[Merry Christmas from Mallorca]
I've always found the concept of New Years Resolutions an odd one. If there's something you want to achieve, and you want to reach that goal enough, why wait to start. Start the moment you even have that thought because the longer you put something off the harder it is to face.
Why are we so determined to set ourselves up for failure? Setting ourselves unrealistic goals based on unattainable ideals and then beating ourselves up about our lack of success in completion. My whole life I have been my own worst critic- my boyfriend put it incredibly bluntly to me only last week. I was upset, frustrated and angry with myself, disappointed in my lack of revision that day and repeatedly telling myself I was bound to fail. He turned to me and asked me why I am so mean to myself. He (correctly) told me that I would never dream of judging anyone else the way I harshly judge myself, so why do I continue to allow myself to be my own worst enemy? And he had a point. How do I ever expect to be proud of myself and my achievements, if they never meet the ever increasing standards that I appear to be setting.
My problem is, and always has been my irrational fear of failure. It sounds unbelievably cliche but for as long as I can remember, there has never been a time where I have not been completely terrified of letting people, teachers, my parents, friends or myself down. I am incredibly lucky to come from a family who have always supported every decision I have made, they have never pressured me to work harder or pushed me to pursue a particular career path (partially because they know I am probably putting enough pressure on myself already), yet there is some inherent part of me which works myself to the bone to achieve better things than the time before.
The most recent issue of ELLE; 'The Confidence Issue', got me thinking... what actually is failure? If I take a step back from my colour coded revision timetable, OCD tidy bedroom, jam packed filofax and actually assess the bigger picture, I can't help but ask 'what's the worst thing that could happen?' I have forever been in the mindset of wanting to do my best and achieve my best, and although this is a positive trait to have, it becomes an issue when your best isn't good enough for yourself any more. At school, my A*A*A A-level results were not good enough because I convinced myself it was only because I chose 'easy subjects'. On my year at Art School in London I found myself trapped in an unhealthy routine of working at least 12 hours a day whilst surviving on a diet which purely consisted of pringles and chocolate, resulting in illness and exhaustion on top of the immense stress and pressure I was already feeling. Yes, I came out with a Distinction, but I didn't feel elated when I found out. I felt utterly exhausted. I had used up every scrap of energy my body had, and was it really worth it? And then it dawned on me- nothing will ever be good enough. In two of my A-levels I achieved 100%, and still wasn't happy. What was I hoping to achieve? It was a physical impossibility to gain a better mark, yet that still wasn't enough for me to take a step back and say 'do you know what Amy? You work hard, it's paid off and you should be proud of yourself'.
So my real question is, why is it so hard to admit our own pride? I have spent 20 years of my life dwelling on what I could have done better, worrying about what will happen in the future, what if I don't get a job, what if I fail my degree etc etc etc. So this year, is a year for change. At the end of every day I am going to write down at least one thing that has made me smile, and one thing I have done to be proud of. For the first time in my life I am setting a New Years Resolution and plan to wholeheartedly stick to it... After all, failure is not an option ;)
Leave your comments below and let me know if you'd like to see a few more personal blog posts like this. I hope you all had an amazing Christmas, and have a fantastic New Years Eve!