In January, we all profess to become better humans.
We'll stop drinking. Stop eating sugar, and carbs. We'll do things that scare us every day. We'll dance like no one's watching (which we most certainly won't, due to lack of alcohol to fuel this process).
January the 1st rolls round while we carry extra soft flesh from the indulgences of Christmas. Turkey and stuffing sandwiches pad our thighs and fizzy wine has softened our angles.
We're sick of celebrating, ready to bed down and hibernate. We make lists, determined to swipe thick lines through each before February appears out of the darkness, bringing with it the slightest hopeful suggestion of spring time.
By February, we're a bit bored of staying in. Bored of vegetables. Bored of board games. It all goes out of the window and normal service resumes.
Take this past January, for instance. I became a vegetarian! It was great. For about three days, until I realised I really liked meat and that it was really hard to let go of 27 carnivorous years. After crying every day for 10 days, I faceplanted into a KFC Bargain Bucket and never looked back. OK -- so I'm not cut out for vegetarianism.
Along with various food and beverage related resolutions (stop adding salt to everything, avoid alcohol for 30 days, eat more vegetables), I was also determined to become a better person in other ways.
Well. I did both of those, and now I find myself in August. The second half of the year is now flying past and I'm lacking focus -- the list of January now but a distant memory -- so I felt I needed to regroup with myself and give myself a new list for the next 5 months. Why should all the hard work only be undertaken in the first half of the year?
So here are my Mid-Year Resolutions! Mid-Year Resolutions are totally the new New Year Resolutions.
Spend more time with family
I very happily got a new job back in April, in my home town. This is great, but it has meant that I've seen a lot less of my parents. They both live close to where I used to work, so I would meet them for lunch at least once a week. We'd wander around the shops, grab a sarnie and gossip. It was great -- and I'm definitely missing that now.
I catch films every couple of weeks with my Dad and I chat to my Mum on the phone really regularly, but I definitely need to make more time. It might be because it's summer and there's so much going on, but I feel like I've got to make more of a concerted effort to have some proper time with them both. They are my best friends, after all.
Rescue a cat
Yeah...so as you may know, sadly our little Moggins we rescued in January had to be put to sleep back in May. Although after it happened I was adamant that I couldn't rescue another elderly cat in case the same thing happened again, after time to reflect I know that we did a great thing by giving her a home for her last months. She didn't die alone at the cat shelter.
After we get home from our big holiday in September, we'll adopt again. And I can't WAIT.
It's all very well and good telling myself I'm going to read a ton of books back in January when there's nothing to do except stay indoors, watching the rain and waiting for summer. Putting that in practice when the sun finally breaks through, the beach is a five minute bike ride away and pubs don't shut 'til midnight is another matter.
This year I have got three quarters of the way through ONE book. ONE. Granted, it's a big book (Donna Tartt's "The Goldfinch" -- read it!), and I am absolutely loving it, but come ON. There are so many brilliant books out there that I want to read, but I spend so much of my time idly reading crap about people I don't care about instead.
I'm going to book in proper reading time. When I'm at home, the telly is being turned off. Phone is being ignored. I'm going to work through my list.
I've not set aside enough time in the past few months for writing -- something I absolutely love doing. Granted, I write a lot more in my day job now, so I get to indulge myself daily. But I need to keep writing as a hobby, too. Maybe I'll finally have an idea for a book. Maybe I'll write something I'm really proud of. I'm going to try.
Be mindful of what I'm putting in my body
After an unbroken few months of being in remission from my Crohn's, I'm able now to tolerate a lot of the things I was unable to for a good 18 months. I can drink alcohol again without fear of being in pain. I can eat fruits and vegetables in their whole forms rather than only being able to juice them. I can go for dinner and pretty much choose whatever I like!
This is all brilliant news. I need to build on this by now being mindful of what I'm nourishing myself with. I've definitely made steps to do this this summer by cutting out a lot of the junk that used to make up my diet when I couldn't eat most things apart from pasta, chicken and white bread. I haven't eaten Supernoodles for a long time, and I can't remember the last time I had a KFC. BIG NEWS.
I need to renourish myself with the things my body has been starved of.
Get a proper hobby
So, I know I said "write more" as a hobby, but I feel like I really need to get into something new. As I hate sport and any form of physical activity, I know there's no point in saying "take up exercise," so I need to think of something else.
Life drawing classes? Crocheting? Learning a language? I need to figure this one out.
Maintain a great tan at all times
Joking. Sort of.
Hopefully this list of things to focus on in the the latter part of 2014 are going to help me develop and stay on track and be a decent human being. Plus, new cat.
So, let's hear yours. What are you going to focus on? Or are you quite good at sticking to your January resolutions (if you make them)? And what should my hobby be? STICK IT TO ME.
Natalie's on Twitter and Instagram at @Natalie_KateM