As 2017 draws to a close, traditionally this is the time when people reflect upon their achievements of the past year and set targets for the coming one. I, however, do not believe in New Year's Resolutions; I think if you genuinely want to make a change or start something new, you shouldn't have to wait for the turning of the year to push you to do so. And that is why I have already started making positive changes in my life over the past few weeks, rather than putting it off until 1st January.
When I look back at 2017, of course it will stand out for one thing: the birth of Baby Z. So from a personal perspective, it has been an extremely memorable year. But as far as being enterprising goes, it was quite possibly the least productive year of my life.
Since giving up my job in January, I struggled to adjust to the stay-at-home lifestyle, although I very much needed the rest during an energy-sapping pregnancy. I started writing these blog posts as a means to keep my brain and my writing ticking over, but that alone wasn't intellectually challenging enough for me. Then Baby Z came along mid-year, bringing with him a whirlwind of newborn excitement and exhaustion, and for at least four weeks postpartum I wondered if I would EVER feel like myself or feel in control of my life again.
But, what motherhood has done for me, it turns out, is ignite a newfound level of motivation. Where previously I was motivated to succeed only for myself, I now want to achieve things to make my husband and son proud, and to create more opportunities for us as a family. With my thyroid in check and my postnatal recovery well and truly complete, my energy levels and mental clarity are better than they have been for a very long time. I am raring to go, and ready to take on new challenges.
My first step towards being more productive was enrolling in a distance learning qualification from a British university a couple of months ago, which I can complete online in my own time over the course of a year. The course subject - Property Development & UK Property Law - is something that really engages my mind, and I'm hopeful will prove to be a great asset to us as a family in a future business venture we are preparing for.
Other steps I am taking towards maximising my potential and 'living my best life' (is this the buzz phrase of 2017?!) include:
- Eating healthier - I relied largely on Deliveroo during the early months of Baby Z's life, but am now making a concerted effort to be cleaner with my eating and to dedicate time to 'meal prep' at home. BUT I do love chocolate and iced coffee, and I don't think I should deny myself those treats... 'everything in moderation' as my Grandma always says!
- Improving my fitness - I've never been a gym bunny but always used to be quite active with walking and running; now that the weather is better and Baby Z enjoys being pushed along in his pram, I've at least started to move more. I fully intend to build up my stamina and start training properly in the coming weeks. The inspirational @diaryofafitmommyofficial on Instagram provides great tips on how to work out as a busy mother, whether it be combining exercise with completing household chores, or doing lunges and squats with your baby's stroller.
- Investing in my skin - I was inspired to do this when I read my friend Shanice's blog post about skincare and it really resonated with me. Our skin is the largest organ of our body - not to mention it is almost constantly on show to the outside world - yet so many of us, including myself, neglect it or don't put enough effort into treating it well. My newfound interest in paying more attention to my skincare regime has also opened the door to a very exciting new business opportunity - a company I officially partnered with this month - and I can't wait to get started on it and share more about it with you in the weeks and months ahead.
So, to those who say 'your life is over once you have children': I strongly disagree. Your life doesn't have to revolve solely around your kids, even though of course they are the centre of your universe. You can still take time and make effort to invest in yourself, to create opportunities, and to fulfill your potential personally and professionally. You may even find that - like me - you become even more motivated to be the best version of yourself after having children. Just imagine being your baby's biggest role model while they are growing up, and that should be enough to inspire positive change at any time of year.