I’m not going to lie – bar the odd high point (like New York) 2013 has gone by in a haze of fatigue and glumness. I’ve lacked direction (primarily because it took all my energy just to do normal stuff like work). I want 2014 to be different.

I’m not setting myself huge, must achieve New Year’s resolutions (we all know they don’t work). I’m just setting down some guidelines to live by for the year. This, after all, is how you get things done.

Focus

Multitasking is a myth. I know that, yet somehow 2013 still became the year of working on three books and getting nowhere fast. 2014 will be the year of focus. I’m rewriting the first book – that is my one and only fiction writing job (until it’s finished).

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is something I leant about last year. Understanding what it is, and taking the time to practice it are two different things. This year, I need to spend more time practicing mindfulness techniques.

Be realistic

I have a tendency to set goals that I secretly know will be almost impossible for me to reach – even if everything goes to plan. Then I like to beat myself up about not meeting them. I know, productive! This year, I’m going to ease up on the bullying of myself and aim for what’s achievable rather than what’s desirable.

Have fun

I need to make myself do one fun thing a week. I’m good at doing things that I find comfortable, like watching a favourite DVD, but why not go to the cinema instead and watch something new? If you’re like me, and in a habit of sticking to doing what feels comfortable, or safe, say to hell with it. Go and do something different!

Walk

I work from home. I write at home. I’m an introvert. If I’m not careful, I’ll turn into a hermit.

Walking by the river first thing in the morning is one thing I used to do to clear my head, and get some fresh air. I stopped doing this when I first got sick, and I’m now in a habit of not doing it. I need to start again.

The trouble with having a chronic condition (which is largely invisible) is that it doesn’t go away in a week, and it can be easy to hide how you really feel. For someone like me, who wants to do all the things I used to do right now, it’s easy to rebel and try and do those things anyway.

The result is relapse, and you’re even further away from how you used to be. I’m not going to be that person this year. I can do what I can do now, not what I could do two years ago.

I think all of us can benefit from being a little kinder to ourselves in 2014. Don’t you?