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Settling into 2020

I understand the hype of January, and the feeling of refreshment and changing things for the better. But I don’t understand the pressure of needing to be perfect by January 2nd. I have goals for the year, yes, but you can’t be expected to have everything together by the time February rolls around, let alone keeping that going for another eleven months.

For instance, in 2019 and following into 2020, I have wanted to prioritise my blog, which involved dedicating myself to writing three posts a week. That is still something I want to do, yet here we are at January 24th without having posted much at all. While that’s not a trend I want to continue, and while we shouldn’t make excuses for poor behaviour, we also need to give ourselves grace.

Different times of life call for different priorities.

January is a tricky month, because there’s the excitement for a new year, but you also need to get out of the holiday mindset. I’m used to Christmas holidays and relaxing, and then a few days into January you’re asking me to write an essay for uni, or go back to work? So yes, we should embrace the excitement of a new year, but we also need to get back into the rhythm of what our lives normally consist of.

Over Christmas I didn’t blog much, which is understandable. I got out of the habit of writing everyday. And then on the 2nd of January, university started back up which meant I had to write an essay. And getting back into the swing of writing essays took more energy than it usually would have, which meant my blog and novel were pushed to the side.

Today is my last day of university for this trimester, which means I have all of February free before Trimester 1 starts in March. I now feel like I can get back into the habit of blogging and writing, which means by the time uni rolls around again my rhythm should be set for all the ‘normal’ things I usually fill my days with.

I don’t know if this is flawed logic, but that’s why I think it’s better to think more generally about what you want your 2020 to look like instead of trying to get it all done in January. If I tried to get abs, cook, and write everyday in January, by February I would (probably) be discouraged because I (probably) wouldn’t have achieved much.

Personally, implementing small changes into my normal life is much easier than trying to sort out a completely new routine that would give me my ‘dream’ life.

An example of this is how I’ve been submitting creative writing to magazines and online journals. It would be difficult to just leap into this. So I began by submitting pieces I already had written, and slowly working on new pieces. Because I was already in the process of submitting my work, I didn’t feel the need to rush through and write three thousand poems in one day. I gave myself the opportunity to work thoroughly on new pieces while still putting myself out there and trying to get published with poems I had already finished writing.

Similarly, by submitting poems, I feel I can work freely on my novel without the pressure of getting it completed and published this weekend. By setting smaller goals of getting published, I am achieving something whilst giving myself the freedom to work on the bigger goal (of publishing a novel) that could take years to be actualised.

It can be discouraging to have a large goal that seems months or years away from being completed, but I would say there are usually small steps in between where you are and where the goal is that can help you stay motivated and feel fulfilled while you’re working towards the goal.

Also prioritising this blog helps with that because I do have a place where I can write and continually be working on what I love.

This post has turned out longer than I was expecting, so I’ll leave it here. But I’m hoping by posting this, I will be motivated to get back into writing on my blog three times a week.

(Also, I got a notification saying I’ve had this blog for three years, so thanks for sticking around! I appreciate it, campers.)

Sarah xx

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