I'm not big on New Year Resolutions: they seem to be about not doing the stuff I enjoy (eating, drinking, lying down...)
Also, the first of January is so arbitrary - just make a change to your life on any day you choose!
'Dry Jan' just makes a dark and depressing time of year even more so and a get-fit plan is so much easier to start - and maintain - when it's warmer and sunnier.
Business guru Warren Buffett said:
"The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say 'no' to almost everything."
I disagree with him, but then I'm probably not his kinda 'very successful' with big houses, luxury cars and designer labels.
Building my business, fulfilling work, helping my clients, creating work for others and quality time with loved ones - that's my success.
But, I put all this to saying 'yes' more.
It wasn't always that way.
Eleven years ago I ended my marriage after as many years together. I'd never lived alone so went out every night to avoid the silence in the home I'd shared with my ex and his teen daughter. Constant partying sounds fun, but the reality was unfulfilling, exhausting and expensive.
This was 2005, the year Danny Wallace's book, 'The Yes Man' came out. Danny's life is going nowhere, so he decides to say 'yes' to EVERY SINGLE THING* for a year to see what changes.
Living with an older man and his child had meant a decade of saying 'no' to the usual 20-something fun and a strict upbringing had meant my adventurous spirit had been quashed for too long.
I was itching to make up for lost time. So I decided (in May!) to have my year of 'yes'.
Unlike Danny, I told no-one (so they couldn't take advantage) and reserved my right to say 'no' if anything compromised my safety or wellbeing.
That summer I said 'yes' to five music festivals and countless gigs. Highlights were Glastonbury - #lifegoal - and The Big Chill - with a girl I'd just met at a gig who asked me!
There was the 'pilgrimage' to Canterbury with my friend Chris and his workmates (a mega-pub-crawl with tents).
Then, a university friend's wedding in NYC. At 35, I'd had never holidayed or been to a wedding solo before - it was scary but SO empowering!
Next, a flight to Ecuador to visit my brother.
And that winter a trip to Sweden where I finally learnt to ski.
I even learnt to poledance! A new girl at work invited me to the class she ran: I couldn't decline. Those girls became a weekly fixture in my life and we saw each other through marriages, births and even deaths over the years.
I also had to say 'yes' to a headhunter, which meant I got a new job with a 30% payrise. (I also made a great friend there; our sons have been like brothers since birth).
Saying 'yes' meant I dated a fair bit, but the guys who asked were much younger than me. Where were all the 30-somethings?! A workmate suggested online dating. That was daunting back then (isn't all weirdos?!) but...I said 'yes' and signed up.
For two years I went on some fun, hilarious, bizarre and even disastrous dates. I started with no expectations, seeing every 'failed' date at least as a quick, efficient way of learning what I didn't want.
When I finally worked out my deal-breakers, I raised my expectations...and only three more first dates later, met my future husband (thanks match.com!).
Andy stood out as he'd clearly read my profile - including about my favourite books.
His first message was genius, titled "Please Say 'Yes''' (how could I say no?)
Eight years on, Andy still calls me his 'Yes Girl'. In fact, soon after he proposed and I accepted, he laughed..."Well, that was a bit of a foregone conclusion!"
Since being a mum, I've said 'yes' to volunteering which made me some great new mum friends. Some of them eventually became my clients. Saying 'yes' also led me to my business course which has since opened more doors.
I have so much fun saying 'yes' that I apply this slightly gung-ho attitude every day. This often means an overly-ambitious schedule but life is never boring!
Look. Saying 'no' is OK (especially if you are already feeling overwhelmed). Nothing bad will happen; but not much else will happen either.
But saying 'yes' can be exhilarating. 'Yes' welcomes new people, opportunities and change; 'yes' takes you out of your comfort zone; 'yes' fuels a child-like curiosity, sense of adventure and fun; 'yes' makes you feel alive; 'yes' makes you feel the fear and f*cking do it anyway.
So stop the self-denial of New Year Resolutions and just say 'yes'...to whatever you are next asked.
Well...what do you say...?!
Sapna is a branding consultant, business-owner, partly-tamed party-girl, wife and mum to two karate-mad little boys. The full article was originally published on InnerVisions ID.
Image sources: 'Yes' and image of book, author's own.Suggest a correction