Butterflies are the ever-cliched metaphor for instant, glorious change. Butterflies or phoenixes- and while they’re both excellent ambassadors for change, it’s not because they burst out all colourful and fluttery, it’s because they go through hell first.
Phoenixes have to burn alive before they can come back, and I found out last year that caterpillars don’t just thin out and develop wings in the cocoon; they almost completely break down into lumps and thick soup wth just a few organs and breathing apparatus intact before reordering themselves into what will become a butterfly!!!!! (And I thought puberty was horrible).
“New Year New Me” is an illusion. It’s a very pretty idea but nobody changes overnight. Apparently, not even a butterfly. 😉 Changing anything takes time and serious consistency. It is supposed to take around 21 days for your body and mind to even begin getting used to something new. It’s so tempting to wake up and decide today you’ll be a completely new person with new healthy habits, but that’s setting you up for failure. I used to do it every new year. I think I once lasted 9 days. Once.
If you’re already struggling, please be kind to yourself. Stop the total life overhaul- unless you’re at bootcamp, with somebody watching you as though you’re a toddler with a pointy thing, it isn’t going to work. Willpower is a badass thing to have but it isn’t there all the time. When my get up and go has got up and gone, these are the things that I have found work:
Know you are going to feel like shit.
Less caffeine, less sugar, less utter garbage = great but you’ll almost certainly have withdrawal symptoms. Going without your once-a-day special £5 coffee to save money is a good thing to do but you’ll feel as though you’re denying yourself for a while.
It won’t last- I promise. Once you know that your body is just complaining because it’s a big change, feeling so horrible isn’t as freaky. I usually recover within 5-7 days- it depends how quickly you bounce back.
One at a time.
Eat healthily, go to the gym, write every day, drink loads of water, save lots of money, call your friends every other day etc etc etc. It’s stressful! It feels counterproductive to ignore or at least not worry about all the other things on that list but if you concentrate on just getting one or two things done, you have a better chance of sticking to those. You can add more in later.
There’s a great proverb about it; the man that chases two rabbits catches neither.
Split it up.
Are you working on a massive task and procrastinating/freezing up? I do it all the time and it’s usually because either the task is too big or I have no idea where to start. Break it right down. Make a list or two. Start with the smallest thing at the very beginning and when you’ve finished something (even if it is ‘reply to an email’), write in on your ‘done’ list. It’s so easy to forget all the stuff you’ve actually done and feel like you have achieved nothing. That’s why you make a ‘done’ list as well as a ‘to do’ list.
Do any of you have plans for this year? I have lots of things in the pipeline (involving at least three new countries!) but that’s always the case. My actual planned must-do resolutions for the year are:
– Finish a big fiction project I’ve been working on.
– Be more organised.
– Save a specific amount of money. (There’s something big I’m saving for).
– Keep up the hard work.
Wish me luck! <3
Next blog, I’m taking you back to the urbex and the end of days. For now, look at this awesome picture by Engdahl Photography! I love London. And New Rocks. And things with brass knuckles on them.