New Year, New Start – No, Really..!


There’s something about counting down the seconds until midnight on New Year’s Eve that fills an otherwise rational person with dreamy notions of new beginnings & clean slates, daily workouts & chia seed smoothies. Usually I avoid making any resolutions at all at New Year’s – I mean, what’s the point, generally speaking? It’s a bit like my philosophy on Valentine’s Day: surely one should do nice things for their significant other year-round, rather than force an attempt at romanticism on one particular designated day? Just as one should set goals, make plans & stick to them at all times of the year, not just the very first day.

However, in spite of myself, I find myself completely swept up by romantic notions of new beginnings this year. This is for a number of reasons. 2013 was particularly tough, & I’m glad to see the back of it. I’ve just moved to a spacious house in beautiful valley near the sea in Co. Sligo, a part of the country I’ve never before lived in, with my boyfriend. I’m planning to launch Needle & Flax to the masses in the next two months, which will be my first attempt at running a business. I’ve also achieved a decent level of physical fitness for the first time since I was 13, and actually feel motivated to keep getting fitter. And so, as I counted down to the first virgin moments of 2014 in a noisy Sligo pub with friends, I found myself thinking about the year ahead. 2014: a year when so much will change, and for the better.

On New Year’s Day, like so many others, I sat down and wrote out some plans-of-action for the coming year. Or, as they’re more generally knows, Resolutions. Here’s the main gist of them:

  1. Launch Needle & Flax
  2. Train up to running 10k (currently capable of a very slow 5k)
  3. Make a garment each month – sewn, knitted, crocheted, or all of the above (!)
  4. Learn how to make sourdough bread
  5. Learn conversational German

The last dress I made – 12 more by 2015 would be great!

The thing is, I actually feel incredibly motivated to do each & every thing on this list. (It probably helped that I read this great piece on procrastination last night, and this one about using time wisely the week before.) From what I can tell, New Year’s resolutions tend to involve trying to “fix” things you don’t like about yourself – hence the diets, the gym memberships, and, ultimately, the failure. (There’s nothing particularly motivating about convincing yourself you need to do something because you aren’t a good enough human being yet.) This is the first year I’ve gone for a more constructive approach – maybe that’s why I feel less cynical about resolutions this year. This is what I mean by constructive:

  1. Launching N&F will be the culmination of a long period of preparation and research. I’ll be taking control of my work life and finances, and really trying to make something I care about happen.
  2. Aiming to run 10k is something I couldn’t dream of attempting if I hadn’t worked so hard to get up to 5k from zero fitness last year, so it’s a positive recognition of what I’ve achieved so far. The next step, as it were.
  3. I’m excited to get sewing again, but this goal is primarily due to having 7 weddings to attend this year, and wanting to see if I can make something for all of them!
  4. I love good bread, & I enjoy cooking & baking. Proper bread is an interesting challenge I’ve yet to attempt.
  5. I haven’t learned a language since I left school, and a good friend is moving to Berlin this year, so it seems like a nice project to try. A good way to get my brain moving again after a sluggish year.

Of course, there are a few other personal goals / intentions for the year that I didn’t write down as capital-r-Resolutions. I’ll be releasing a new album with my band The Ambience Affair this year, which will be a major thing for me, & a huge personal goal achieved. 2014 will also hopefully involve things like drinking plenty of good beer and getting out to explore my new, wild neighbourhood, though I should probably avoid mixing the two..! The List is just the few things I definitely want to get done this year, prioritised, so that 2014 doesn’t slip by like 2013 has largely done.

A year is a very, very long time, filled with so many possibilities, but it does have a tendency to zip past you if you’re not paying attention. Maybe making resolutions is a good way to go, after all.

A view of the new 'hood

A wintry day in our new valley neighbourhood – I love this place!