 8-film Harry Potter movie marathon, a day where ALL I eat is cake, sleep for one night under the stars – that I really want to start work on. And I can’t wait!
3) Help out a stranger. Or two. Maybe even make it a regular thing. I read something online a few days ago about someone who used to wave to people spontaneously whilst driving. Asked why, he said that people who had failed in their attempts to commit suicide were saved by the fact that someone smiled at them. Acknowledged their existence. Perhaps by smiling at someone just for that one second of the day, you could save a life. From a slightly less deep perspective, something simple like picking something up that someone has dropped and running after them with it (not in some strange stalker/weirdo type way, just the friendly way). Anything that will make someone’s day that teeny tiny bit better.
4) Conquer one of my fears. I wouldn’t say I’m easily scared but there are some things that do give me the creeps a little bit! Let me take you back to a moment about 2 weeks ago on camp. We’d just finished a sea swim race, from the beach at the town where we were staying, around the harbour and finishing at a small jetty just over a mile away. I have a bit of an issue with fish, in that they PETRIFY me. So any swim in open water is a pretty big deal for me (it’s a pretty awkward thing to be scared of as a triathlete…)! I’d finished the swim, and was pleased with how I coped with it, surprising myself for how calm I’d been and how well it had gone. When it came to getting out however, it was a completely different story. Two fisherman appeared on the rocks where we had to exit the water with two of the BIGGEST fish I have EVER seen (they might as well have been whales for all I cared) and started cutting them up?! Like, actually into chunks. And then throwing the bits BACK IN THE SEA. WHAAAAAT is that about?! Well, I may have gone into panic mode and a few tears and rather a lot of time later I’d finally made it back to safety. The thing is I’m getting a bit tired of this. Last year on camp, I had two panic attacks when swimming in the sea. It’s all getting a little bit old now! So there’s a fear I’d like to overcome.
The second fear is my strange inability to let go. Jump off the edge. Take a leap of faith. I finish university this year and although I do have some plans pencilled in, I’m not 100% sure what I’d like to do with myself. So I’m going to use this time, this opportunity if you like, to do something I perhaps might not have considered doing before. Watch this space 🙂
5) Challenge myself. Every day should be a bit of a challenge at least. As athletes, we thrive on challenge, get that incredible buzz when we achieve and succeed in our seemingly impossible tasks. I have a lot of goals for this year. Not part of my New Year’s resolutions but just things I have set my eyes on. The outside chance of racing in the Commonwealth Games. Graduating. Getting a job. Earning my own money. Building a professional but exciting life after the hustle and bustle and craziness of university. Just my own views of how I want this year to go in an ideal world. In order to get there, I’m going to face plenty of challenges. And you know what? I can’t wait.
I’m not saying everyone needs to make resolutions. As the saying goes, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. If you’re happy, don’t change. If you make others happy? Keep things that way. But make sure that you do everything in your power to have the best year that you can, and take time in your day to ensure others are happy, entertained and most importantly loved. And always, ALWAYS remember to smile.
Hope you all had a very merry Christmas, and I wish every single one of you the happiest of New Years. Let’s make 2014 brilliant 🙂
Over & Out,