In this week's issue

Notes to self

Globetrotting writer Gaby Doman reflects on the everyday ups and downs of being a modern woman

  • By Gaby Doman
  • Published: 17:00 January 4, 2013
  • Tabloid on Saturday

Happy New Year. As predicted, the first week of 2013 has started with a serious case of The Guilts and an even worse case of morning hair. I slept 12 hours last night (that’s four extra hours that I could have spent learning Thai, juicing vegetables or becoming a ballerina), I still haven’t done any washing up this year and I have little desire to send the ten e-mails a day to potential clients I promised myself I would. Additionally, though I pat myself on the back for my gym habit, I just stumbled across a list of goals I set myself in May for December. I only achieved half of them, which is depressing. But then I guess being depressed and mildly hopeful that we can do better than the pitiful show we gave the year before is a natural way to feel during January. If my Facebook friends are anything to go by, we all spend this month grudgingly going to work, not going out (mainly because we have no money) and sitting in our pyjamas eating leftover Christmas chocolate and fantasising about what brilliant people we will be as soon as this box of Ferrero Rocher is finished.

My resolutions are vague, but are something along the lines of the Radiohead lyrics “fitter, happier, more productive, not drinking too much”. Nice and immeasurable so that I get to choose whether or not I was successful without having to back it up with evidence.

One thing I have nailed so far is eating well and hitting the gym. The fact that it’s still the first week of January is doing nothing to quell my smugness. I made a point of going home early (when I say early, I mean 2am) on New Year’s Eve so that I could get to the gym in the morning on January 1. My reasons were twofold: Firstly, I wanted to start my year as I meant to go on blah blah. Secondly, I wanted Hotty Instructor to see me being devoted to the fitness cause. He seems to think I am a party girl (I have NO idea where he gets that idea from “cough cough”) and I wanted to show him I can be a good girl because I’m guessing he won’t be interested in someone who stays out until 7am and wakes up at 3pm with black eye make-up all over her face, pillow and clothes. Unfortunately when he came in to work I was slumped in a chair rubbing my face and yawning, so I probably only achieved the first mission.

But eating well and going to the gym comes very easily to someone as competitive as me. I like to show off and I like to win, so that factor (rather than health) is what spurs on my willpower. At this time of year everyone likes to tell people what they ate or when they went to the gym, so I make sure I throw in plenty of key terms into my conversation so that I always win in the smug-off. Useful gym terms are “interval training” (basically doing two minutes of one activity before getting bored and moving on to another), “I had an abs day today” and “I smashed my PB”. As far as food terms go, make sure you mention “flax seeds”, “quinoa”, “pomegranate” and “rice bran oil” and it’ll make anything you eat sound healthy.

When it comes to working hard, I find it much harder to get the motivation. Nobody competes with me at work because I’m self-employed. I’m hoping my big plans for travel to Bali, New York and the UK in the first six months of this year are motivation enough to get me to work a little harder because if it’s not, then the chance of me getting to any of those places is very remote. Perhaps I should hire a horrible high-achiever to show me up, simply so I push myself on a bit? I think that’s what it might take.

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