I made 5 resolutions for 2012. I’d like to share them with you. Because as you know, if it’s on the internet, it must be true…
1. Less Computer
I recently realised that although I claim to be a “writer” I very rarely actually “write”, but instead spend most of my time “typing”. I think there’s a difference. There’s a lot of distractions on a computer. I check email too much, I’m on facebook too much and spend too many hours sat at a desk. I’d like to reserve my emails and facebook checks to twice a day, and do more freehand writing. Irnincally I’m typing now…
2. Meditate Every Day
I practice mindfulness meditation most days, but don’t do it as often as I should. It really does help reduce stress levels and makes me feel happier and more grounded. I can actually feel the difference in my mental and physical state if I have a few days without meditating. I’d like to be stricter with myself to fit in at least one session every day. It’s so much more important than an extra 30 minutes in bed. I also plan to give Transcendental Meditation a try and have signed up for a course at the end of the month.
3. Be More Active
As I mentioned I spend far too many hours at a desk. I started to feel the negative physical effects of this last year. Scientists recommend at least 20-30 minutes of high-tempo exercise a day. I try to do this through jogging and playing football occasionally. But if you are sat at a desk all day, this isn’t really enough. It’s far better to be active throughout the day. I think I’ll take up Yoga and maybe start another martial art again this year. But I also want to spend more time just on my feet, which links to spending less time on the computer. It all ties together in the end.
4. Read More Books
I love reading books. But I always forget this simple fact. It’s not until I get sucked into a really good novel that I remember it again. I think our generation might forget the pleasures of reading if we’re not careful. With wikipedia we think we have everything we need to know at our finger tips. Not true. Read more books. With pages. Not on a screen.
5. Set Realistic Goals
I have a lot of ambitions. As well as writing scripts and making films, I’d like to write novels, create sitcoms, a sketch show, perform stand up, and start a worldwide movement to help people achieve their own goals. But not all of this can happen at once. I have a habit of putting too much pressure on myself and worrying about all the things I’m not doing. This has the effect of making me not get pleasure out of what I am doing, and creating a lot of stress (see above). I need to get better at letting some things go and being more realistic with my expectations.
A lot of people are cynical about new year’s resolutions. Mainly because they usually break them. What’s the point, people ask. Why not make these changes the rest of the year, people say. And yes, in a ideal world, we would wake up each morning and change our outlooks on life and our targets. But, the fact is we don’t. It’s the same as those people who claim they don’t need to express their love for a loved one on Valentines Day. They may have a point. But how many of them actually express their love the rest of the year?
The fact is our brains are programmed to think in a habitual way. You’ve heard the phrase “old habits die hard”. And when you’re tired, hungover or stressed out, they die even harder.
So, the start of a new year is a good time to tell your brain that things are going to be different. And as far the argument that you never keep your resolutions, well who’s fault is that? We all have the capacity to change. These don’t have to be big revolutionary steps. Maybe you have project in the back of your mind that you’ve been meaning to work on? Or maybe you have an interest in learning a new skill or hobby? Or maybe, like me, you just want to reduce stress and find a healthier ways of living?
It feels good to make small changes, as it fills us with confidence that we can do much more than we are currently doing. Think about how different the world would be if eminent people had not decided to make changes. There’s a myth about successful people that they were born different. But really, all they did was refuse to accept the way things are and strove for more.
I often think about Tom Cruise. (Does this make me gay? ) He’s obviously a very successful actor, and it’s tempting to look at the perfect smile and think he had it easy. But Tom Cruise didn’t wake up a movie star. Yes, he was blessed with good looks and charisma, but he’s had to work very hard and overcome a lot of obstacles to get to where he is now. He suffered abuse as a child from his father, he was bullied at school, and he initially began training as a Catholic priest before making the change towards being an actor. And as his career has blossomed he has consistently pushed himself to achieve new heights. How many other 50 year olds would throw themselves off the world’s tallest building for the sake of creative integrity? Yes he has his detractors, and he’s by no means a perfect role model. But I’d assert that it’s his willingness to constantly reevaluate his choices in life and push himself that has meant his film’s have grossed over 8 billion dollars worldwide.
This photo just sums it all up for me. It was taken by my friend’s Dad, David James, so I can assure you it’s completely real…
So go on, it’s not too late. Make some changes in 2012. Look yourself in the mirror and ask “What would Cruise do?” And tell people your ideas. Make them happen. The world’s gonna end anyway so we may as well have some fun! That’s kind of my motto for this year…