I’m not very good at New Years Resolutions.

You can probably tell that from the fact that I haven’t thought of any yet, and we’re almost one whole disciple through this last supper of a year. I don’t know where my inability comes from, but it’s always been there. I like to tell myself it’s that I’m always trying to be a better me all year round, but I should bet it’s probably just because I’m not that imaginative.

Last year, I came up with a solution. Rather than metaphysical objectives with no clearly defined parameters- be happier, make a difference, walk to places more- I would make my resolutions things that could be very easily ticked off. Start University, complete my Gold Duke of Edinburgh, get a driving licence, sit my A-Levels. It worked! I had a whole page in my journal dedicated to these things, and as the year went on I could tick them off and put the date when it was completed. It was empowering, it was resolving, it was awesome!

And it can’t very effectively be replicated.

The issue I face is that being 18 is huge. All the ‘important’ stuff happens (obviously not all the important stuff; my 18th year featured no new Doctor Who) and when you come out of it having done all that, you find yourself without any easily definable goals. Keep going to university? Collect certificate for DofE? Lament the cost of car insurance? Do less groundshaking uni exams? It’s not as empowering, resolving or awesome. In fact, it feels a little bit like a midlife crisis.

So for that reason I’m going to force myself to write five new goals/resolutions in the space of this blog post. That’s right- I’ve reached the point where I’ll only do something if it’s work or for a blog post. The joy!

Publish Things

Last year, I had the uncanny experience of having a poem published in the college poetry pamphlet (you may remember I wrote about it). It was one of the highlights of last year, getting to share my writing with other people and (from a more egotistical perspective) getting to wallow in their praise. I definitely want to do more of that this year, so I’m going to.

In fact, I’ve already started.

In my first week back at Merton, I printed off 10 copies of a short story I’d written over Christmas and left them in our letter room for people to read. In the time since, I’ve had multiple requests for digital copies because all the paper editions were gone before everyone interested got a chance to grab one. Such a reaction is overwhelming and wonderful, and testament to how lovely the community here is. It’s also making me crave more attention, haha.

As a result, my first resolution will be to publish a minimum of five things in 2020. These might be more short stories in the pidge room, more poems in the pamphlet, or perhaps something even more ambitious (Oxford has some groovy student magazines, after all). By the end of the year, though, I want at least five of my pieces of writing out there in the world. Here goes!

Listen More

The other night at the first 2020 Feminism and Fizz meeting of the UNWomen society I made a point about the need to listen to each other more, in order to boost each other’s voices. (Now I think about it, the irony of giving a monologue about needing to listen to other people is quite amusing.)

I stand by this statement, and so am resolving to listen more in 2020. I want to hear the voices of people I wouldn’t usually come across- whether that’s through a more diverse range of poetry, through podcasts on topics I normally don’t engage with, or (hopefully!) through conversations with people I haven’t previous met.

I’ve no idea how I’m going to quantify the achievement of this, but it’ll be fun trying!

Finish My Novel

Like Bilbo Baggins dreaming of Rivendell, for the last few years I’ve looked to the summer for an opportunity to work on my current big writing project. Finding the time to get through it during the term is near impossible (especially with last year’s mad mix of A Levels and beginning university). The summer was a good respite to work on writing, and I got almost to the halfway line.

This year I want to bring it to fruition and finish it. Then I can start moving towards more exciting things- sensibly editing, realistically writing something else!

Cook More

If there’s one thing that seems to define Merton, it’s the food. From the incredible cooking in hall (seriously, it’s phenomenal) to the sheer ambition I come across entering the student kitchens, I’m blown away by the creativity and quality of the food I’ve experienced since getting here. It’s really inspired me to experiment more, and so this year I intend to not just cook more, but cook more exciting things!

And on that theme, the biggest and most important resolution:

Go Vegetarian For At Least A Month

The planet’s burning, guys.

I spend a lot of my time worrying about this. As a student, I don’t drive anywhere, and as a northerner I’m always happy to choose a jumper over central heating. Yet I still wish I could do more to fight against our impending doom. (The brilliant example set by countless kids across the world with the climate strikes is certainly one option, but in a cruel twist of irony, Fridays are the only day each week where I don’t have any contact hours- my striking would affect no one!)

One thing I can do is reduce my meat intake. I read an article in the Guardian that reported 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions come from its livestock/meat trade, and that 83% of global farmland is taken up by livestock. Clearly meat is having an incredibly negative environmental impact, so in my everyday life I’m going to try to make a change.

My fifth resolution is to go vegetarian for at least one month, and if not staying strictly vegetarian following that, to make my best effort to reduce my meat intake drastically throughout the rest of the year.

This is going to be a fun one.

My goals page in my journal- lovingly and carefully crafted.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s