Oh Twenty-Sixteen. You certainly were a roller-coaster of a year, weren’t you? Undoubtedly the last twelve months will go down as some of the worst in recent memory, and not only for the worryingly long list of celebrities that left us. (Anyone else think there’s a rocking party going on in the heavens right now?) With Brexit and President-Elect Trump making waves across the globe, the repercussions of choices we’ve made will be felt for years to come; the world is somewhat of a scary place, with terror attacks becoming all the more frequent, while every day Twitter is awash with the breaking news of a new tragedy that will undoubtedly bring us to tears. It’s easy to understand why practically everyone was counting down the days until it could all be over, to draw a metaphorical line in the sand and move on to bigger and better things, but is 2016 really deserving of the reputation history will inevitably give it? There are 365 days to reflect back on and I can guarantee that those that have positive memories far outweigh those crappy days we’d rather forget; giving the previous year such a hard time doesn’t do anyone any favours – it just puts 2017 on a pedestal and sets us all up to fail before we’ve even begun.
A whole industry has evolved off the back of the ‘New Year, New You’ concept, but this dangerous approach to life is what only makes us feel like a failure in the months to come. As far as the universe is concerned, what’s the difference between one day and the next? How can we be transported from a ‘horrific year’ on 31st December to one filled with promise a matter of moments later on 1st January? I wholeheartedly embrace the possibility a fresh start presents (especially after a few weeks of overindulgence and laziness,) but we can make our own fresh starts at any point during the year; you don’t need a fireworks display and a champagne reception to enable it. I’m seriously excited for what the next twelve months have in store and I’ve no doubt it will be a year I remember for the rest of my life, but I’m also not ready to park 2016 as one of the worst years in history never to be spoken of again.
Looking back at the last twelve months, amazing things happened for many of my loved ones. There were engagements, weddings, pregnancy announcements, babies, houses being bought, new jobs, incredible holidays, new experiences and #girlbosses doing it for themselves. Personally speaking it was the most successful year for me yet, working on some incredible campaigns, traveling the globe, interviewing a superstar, growing my Thirty Plus network and making connections with bloggers I’m lucky enough to now consider friends. Retrospectively speaking, 2016 was actually a pretty amazing year and I’d rather we all stopped giving it such a hard time; the more we try to bury it and forget everything it held, the more we have an inflated level of expectation for the year ahead and will find ourselves in a vicious circle of negativity where nothing will ever meet our demands.
Right now my feeds are full of resolutions, promises and commitments; everyone has a new diary or a notebook where they’re writing down their wishes and ideas (myself included,) but it’s important to remember the only person that can make a change is you. The dawn of a new year brings with it positivity and possibility, but that can easily be replaced with lethargy when our dreams don’t come true instantaneously. In my opinion it’s important to take all of the messages we’re going to be fed over the next couple of weeks with a massive pinch of salt – because after all, 92% of resolutions fail (and most of them within the first month.) What the start of 2017 can bring, however, is an opportunity to kick-start those positive thoughts and make commitments that can be kept throughout the next twelve months. Making yourself a year long plan and realistic smaller goals is far more productive than believing you’re going to change the world, buy a house or lose two stone in the next six weeks.
It’s also vitally important to remember the good moments that 2016 brought you. Be thankful for the memories you’ll hold dear, the experiences you’ll remember and the connections that will enrich your life for years to come. It wasn’t all bad – and 2017 won’t be the answer to all your problems. But the coming days do provide you with an opportunity to take stock, make a plan and do it all over again… This time bigger, better and more awesome than ever before.
How was 2016 for you? What are your plans for 2017 and beyond? Do you think it’s dangerous to write-off a whole year and pin your hopes on the next?