RESOLUTIONS

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Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.

– Maria Robinson

Resolutions.

We all make them.

The New Year brings with it an opportunity for change, the promise of a new beginning. It’s a chance to start over, to create something new, to live with excitement, adventure and purpose. It’s a time to chase your dreams, to explore your universe, to discover yourself.

Many resolutions fail before January is even through. Suddenly, the hope and excitement for the New Year turns into guilt and self-punishment. You failed. And now you’ll have to wait an entire year to try again.

But change doesn’t have to happen only once a year. Every day provides an opportunity for a new start. Every day you wake up and have the opportunity to live the life you want. It doesn’t have to start on January 1st. Life begins every single day of the year.

Failure happens when we view resolutions as rules. When we break a resolution we break a promise we have made to ourselves, and the result is guilt and frustration.

I prefer to see resolutions as goals. They are made to remind us of the life we want to live, and their purpose is to help us live it. Every day we make progress towards these goals, towards our dreams. And failure doesn’t mean that we give up on resolutions. We get up the next day and keep working towards them.

A mindset like this also means that resolutions can change. Goals should be flexible and attainable. And flexible goals are much easier to adhere to and achieve.

You don’t need an excuse to set goals and resolutions. The New Year creates a time when we can look back on how far we have come, and see how far we still have to go. It’s a time for re-evaluation and rejuvenation. But it’s not the only time.

Imagine how much happier we would be if we made resolutions every day. 

CHRISTMAS: WHY EUROPE DOES IT BETTER

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I’ll be honest: Christmas has never been my favourite holiday. I don’t like crowds; I don’t like carols; I don’t like tacky lawn decorations. Here in the Southern Hemisphere it feels like we are trying too hard. The White Christmases we grow up watching on childhood favourites like Home Alone in no way reflect the scorching summer barbeques that epitomise the Australian Christmas. And how does Santa not die of heatstroke delivering presents to every Australian child in 40-degree heat? It’s just all wrong.

After spending the holiday season in Europe last year, I realised that it’s not Christmas that I dislike; it’s just the Australian Christmas. The European festive season transformed me from The Grinch into Cindy Lou Who. And so, in the holiday spirit, I present my top 10 reasons why Europe does Christmas better. And why you should venture over there and experience the festive season the way it should be experienced.

Snow

Need I say more? You haven’t had a Christmas until you’ve had a White Christmas. It gives you an excuse to bundle up in layers and wear scarves and gloves and beanies and…

Christmas sweaters

Ah, the Ugly Christmas Sweater. Who can forget Colin Firth’s hideous number in Bridget Jones’ Diary? And it doesn’t stop at the sweaters. Europe is full of ugly Christmas scarves, beanies, socks, gloves… And the tackier the better.

Lights

I’m not talking about competitive house-decoration. Every city in Europe gets into the festive spirit by adorning its streets with Christmas lights. It’s like walking through a magical Christmas wonderland.

Trees

Massive trees. In every town square. And not the trees that look like they belong in MoMA. Actual trees!

Carols

As previously stated, I hate Christmas carols. But for those of you who are more tolerant of groups of schoolchildren singing songs of snow and bells and reindeer with red noses, Europe is for you!

Christmas markets

These are possibly the best part of a European Christmas. There’s nothing like bundling up and walking through the Christmas markets at night, eating everything on offer and buying tacky ornaments.

Ice-skating

Outdoor ice-skating. At night.

Food

So much food. Enough to render you in a coma until New Years.

Tradition

Every country has its own Christmas traditions. Although many places are becoming increasingly Westernized, it was nice to learn that some still hold on to local traditions and that not everywhere has been corrupted by corporate materialism and greed.

Christmas spirit

Everything on this list contributes to something that I’d never experienced in Australia: Christmas spirit. Go out and find it.