As the chimes signalling clean slates and big plans draw nearer, we asked some of Standard Issue’s ace contributors to let us in on their resolutions gone by and share some thoughts for the next raft.
I think the trick to a sticky resolution is to choose something that you secretly wish you could do, but feel like you need permission. I’ve stuck to precisely two resolutions: the first was to not do the ironing and the other was to stop saving clothes for best.
When I say “not do the ironing” I don’t mean leave the pile to grow huge and intimidating – I mean just stop doing it. I sent my iron to the charity shop over a decade ago. Nothing bad happened. It turns out that with a bit of panache and a judicious approach to shopping you don’t need to iron. Ever.
My kids are no more crumpled than anyone else’s and I’ve never been barred entry to anywhere because I was too creased. I am proud to announce I have used my extra time wisely – by watching all of Netflix. I do now own a little iron, but it is strictly for melting Hama beads together when the kids make pictures with them (if you aren’t familiar with Hama beads, they are like Hamas beads, but far less politically controversial).
The other resolution was a bit trickier to get started. The first time I waltzed into work wearing a cocktail dress under a blazer I felt a tiny bit sheepish. The self-consciousness lasted until I remembered I am awesome, and if you can’t wear what you like as a grown-up, what is the point?
After years of working with people who seemed to believe that you couldn’t be effective and professional unless you look like a middle manager from Next I’ve taken great pleasure in proving I can kick ass wearing whatever the fuck I like.
Dr Suze Kundu
As a list maker, I make a New Year to-do list. I have for a while. Different to the usual ‘post letters, fill fridge with things that are not Prosecco and cheese’ etc. They’re pretty brutal and/or motivating. ‘Remove terrible friend from life. Buy a house. Find a job you actually love.’ Some get ticked off. Some roll over. 2014 was a hat-trick of joy (job, house, love of life).
Since 1 January 2015 I have been vegan. To be honest it wasn’t a New Year’s resolution as much as a moment of realising something had to be done, and that moment of realisation coinciding with the first day of the calendar year.
The decision had a lot to do with my dairy intake throughout the festive period reaching an all-time high; over New Year’s Eve my boyfriend and I spent three days in Bruges where my entire diet consisted of beer, praline truffles and Edam.
“The assumption that a change of date means a change in one’s approach to life can be a dangerous one, which is why so many resolutions are doomed to failure.”
Ordinarily, you understand, that’s my kind of holiday, but post-Christmas, and my mother’s associated tradition of a round-the-clock-cheeseboard, I felt as though if I cut myself a substance resembling béchamel sauce would ooze out. Not to mention the Christmas meat – one of those birds within a bird within a bird from Aldi that on reflection I find slightly gross and macabre.
I was bleary eyed, grey skinned and had had enough. So that was that.
Well, actually the plan was to go on a juice diet until I resurfaced, glowing and smiling and fabulous-haired but it was such an ordeal I thought veganism would do. The results were almost instant; no more fatigue, my skin cleared (and has been zero problem ever since), and I felt 100 per cent more bouncy.
Not to mention that as the year has progressed I have developed a sense of responsibility about the way we treat other creatures, something that I’m sure would have gone over my head had I not already invested in the lifestyle. And that’s why I’ve stuck at it ever since.
Lili la Scala
I made a resolution last January not to buy any more vintage clothing. I lasted approximately two days. Which I think is a fine achievement.
The fatal New Year blow was struck for me on 1 January 2014. I sent drunken texts to a couple of girlfriends who’d been having a bit of a hard time, with an “I’ve got a really good feeling about this year” message of positivity. What a dick.
Six weeks later, I’d suffered two family bereavements, my husband had a breakdown, and my son had been scheduled for surgery (and that’s aside from the crap those friends were also dealing with).
“I sent my iron to the charity shop over a decade ago. Nothing bad happened. It turns out that with a bit of panache and a judicious approach to shopping you don’t need to iron.”
It was as if New Year had stuck two fingers up at me. And if I was wary of the New Year = Fresh Start brigade before this, I’ve approached each January since with extreme caution, and absolutely no expectation of a miraculous change in fortunes.
All of which makes me sound like a right miserable bitch. I promise I’m not, I just think the assumption that a change of date means a change in one’s approach to life can be a dangerous one, which is why so many resolutions are doomed to failure.
These days I try and see the end of one year and start of the next as a time to take stock of things. It’s a chance to reflect on the changes that have taken place, good and bad, in my own and other people’s lives. It’s a time to remember that even with plenty of pain around, I’m incredibly lucky to be surrounded by love and kindness.
Rather than a resolution, in 2016, my watchword is going to be ‘balance’. Life seems to be rushing forward at a sprint, and I want to try and slow things down, take more time with my husband and kids, and make the space to enjoy our time together more.
It’s entirely possible that my subconscious has been bombarded with too many memes of people standing on top of mountains at sunrise emblazoned with life-affirming bullshit, but hey, it’s as good a place as any to start.3322 Views
Some of Standard Issue's brilliant women's carefully crafted words for your reading pleasure.