Every year I try and set a new years resolution. Every year I fail to keep to it. Some years the resolutions are big, brave and ambitious. Sometimes they are beyond stupid.
Six years ago my new years resolution was to pass my first year at uni without going to a single lecture. I came so very close - I did not attend a lecture but it turns out there is a correlation between attending lectures and passing years. Needless to say I failed uni.
Five years ago I said I would try a new meal every week - I am a horribly fussy eater - five years later I am still living on a diet of milk and cookies (seriously).
4 years ago, my new years resolution was to find a blonde girlfriend. Yep, seriously, that was my new years resolution! I had never had a blonde girlfriend and so for the months of January, February and March I pursued anything blonde with a kind of gusto that would of made my dad proud. Alas, blondes it seems don't like me - so four years later I remain single and without a blonde girl in my life.
3 years ago the resolution was to write a TV script. Easy enough. Except it wasn't easy. I had just broken up with girlfriend, I was pretty down and I found writing hard. I just wanted to go out and get lashed. But for the first time in my life I saw a resolution through, I had written a TV script. Once finished I sent it off places but nothing really materialised. I wasn't to know at the time but seeing that resolution through would have a tremendous impact on my life 2 years later.
2 years ago I read a book (I had read before!) - the book was 'Yes Man' by Danny Wallace. The book is simple in concept - say yes more. Danny took it to a new level, whereby he said yes to everything. If someone asked if he wanted to go out he would say 'yes' no matter how he felt. If someone asked him to go on holiday he would say 'yes' despite having no money. By constantly saying 'Yes' Danny turned his life around and ended up meeting his future wife, the future mother of his child. Before I read that book my default answer to opportunities was 'no'. I read the book in December. My new years resolution was decided. I was to say 'Yes' more. This was the second resolution I had stuck to. It changed my life. That is a big statement but I firmly believe it did. I now have more friends, better friends, I live in London, I've travelled across the United States in an RV, I have travelled the west coast, I have travelled New Zealand, Europe and Australia, I have got promotions at work. I am incredibly happy and the reason for that, I think, is because I now say 'yes'. Try it. It is surprisingly addictive.
1 year ago my new years resolution was to film my own sitcom. I'd written the script, now I wanted to see it on screen. By saying 'Yes' to opportunities I found myself, 13 months ago, at a football reunion with people I hadn't seen for 10 years. I promise to all those reading this blog post that before my new years resolution 2 years ago I would not have attended this reunion. But by making 'yes' my default I found myself at this reunion speaking to a guy called Luke Butler. Luke Butler had quit his job and had created a film production company with his friend Martin Chapman, also at the reunion. I got talking to him and told him I had written a TV script. Over the next year my sitcom - Rules of Life - was made by Luke's production company. It finished filming last month. Through that process Luke and Martin have become life long friends. I have also met some other incredible people during the filming process. All of this wouldn't have been possible without my previous two new years resolutions.
So, I have been thinking, for the last few months, what would my new years resolution be for 2012? Find an attractive blonde? Eat more food? Nope. My new years resolution for 2012 is by far the most important resolution I have ever set myself and unlike years gone by I cannot fail, nor will I.
My new years resolution for 2012 is to raise £100,000 for Help Harry Help Others.
As you guys know I am attempting, with other friends, to run the entire London Underground for Harry Moseley's charity. Harry is incredibly special to me. Someone asked me 'what's the deal with me doing this running thing given I've never met Harry?'. It's a fair question. My answer is pretty simple. I am a heart on your sleeve type of person - I cry at rubbish films, I like awful cheesy music and I get moved by things. But it is incredibly rare for me to get genuinely upset about real things, about real life. There have been four times in my life where my tears were real and where I could not stop myself. My granddad dying, my Nan dying, my friend dying - made up 3 of these moments. The 4th was when I saw a picture of Harry Moseley just after an operation he had had to remove part of a tumour that had grown in his brain. I vividly remember where I was. I was sitting on a bench, at a park, when I logged in to Twitter and saw Harry's mum had uploaded a picture. Harry's hair was missing, he looked in pain, he looked tired - he looked like he had cancer. He was only 11..
I had been following Harry's story for a year and was utterly overwhelmed by how someone so young, who was so ill, could be so utterly selfless. In quite a cynical world it is rare for someone to be selfless. Someone who doesn't do something for their own good but instead someone who just wants to help others. This was amazing to me but what made it more amazing was that Harry was suffering from terminal brain cancer at the time. Someone so ill was still so kind. I knew Harry had had his operation that night and it is rare for me to pray but that night I did. I prayed he wouldn't be in pain. And then I saw the picture.
I couldn't understand, and I still don't and I never will, why what happened happened to Harry. All I can do is try and learn from him. He started an incredible campaign that has raised £500,000 for Brain Cancer Research. To me it is simple - the more awareness, the more money that is raised, the fewer children have to suffer like Harry did. There should never be a picture uploaded like that picture I saw that day - I want to help, albeit in a small way, to help ensure that type of picture is never seen again. Sydney Smith once remarked 'It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little - do what you can'.
£100,000 isn't just a finger in the air target. I have researched how I can get the money, I have researched what the money can be used for. I came to the conclusion that £100,000 could make a real difference. I have some big ideas as to how I can get there. New years resolutions are great as they help focus the mind. I have had an interesting history with them but recently they have helped me make my life better. I hope this one can help contribute make someone else's life a little better.
My friends and I have 290 miles of the London Underground left to run. If I haven't hit £100,000 by the end of those runs I will find another tube line to run, another city, another country. If you saw the picture, you would understand why we have to kill cancer. Do your bit. Sponsor at www.justgiving.com/steven-whyley
Have a great new year...I will be running the tube and trying to find a blonde girlfriend :)