I read an inspiring article in Red magazine this month by Emma Lawrence who wrote about the importance of focusing on our achievements of the year gone, as well as the resolutions of the year ahead. I’m pretty good at planning ahead, at thinking of what I want to change and what I can do better, but I rarely sit back and think about what’s gone well.
I thought what better way to end 2014 than with a list of the five achievements I am most proud of.
1. This blog
It would seem silly to start this list with anything other than this blog. I started A Life Less Phsyical 19 months ago as a way of focusing my trapped energy following my diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. I won’t do the dreaded stat-reveal, but I watch my blog gain new readers every day and, perhaps more importantly, keep readers coming back. I am so incredibly proud of A Life Less Physical; whilst some of my posts are witty and others are well-written, there are others that are weak and lack substance, and others are just plain dull. But every time I think I’ve written something embarrassing, I just write something else and hope the ‘something else’ is a post I can be proud of. I have never deleted anything I have published, and that’s a really big achievement for me.
2. New Life Outlook
Towards the end of this year I was approached to be a contributing writer to New Life Outlook, an online community for Fibromyalgia sufferers. I have wanted to write for as long as I can remember; I did a degree in Creative Writing and loved the romantic idea of one day writing a novel. I know I’m not a brilliant writer; my language isn’t as good and my academic knowledge isn’t as in-depth as many of those around me, but I hope that it is accessible and that it’s appropriate for my audience. I hope that you reading this right now feel interested enough to read on. Being asked to write about my health, and get paid for it, is something I am so incredibly proud of. In fact, I think this may be my biggest achievement of my entire life.
3. Book Club
I talked for years about joining a book club and it just never happened. The thought of it intimidated me and I feared it would become a chore rather than something I loved to do. This year I set up my own book club with some friends from work, and it has been utterly wonderful. We’ve read The Shock of the Fall, Midnight’s Children, Look Who’s Back, Lean In and Breakfast at Tiffany’s; some were vastly better than others, in my humble opinion, but it’s been so good to read books I would never usually pick up. We meet every six weeks, we have dinner and drinks and chat about everything and anything, and at some point we talk about the book we read. It’s brilliant and I highly recommend it!
4. Losing weight
Losing weight was a big achievement for me this year. I spent two years moaning about the fact I had put on weight and at no point did I do anything about it, until this summer when I finally changed my relationship with food and learnt to create a whole new set of eating habits.
5. Being honest
Anyone who writes anything for the general public knows how it feels to have your thoughts challenged by others. Whether it’s blogs, articles, Facebook or Twitter, we are open to the criticism of others. There is nothing wrong with that – in fact, it’s only a good thing in my view – but it can still be quite tough to take. My insides used to squirm every time my tweets or blogs were criticised, but this year I have come to realise it’s okay. We don’t all have to agree and if we did, it would be nothing short of awful. So go ahead, hate it or love it… just please keep reading it.