New Year’s Resolutions | What I want to accomplish in 2020

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a lovely Holiday period! It’s a new year, which means for a lot of people it’s time to make some New Year’s resolutions. Personally I’m not really one for making them. In fact, at the beginning of 2019 I wrote a blog post about my opinion on New Year’s resolutions, and whether I think they’re actually helpful or if they’re kind of ”unhealthy” because they’re the cause of many people’s frustrations (when they don’t manage to achieve what they set out to achieve at the beginning of the year). Funnily enough this thought process links directly to my first ”resolution”, as you’ll see. Rather than seeing these ”resolutions” as something set in stone, I try to see them as options for a healthier life (both physically and mentally). You might want to grab a cup of tea, because it’s a long post! Let’s get into it!

1 | THIS YEAR’S THEME: BECOMING MORE (SELF-)CONFIDENT
My self-esteem has never been great. Since the moment I could see myself as an autonomous human being, I was never confident in making choices (especially concerning myself) and depending on myself. Now, after several years of pretty major mental health problems, my self-confidence is almost non-existent. I don’t feel like I’m a grown up who can make somewhat wise life choices for themselves about anything more deep than ”what am I going to eat tonight?”. I am in therapy – not specifically for my confidence problems, but it is touched upon a lot during my sessions – but I want to try and do more to build up my self-confidence outside of my therapy sessions as well. I don’t exactly know how yet, but I’m guessing it’ll involve a lot of: doing activities by myself to realise that I can manage without a lot of help from others, making mistakes and not beating myself up about it (more about that below), making (small) decisions by myself, and reading self help books on confidence building haha! (If you have any recommendations, please let me know!). I know it’ll be a long process of trial and error, but I’m ready for it!

2 | NOT BEATING MYSELF UP ABOUT IT WHEN THINGS DON’T GO AS PLANNED
I think a part of my low self-confidence comes from being a perfectionist and literally hating myself when something goes wrong or not as I planned. Somewhere deep down I know that it’s OK to make mistakes, and it’s OK when things go wrong, especially if you’re doing them for the first time. But when something doesn’t go the way I want it to (which basically happens at least once every day) I have difficulty letting it go, and will literally beat myself up about it (mentally obviously) by telling myself what a failure I am for not achieving certain things or doing better at them. I know this isn’t healthy behaviour, but my brain almost automatically does it because that’s all it’s used to. Again this is something that is touched upon loads in therapy, and I think that when my self-confidence grows, this will get a bit easier as well.

3 | LIVING ON MY OWN
For reference: I’m 26, I still live with my dad, and I’ve never lived alone before in my life. Living alone wasn’t something I worried about before my mental health problems came back, it seemed totally doable. But about six years ago they came back in full force, and for a while I wasn’t doing well enough to live on my own yet (hence why I still live at my dad’s). Now that I’m doing a little better and have the opportunity of inhabiting a little flat in the town I live in, I feel like it’s time for me to spread my wings! I think it’ll be very overwhelming at first, I’ll probably feel quite shitty and lonely in the beginning, and I’ll definitely need help from my parents and my ambulatory assistant (is that even the right word in English?) when it comes to things like cleaning and cooking schedules, finances and admin etc. But I have a good feeling about it and I’m going to do my best to make it work!

4 | DRAW MORE
Drawing used to be something that came naturally to me. I’d draw during every free moment I had (and also during non-free moments like high school math classes haha). But when my mental health started to deteriorate I didn’t have the (mental) energy anymore to draw, and ”unfortunately” I’m no Frida Kahlo or Vincent van Gogh, who made their most famous works during the hardest times in their lives. Now that I’m finally getting a bit of ”free space” in my head again, I want to start drawing regularly again. Preferably at least one hour a day. However I also want to start reading more (see next resolution) so I’m going to have to ”dose” these activities a bit during the day, so I won’t tire myself out and will be able to keep up with doing them. If you want to keep up with my art (lol) you can follow me on Instagram!

5 | READ MORE
I guess my last two ”options” are definitely more conventional New Year’s Resolution subjects. First up: read more! The past years I’ve read an average of about 0,5 books a year haha! I used to be a pretty OK reader back in the day. I didn’t have difficulty immersing myself in a story and actually finishing multiple books a year. But nowadays I either get really sleepy while reading (and even fall asleep) so I often avoid reading during the day, or my concentration only lasts for a couple of chapters. I think this has something to do with spending too much time on social media/YouTube etc AKA getting too much mental stimulus, and therefore my concentration for ”boring activities” (stimulant wise I mean) like reading has majorly decreased. This year I’ve set myself the goal to read five books and hopfully find joy in reading again. If you want to follow my progress you can follow me on Goodreads!

6 | EXERCISE TWICE A WEEK (AT LEAST)
Several years ago I used to go to ballet classes three times a week (say whatever you want about classical ballet, that stuff is hard and exhausting!), but due to mental and (more recent) physical health problems – which I might update you guys on in the near future – I only go to dance class once a week now. So I only get an actual good workout once a week, and the rest of the week exists of the occasional half-hour walk or riding my bike somewhere. Not very healthy, neither for my body nor my mind! So I want to keep going to my dance classes on Monday, and add at least one trip to the gym a week, mainly to build some stamina. And hopefully I’ll be able to pick up one of my other dance classes again after summer vacation.

Okay, so these are my ”sort-of New Year’s resolutions” for 2020. I don’t know how doable it’ll be and I’m not going to tackle them all at once because that’d be madness (for me at least). But like I said, I see them as options: it’s great if I can achieve some or all of these things, but it’s OK if I don’t, or if I do but not as well as I’d like to. I’ll keep you guys updated on how I’m doing! What’s your opinion on New Year’s resolutions? Did you make any, and what are they?


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Puck van Rooij

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