So can you remember the list? Have you been following it too? I'll try not to waffle about how I think I've got on (I can't promise!) but it's nice to look back and take some time to think about how these small things have affected this past year for me...
1. Dress like it matters. This can be small things like wearing jeans less, or wearing more smart than casual. It may be about giving your hair a 'style' or wearing lipstick.
Changes I've made:
- I wear nail varnish more (mainly on my toes!) but it does make me feel pretty!
- I started running and have lost nearly a stone! Unplanned but needless to say feels GREAT!
- I wear mascara to work and make more of an effort with my hair and jewellery selection in the mornings now and its fair to say the odd compliments have brought many smiles!
2. Read more. Perhaps set a specific title you want to read, or a goal of one book a month/week/year.
Books I've thoroughly enjoyed reading this year:
- Steig Larson's 'Millenium Trilogy'
- Terry Pratchet's 'Reaper Man' & 'Interesting times'
- Nick Hornby's 'Fever Pitch' & 'High Fidelity'
- James Patterson's 'Kill Alex Cross'
- Mark Haddon's 'A Spot of Bother'
...and currently I'm falling in love with Alex James all over again whilst reading 'A bit of a Blur'
3. Watch less. You could do one evening a week with no television, or even one week....or a month?
I can honestly say that aside from the Great British Bake Off (which I watched over the course of 4 evenings with the help of marvellous catch up telebox technology) and a few episodes of QI and The Big Bang Theory, I think this year has seen a significant decrease in telebox watching and I haven't missed it one bit. Hurrah!
4. Realise what the small stuff is, and stop getting so stressed out about it. Catch yourself doing it, and distract yourself from it. Its pointless.
The biggest change looking back on this year versus last year for me has to be the fact I can class my self as a runner now. Running has been the way I have learnt to stop myself getting too worked up about things. I have learnt to realise when I need a release and rather than getting in a tizz like I so often used to, I now get my trainers on and lose myself in a nice run around one of the beautiful lakes near my house. It works wonders and although there will always be those stressful times I honesty think I am better at coping with them now thanks to the alone time I make for myself and my running.
5. Learn to be alone. Perhaps you need to challenge yourself to go to the cinema alone? A pub? A restaurant? A holiday? Or even just an evening alone, with no television.
I didn't really see this as much of a change as I am at ease with my own company and living alone gives me ample opportunity to potter about the empty quiet house more often than not. However there are 3 significant 'alone time' moments for me that stand out so far this year...
- Flying to India and home again on my lonesome - scary but exciting and totally worth it!
- Decorating my bathroom - not usually something I'd do alone but I did it and it wasn't a disaster!
- Running - as mentioned before, my most valued alone time and something that was new for 2012.
6. Say yes more.
Hmmm so... a tough one to summarise, would you believe me if I said it's not saying 'Yes' more that I find a problem? However, this point has stayed in my mind throughout the year and when I think about all of the places I've been, projects I've completed, social gatherings I've attended and organised, people I've seen, and goals I've achieved I think its safe to say that without saying YES along the way half of these things would never have happened... in fact only today I agreed to put my name forward for the London Marathon next year!
7. Stop being mean to yourself. You wouldn't call your best friend fat or ugly, so don't allow your own thoughts to say these unkind words either.
Lets just say I'm getting there with this one... losing weight through running and trying to enforce change no.1 in this list every morning has indeed helped. So, although I have my off days I think I can safely say I'm a bit nicer to myself more often that I used to be... it's a start right!?!
8. Forgive more. Holding onto anger, bitterness or regret only causes you pain. Try and believe that most people want to be good, but just may make bad choices sometimes.
Life is short. As hard as it may be to let go sometimes, the feeling of doing so and being honest with yourself when you do let go can only bring good things. Nobody wants to hold on to little black rain clouds of sadness, anger or dispair. Make the effort, make the change and try to forgive more. I promise it does help and it's something I've learnt to be more aware of this past few years let alone recently.
So... there you have it, a reflection on 8 of the 10 small changes I have been working on making this year. I feel proud to be able to report positively on them so far. Points 9 and 10 will follow before 2012 is up and I'll be sure to write up a full year review too so keep checking back won't you?
I have waffled a lot without pictures this time (shocking I know!) but I do hope you've found it interesting and with a bit of luck you've also found it inspiring. Little changes can make the biggest of differences, no matter what those changes may be. Following the simple little list above has helped me to realise this.