Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change

"Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change." Jim Rohn

Well we made it – here we are 2017! And what a year 2016 was for us all full of personal, cultural, professional and political heartbreak. The world seemed to change last year and the overarching theme was one of loss. Losing our sense of what we should value, losing who we are as individuals and what we are collectively striving for. That being said, however frightening change can be it also allows us to grow, move forward and take action.

I do believe though, that 2016 was the making of me. I shed all labels that were weighing me down, not allowing me to find a path to becoming happy. I met my business partner and started a business in the midst of a really difficult time. The best of partnerships, as it’s based on respect, valuing each other’s well-being and pushing ourselves to create something we’re both proud of. I think the universe threw us together as somehow it knew we would make a beautiful union. Nat, let’s get married in 2017? #jokes

Even through the hardest of times I was lucky to be surrounded by fantastic, talented, inspiring and wonderful friends and colleagues. This has made a massive impact on my own personal happiness and my strength and resilience when times have gotten tough. 2016 taught me who my greatest supporters are. Thank you, you know who you are.

After reading my close friend Stephen’s resolutions for the New Year on Facebook it got me to thinking. What are my goals and aims for 2017? What am I hoping to achieve? Well here goes…

Be Kind to myself

Something I’ve only recently learnt how to do. We all have s**t to deal with and the older we get, the more this seems to happen. We lose our way, we lose loved ones, we can’t seem to find the professional fulfilment we are seeking for. The pressure to overcome all of these things means that sometimes we beat ourselves up looking for the positives. ENOUGH. We’re all allowed a down day, we’re going to make mistakes, we’re going to f**k up. I want to be kind to myself, know that I’m trying really hard to be a better person and that’s what counts.

Volunteer

I’ve personally always found a massive amount of value in helping others. I did some amazing volunteer work a few years back with the FCancer Project and feeling as though I was making a difference allowed me to feel good about myself, and how I was spending my spare time. My grandmother, a crazy queen like myself (thanks gran for those genes) has suffered from dementia for the past few years, and I’ve seen the affect this horrendous illness has on my mother, aunt and others close to her. I’ve chosen this year to volunteer with Age UK to help an older person in my community. We’ve all felt lonely, if I can bring a smile to someone’s face and alleviate their loneliness for only a moment then I’m putting that little bit of extra good in the world.

Cut the crap… & by crap I mainly mean the Daily Mail

I’ve deleted the Daily Mail app (shock, HORROR!) I don’t want to look and scrutinise other women’s bodies and not feel good about myself. I don’t want to read about some pointless Kardashian affair that has no relevance to my life. I don’t want to fill my brain with vacuous things that don’t matter. I don’t want to be a part of celebrity culture that shames and puts people down based on their gender, religion, race or sexuality. By reading it, I’m taking part in it. No more.

Learn to Drive

This one is going to be the hardest challenge, especially since I have failed my test seven times previously which also involved accidentally running over and killing an innocent squirrel in the process. The old Jess would give up if she failed, walk away from something and make excuses to not push on. I want to prove to myself that I can overcome my fear of being behind the wheel, and that if I put my mind to it I WILL be driving in a convertible down the Californian West Coast alongside by pal Amy singing Drunk in Love by Beyonce. Just an FYI, I won’t be drunk in love whilst driving…

Keeping it real

One of the greatest things i've learnt about myself is at times I listen to others more than I listen to myself. It's brilliant to take on board other people's point of views, to listen and learn but not at the detriment of yourself. My own opinion counts, my feelings matter and I want to be listened too as well as listening to others. I have the self worth now to know I can make decsions and shouldn't fear the judgement of others. It's my life, and I control my journey and where i'm going.

After what seems like a chaotic and at times heart-breaking year, I also hope that 2016 showed us all that we are stronger together, that pulling through the hardest of times allows you to find out more about yourself, how to help others more and to keep striving for better. So thank you 2016, I found myself last year. Here’s to the journey, peace out!