New Year’s Resolutions

As each year draws to a close the question on everyone’s lips is “what’s your New Year’s Resolution?” There is a list of answers that are often repeated year after year; getting fit, losing weight, quitting smoking. Some of these resolutions are broken faster than they were imagined up, so is it worth making a resolution at all?

Over the years I have made only a few resolutions. To start with, as a kid, I used to make up some unrealistic goals for the New Year. They would perhaps last a couple of weeks before I ended up breaking them and feeling really bad about it. There’s nothing worse than beating yourself up over failure at achieving goals you’ve set for yourself.

One resolution I kept making and breaking was to stop biting my nails. I was really bad for it as a kid and I used to make my fingers bleed from time to time. When I was 13, I decided that enough was enough! I had to break the habit. But it wasn’t because people kept nagging me this time, it was because I had been given a guitar and I wanted to learn how to play. I didn’t want to hurt my fingers more through the biting of my nails. This was more than just a resolution to kick a bad habit, but it was in the hope to achieve an even greater goal, to play a musical instrument. 18 years on and I never looked back.

A year later, inspired by my huge achievement, I decided to embark on another life changing resolution. I decided I wanted to become vegetarian. I had been cutting back on eating meat for a while, but New Year marked a cut off point where it was all or nothing. It was something I was passionate about and 17 years later, I’m still vegetarian.

Achievement and competition can be a way to keep inspired. Last year my resolution was to read more books! As a dyslexic, reading was never a strength of mine, but I always loved stories. I set myself a target that I felt was achievable of 15 books in 12 months. I had friends who had larger targets, but I wanted to keep it realistic for me. I think if I had set it to 50 I would have become overwhelmed and given up by April. Reading books included eBooks and having my iPad read to me as well as paperback and hardback books. I smashed my target and read 35 books! A huge achievement for me which has helped me to realise that I’m actually a bit of a bookworm after all!

This year, my New Year’s Resolution is to write more. I have picked up a couple of books to help me to structure a novel, something which I have been wanting to embark on for a couple of years. The aim is not to write a novel, but to write more, an achievable goal which will hopefully inspire me to go that little bit further like I have in previous resolutions.

If you have already broken your New Year’s Resolution, don’t be too disheartened. Next year, set yourself a realistic goal that helps to boost your confidence rather than something that’s a little too far out of reach.

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you will land among the stars.”

Hannah, Dyslexia and Me 

The dyslexic student

 

 

 

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6 thoughts on “New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Anon says:

    Congratulations on 35 books in 2015! Are you going to set that as your target for 2016? I listened to a really inspiring ‘Authors Live’ talk by Jackie Kay at http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/video/authors-live/jackie-kay. In it, among other things, she talks about reading and writing being interdependent for her.

    It would be great if you wrote a novel about a character with dyslexia and visual stress, drawing on your own experiences. It really helps me to read about dyslexic characters in fiction. But I’m yet to find any fiction for adults that portrays clearly what it can be like to live with dyslexia.

    Have you read anything by the contemporary Scottish author Anne Donovan? Her short story ‘Hieroglyphics’ is about a girl who has visual stress. I’d also recommend her first novel ‘Buddha Da’. There’s a 5-star review of it at http://capitadiscovery.co.uk/edinburgh/items/973684/reviews.

    The Scottish Book Trust has lots of resources for writers on its website. I especially recommend Phil Earle’s videos at http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/learning/learning-resources/resource/phil-earles-creative-writing-masterclass (scroll down – the videos are at the foot of the page).

    The OU offers 2 courses in creative writing. Each lasts a year. Details at http://www.open.ac.uk/courses/modules/a215#how-to-register. Someone I know did the 1st year course and said it was brilliant. I believe the Scottish Government pays the fees, irrespective of whether you’ve had any previous funding from them.

    I went to a creative writing class for a term, run by my local council adult education programme. It was excellent – it gave me a really good grounding in creative writing. The class was once a week for 2 and a half hours (with a break half way!). That made the volume of learning material manageable for me.

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