January is finally over. It seems to have flown by and dragged on in equal measure. It seems not two minutes ago that I was sitting in this very spot sharing my plans for the 'new me' and yet somehow, New Years Eve and all the joy and excitement that came with it seems like a lifetime ago. As often happens with New Year's Resolutions, or 'efforts' as they were in my case, a few days in and my life gets in the way and all good intentions fall to the wayside. It's almost impossible to keep it ALL up when it's dark and cold and miserable and you're hungry.
So I confess, I haven't been moisturising every day as I promised I would. In fact, I don't think I've moisturised at all. It's simply too cold and boring to stand butt-naked in the middle of my bedroom after a shower, lathering myself up in cream only to stand there, slippery as a slug waiting for it all to dry. My skin is still dry and that's one promise broken, but if I'm honest, I saw that one coming.
Keeping my shit in order? Replying to text messages, making my bed every morning and keeping my desk tidy? Nah. Not much has changed in this department either. As I sit at my desk now I am surrounded by clutter. So much clutter that I'm not really sure what to do about it. My bed, next door, is not made with a gorgeous array of pillows ready to be snapped and shared on Insta with #sweetdreams. And I'm still crap with my phone.
But, it's not all bad. In fact, despite everything listed above, it's actually going fairly fucking well.
I may not be moisturising my body on the daily, but my skincare regime is cracking. I'm washing my face basically every night, moisturising the shit out of it and have even started toning. Apart from one incident with the nail varnish on my index finger last weekend, I've maintained perfect nails EVERY DAY (oh isn't Shellac just marvellous?). I've been in the gym every day for the last week and have been eating so healthily you'd think I'd morphed into a health food blogger. More than that though, I'm almost enjoying it; this is the longest I have ever managed to do anything like this before and for the first time EVER I'm seeing results. (You can keep up with my fitness journey - still 7 weeks left to go! - in the fitness section of the blog!). I don't know if that has anything to do with new year, new me but it's fairly fabulous, if I do say so myself.
And work? Well work is going really well.
By work I of course mean the blog. My book Can I Speak To Someone In Charge? became available to pre-order a couple of weeks ago and that was exactly the refresher that I needed. It's very hard when you are close to something to become complacent, to resort to auto-pilot, to question every single tiny decision that you have ever made and find yourself asking, at least three times a day: what's the flipping point?
Before Christmas this is exactly where I was, I was working like a demon to get the book finished and run the blog and I was often confused and disheartened with my lack of progress. Why do we have such a small following on social media? Does anyone watch these YouTube videos or am I, as I am afraid of, but long since suspected, simply talking to myself? Is this going to get me anywhere, make me money or am I chasing my tail with this?
I still ask a lot of these questions, of course I do, I'm one of the most anxious people that I know doing something totally mad with my life. But since coming back to work in January, I feel like I'm looking at everything in a new light. With heightened vigour, with rose-tinted glasses on. I'm more passionate and fiery and I know what I want. Fucked if I know how I'm going to get it, but at least I feel like I have a goal, a destination, something to work towards. Some days I feel like I'm back in December again. Yesterday was one of those days. But then today? Well today I got up early (as was another of my good intentions), tootled off to the gym, like the smug bastard that I am and thought to myself: yes girl, you got this.
So what have I really learned after one month as the new and improved Em Clarkson?
Not a lot and absolutely loads. Most importantly though?
If you want something, you can't just sit and wait for it to fall in your lap. When I was tired and overwhelmed and lacking direction at the end of 2016, I think I spent a lot of time waiting for the world to give me what I thought I deserved. My friends, my family, they all told me that I deserved it, I'd worked so hard that surely, the world owed me a break now and I believed them. But as the days wore on and nothing changed, it began to dawn on me: good things don't come to those who wait. No, good things come to those who get out there and grab them. By the balls.
Of the last 31 days, I have spent maybe 10 of them waiting. But the other three weeks? Those 21 days? I have used those to smash the pants off of life. To go out and fight for what I want. At the risk of sounding like a bumper sticker salesman, I've realised that the only person who is going to do anything for me, who is going to move me from where I am, pull me out of a slump, or make my dreams come true? Well that's me.
It always has been. And sometimes, sometimes, I can't do it, and that's normal. But January 1st (the 3rd when I really got going on all of this) was, for me, the kick up the arse that I needed and one month in I can say that I am truly proud of myself.
For anyone reading this who feels like they have failed at their New Year's Resolutions I would like to say this: there is no law that says you can only make changes on January 1st. You can do it whenever you want. It's February 1st today. Another fresh start, use that. Or wait for Monday morning? The start of a new week. Or even when you wake up tomorrow, at the start of a new day, take that as your opportunity.
That's the beauty of fresh starts, they're yours for the picking.