2013 Reflections and 2014 Resolutions

Wow. What a year! And as another year passes by, I look back and I can hardly fathom all that has happened in the last 365 days. Every year that comes around seems to hold even more excitement, potential and wonder than the one before. 2013 has been a great one; it is the year:

  • I turned 18, and in turn became an adult.
  • I fell in love with raw cheesecakes and learnt how to make them.
  • Turned yoga from a once-weekly Bikram class to a almost-daily habit.
  • Hit 100 followers on my blog (still so pumped from this).
  • Shared my passion for food and life, with friends and family alike.
  • Met and made new and wonderful friends.
  • Ran 12km for the first time in my life (and haven't done it again since!)
  • Got three KitchenAid appliances all for myself!
  • Bought the highest high-heels I have ever seen.

Of course there have been millions, if not billions of moments that have made up my year, but to list them all would be far too extensive. With New Year's Eve only a few short days away, and 2014 tantalisingly close, many people are already looking to their next New Year's resolution (me included). But before I go setting new goals, I felt it was important to reflect on my resolutions for 2013 - I had two.

  1. To wear and own more colourful, patterned clothes.
  2. To learn not to care about what others think of me.

Whilst the first is somewhat trivial and frivolous, it sure has been fun adding to my wardrobe all year. Although I still wear a lot of dark blue, white, cream, black, red and orange (my staple colours), I have managed to buy some wilder, patterned and coloured pieces which are so much fun to wear. I think this resolution is one I will continue into the future, because a girl cannot have too many bright, fun things, right? On a side note, I have also been trying to buy more ethically and make sure I dispose responsibly of the clothes I no longer want (by donating them to the Salvation Army and Red Cross).

The second was far deeper, vaguer and inevitably more difficult to achieve. There were many times throughout the year that I completely forgot my resolution and allowed myself to worry and stress over what other people thought of me. It is easy to set such a goal, but infinitely more difficult to practice it, day in, day out. It's human nature to want to be liked, to have friends and to be accepted, and to some degree that need or desire for acceptance is important. But in the modern world this desire is targeted by marketers and multiplied by the impact of social media. We can get so incredibly caught up in what others think of us that we end up focussing on all the negative things, instead of all the good. I may not have complete self-acceptance and I may still care about what others think of me (and if we are honest, what 18 year old girl isn't going to care?), but I am well on my way to achieving this goal. Through affirmations, positive thoughts and a little bit of determination I have been able to step away from the opinions of the people around me and learn to love myself for exactly who I am. And the sense of freedom is incredible.

As I mentioned earlier, I have already chosen (and to some degree attempted) my New Year's resolution for 2014 - hara hachi bu. In case you were wondering, I am not trying to learn Japanese. In fact, this phrase is the Japanese saying eat until 80% full. The whole concept comes from the Okinawans, a group of Japanese people who have one of the longest life expectancies, some of the lowest rates of cancer, heart disease and diabetes and the most centenarians in the world. Obviously they know what they are doing with food. Hara hachi bu is designed to prevent overeating, and in doing so creates a regular habit of caloric restriction, which in turn is linked to longevity and reduced disease. Basically, you eat until you are satisfied but not 'full' at each meal. The Okinawans also eat a plant-based diet, with lots of green vegetables, fish and moderate amounts of healthy fats. To read more about their lifestyle and incredible health, click on this article.

I chose this philosophy because, as I have written about here and here, I have a strong tendency to eat WAY more than I need to. Although what I eat is generally reasonably healthy, you can have too much of a good thing. The aim for my resolution is that I will learn how to control my portion sizes better and listen to my body as to when to stop eating, instead of just eating everything on my plate. Mindful eating will also play a role in this, as if I eat too fast then I will not realise when I am at 80% until I have gone beyond that point.

Hopefully, just like my resolutions this year, I will be able to make a positive change in my life and enjoy it too.

Wishing you all the very best 2014, may your light shine into the world.

Tell me about your New Year's resolutions, from 2013 or for 2014?

Keep healthy, keep happy,

Erica xx