At the beginning of last year, I made many promises to myself – some of which I managed to keep and others which did not cross my mind after the first week of January. The latter occurred because I didn’t hold myself accountable for making good on these personal promises, because I didn’t document them as I usually do and because words like “promise” are rather lofty and intimidating in my mind (if you don’t keep up to it, you have disappointed the key party involved – typically, yourself). Most of my promises were also framed in a way that implied removing something from my life (e.g. I will quit sugar for one year) or implementing constraints on myself (e.g. I will limit myself to one shopping trip per month), and I’ve now realised that statements with negative connotations simply don’t work for me. In fact, the promises where I intended to do more of something were the ones I honoured (e.g. I will travel more.)

So rather than making promises that I may or may not keep, resolutions that I most certainly won’t and restrictions that turn me off, the only thing I want to do is more of everything that makes me happy – five key things in particular!

Reading

I’ve always been a voracious reader but last year was a very disappointing year on the literary front. I scarcely managed to finish a book a month with my interest flitting from here to there and my mind never in one place. From whatever I did complete, not one book managed to make it to my all-time favourites. Not one! 2016 is the year of rekindling my love for new words and the smell of old books. My first book of the year is Past Continuous by Neel Mukherjee, an author who has been compared to Amitav Ghosh. I’d like to complete the book before I comment on that comparison, but I will say that it is piquing my interest with every page I turn.

Writing

Last year, I stopped writing. Actually, I chugged along for a short while, with jerks and shudders, and then stopped altogether, like a broken toy train. This year, I want to make more time for writing – my first and forever love. I plan to start with free writing, because I know that jumping head first into full-fledged creative writing is no easy feat, especially for a rusty writer. It is also important for me to keep soaking up inspiration, and I hope that my emphasis on reading will allow me to do that. I also plan to restart an old ritual of mine: learning a new word every day, and then reviewing my list of seven at the end of each week. Here’s to writing more and writing bold!

Skincare

Those of you who have known me for a long time will know that I have incredibly moody skin. As a result, I’ve never been head-over-heels into makeup, but towards the end of last year, I started developing an interest in skincare and I have seen – first hand – that a little bit of TLC for your epidermis can go a long way. This year, I want to find my ultimate skincare routine and make it a point to pamper my skin with lots of water, lots of fruit, weekly mud packs and regular facials.

Health and Fitness

Like skincare, I restarted my health and fitness journey in the second half of last year – only to fall off the bandwagon when December rolled around. I knew that fighting against it was pointless, so I allowed myself the downtime, and jumped back onto the train in January. Last year, I experimented a lot with my diet and various exercise routines, and I learned that extremities do not work for me. I simply cannot keep them going for more than two months, so I need to find a diet and exercise routine that I can incorporate into my lifestyle without it seeming like too much of an effort or constraint. I also learned that I get bored of exercise routines very quickly, so I need to keep alternating my workouts to keep it interesting. This year, I want to make health and fitness a indisputable part of my lifestyle, rather than something I occasionally partake in. Healthy body, healthy mind.

Decluttering

The most important thing that I want to do this year is to declutter my life of wasteful material possessions that I do not need, do not like or do not use. My method may not be as extreme as Marie Kondo’s prescription in The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up, but I plan to incorporate tidbits of advice from her method wherever possible. I am starting with my wardrobe. Last night, I went through my extensive dress collection and pulled out almost twenty items that I have not worn in over a year. I tossed them into a bag, and put up a listing on a website that allows you to sell your gently used clothing. Slowly but surely, I plan to go through everything I own and remove the things that I don’t need. I’m already feeling better.

What do you want to make more time for in 2016? I’d love to know.

Hoping that you achieve everything you set your mind to this year,

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