With the new year just around the corner, I’m taking the opportunity, like so many others on my feed, to reflect on the wonderful year that has been 2016. The highlights of the past year have undoubtedly outshone the heartbreaks. Upon reflection of the last 366 days, there have been real ups and downs in almost every aspect of life. I’m still unsure whether each passing year is growing more sensationalistic or I’m simply growing more cynical.

2016 has been a year of change. The memories I’ve shared with friendships (both new and old) have shaped the year. Some of my 2016 New Year’s Resolutions have been fulfilled, others less so, (needless to say eating healthier is on the list again for 2017!) One of the commitments I’m proud to have followed through with, is leaving that which does not bring me happiness in the past. I’ve discovered what I truly enjoy doing and found comfort in my own talents, and most of all – I’ve achieved self-acceptance.

Having struggled with my body image in the past, I’m so thankful to have reached the point where my body brings me happiness. This has inspired the first of my 2017 New Year’s Resolutions: to eat a healthy, balanced diet and improve my fitness. This includes adopting a vegan diet from the beginning of January, and hopefully continuing this on throughout the year. I want to take care of my body a little more this year.

Having previously spent too much of my university life pandering to the wants of ‘friends’, the decision to leave all the negative people in the past and move on was nothing but positive for me. Closing the doors on certain friendships has not been regretted for a single second. Making a conscious effort to really connect with all the people I consider important to me, I’ve formed a strong circle of friends that I’d do anything for. However, a key component of any friendship is respect, and slowly I’ve come to realise that some friendships are lacking a mutual respect and in 2017 I’m committing to a second New Year’s Resolution: to find mutual love and respect in all my relationships, and in those where this is unachievable, to walk away promptly. There is nothing more damaging than a toxic relationship where there should be love and affection.

My final New Year’s Resolution also piggy-backs off a successful resolution from the previous year: to work hard and be organised with my studies, work and personal life. I’m proud of how much I’ve achieved in the past year, working two jobs in my most challenging academic year whilst volunteering and growing up a hell of a lot, however personally I feel there is room for improvement and so in 2017 I hope to maintain my work ethic for longer than the first few weeks of term!

Remaining quietly hopeful for the year ahead, I have a feeling it’s going to be a memorable one.