Guess what? My New Year’s resolutions officially start today. Perhaps you are asking yourself why it took me two weeks into the new year to finally get myself going…. Good question.
I have tried all sorts of tips, tricks, and techniques to make my New Year’s resolutions stick over the years. They have never worked. Every year I would eventually feel like a failure,, which is really the antithesis of how resolutions are supposed to make you feel. Finally, I figured out I was failing at them because I set myself up to fail.
So this year I decided to actually give my resolutions every opportunity to succeed:
1) I got reasonable.
Every year I would come up with an unbelievably long resolutions “to-do list.” It was like some infinite roll of parchment that kept getting longer and longer as I kept adding to it in my most optimistic moments (which, surprisingly, I apparently have a lot of!).
The list that I made every year was based on what I pictured as my most perfect self…but deep down inside I don’t think I’d like my perfect self very much.
I think that a list of what one considers “perfect” or “ideal” is often based on what we feel we should be doing—framed by society, family, and expectations that are defined by words like success. The trouble with creating this “perfect self” is that you may not actually that person. For me that isn’t to say that I don’t want success, but I don’t want it framed in terms of someone else’s definition.
This year I decided six resolutions are plenty….
2) I got specific.
No more airy-fairy resolutions for me. This year I made my list with actual, actionable items. Lose weight isn’t on there but being chased by the undead is, by participating in a Zombie Run. I’ve never run a mile. So for me, that is a big goal and something I could consider a success even if I attempted it (because I am pretty sure that even if training isn’t enough, the undead chasing me would provide a significant motivational element). Also, as an added bonus, being chased by the undead would allow me to confront one of my biggest fears (I was allowed to watch Poltergeist far too young and it really messed with my concept of imminent danger).
3) I gave myself a chance to wrap up 2013.
I decided not to start my new year’s resolutions on 1/1. It is a terrible day to start anything;
- You are hungover or just tired.
- You are still bloated from Christmas.
- You still have cookies and candies to devour (and you hate being wasteful and throwing anything out).
- You are quite possibly burned out on family time.
- You have a to-do list from November that you haven’t even tackled yet due to the general holiday madness/seasonal infestation of turkeys and snowmen.
This year I decided that undertaking life changing resolutions on January 1 would be beyond foolish—so I gave myself two weeks to get my ship in order and built a solid foundation from which to attack 2014.
4) I practiced.
This year got a head start on the resolutions I was most likely to fail at because they generally require me doing tasks that make me uncomfortable. This mostly meant getting myself to the gym. I don’t dislike the gym, but getting started is the hardest part for me and due to my general lack of coordination the whole experience is a bit too life and death at first.
So, I started intermittently going to the gym a couple of weeks before the holidays. That way I could get those first days where my body just really resists participating out-of-the-way; it is a lot easier to motivate yourself at the gym when you think about the cookies you are going to eat later vs thinking about the “rewarding” green juice you’ll be savoring in the new year.
5) I got organized.
I made sure to locate all the bits and bobbles that I needed to work on my resolutions. In addition, I organized them in a manner where I can actually access them. I gave them priority. And those half-finished projects that have been chasing me around for years…those finally got the heave-ho.
Those are the steps I have taken to give my resolutions a decent chance at survival…and now for my actual resolutions list!
- To be chased by the undead…recreationally.
- To draw again. This is not something that I am particularly strong at but I love doing it. I will draw one thing a day. No commitments to time or quality. If it is a sketch on the back of a napkin that took 30 seconds, I will accept that submission. If it is a blind contour drawing done to get my mind unblocked, I will accept that. If it turns out to be 300+ drawings of my dogs…I will also accept that. This resolution is just about doing it, not where it goes. Everything doesn’t have to be something; some things can just be (this should be my mantra for 2014).
- This year I will finally address the project that has been nagging at me for 11 years. Yep, it’s an idea I had 11 years ago that I told one person about. It has haunted me every year since then. I find that this idea often demands my attention at the most inconvenient times. It has hijacked my mind and this year I am going to finally set it free.
I am not going to tell you what the idea is or how it will manifest itself. I am going to show you as the year unfolds. It is story and it need the space and time to be told.
- I will explore more…more hiking, more outdoors, more state parks, more meeting people, more adventures.
- I will get involved in my community. I feel we are so losing a sense of community because we don’t leave enough time in our lives to be involved. So I will make room.
- I will focus on gratitude. It sounds hokey but, instead of letting depressing thoughts creep in, I will focus on what I am thankful for: what I have, not what I feel I lack.
So that is it: my list. Nothing shiny that promises me I will be a better person 11 months from now…but I will be a different person. I will be older, maybe wiser, possibly prouder having survived the undead. Who knows? Anything is possible and that is why I love January.
If anyone has any suggestions for success or inspired resolutions, feel free to share in the comments section.