As many others have, I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few days thinking about what I’d like to see in this new year. Thought about where I’m at right now, where I was last year, and – as my friend Ron wisely advised – looked back two years ago to see how far I’ve actually come. (Those of you who’ve known me for a while can attest that I am, thankfully, at a much, MUCH better – and happier – place than that horrid 3-5 months where I was a post-breakup mess and but a shell of myself. Time, and making better decisions, does really heal all wounds, and for that I am grateful.) I like the symbolism of starting something new at a transition point…I usually start a health plan or new activity on a Monday. And while I get that there’s a sort of backlash against New Year’s Resolutions, mainly because why should you wait until then to start them, I do appreciate the symbolic nature of this time. The rebirth of a year.
I’m a person who loves challenges. Loves trying something new. Likes to learn about my limits, push past them, and admit defeat when needed. (Which mostly happens when I wasn’t 100% committed to doing something in the first place.) I always give something up for Lent even though I’m not Catholic. I’ve often done Sober January, and cajoled my friends into doing this with me. I know myself, and I’m very much an ‘all or nothing’ type of gal, so have found success most frequently when I set a more ambitious goal than one that has a lot of leeway. I have a friend doing something called #30min365 where he committed to working out (doing some sort of activity to the point of breaking a sweat) 30 minutes for every day of the year. I understand that; the extreme “no cheat” rule speaks to me more than if I said I would work out 5 days a week. There’s little room for excuses; it’s why I work out in the morning vs. the evening, as a full day I can come up with sundry reasons for my laziness.
I was inspired by my friend Reece’s blog post on his “Twelve Experiments” that he’s doing; he’s taking a month to do something new or try a different behaviour. I love this. It reminds me of Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project”, which I also really resonated with. “I should do this,” I thought to myself today (and many days before.) “This is something I’d love.”
I had today off from work. I spent a lot of it thinking about this idea; the feasibility of it all, the commitment to having twelve different goals, to be living that disciplined. Would it actually be teaching me more about myself to take on yet another obligation (when, frankly, I often feel overwhelmed by what I have going on already) or would it be merely an exercise in discipline for someone who already knows she can be? And right now, it sounds like a burden to me. And that’s NOT something I want.
It makes me feel like I’ve already failed here, this decision to NOT make resolutions, to NOT take on additional challenges, to not commit to giving something up or learning something new or even changing a behaviour. I hate that. But what resonates with me, and what I’ve said for a while I’m trying to do, is to find balance. And right now I’m skewed. There’s a lot of amazing and good and awesome in my life; and on the flip side, there is a lot of anxiety. And fear. And responsibility that I’ve never asked for, that is taking and has taken a toll on me over the past few years. I’m not at a place professionally where I want to be; the same can be said about my personal relationships. My health. My fitness. My overall sense of wellness. I have very little drama in my life – thank GOD – but the stress? The anxiety? The poor choices as an avoidance tactic? Oh yes, those are alive and well, because that’s what I’ve done for so long and what I know to do.
So that’s my emphasis for now. To achieve this balance. To be in a place where I’m in a position to make healthy, rewarding decisions on all aspects of my life. To feel some of the weight on my shoulders lift a bit; to be healthier and happier and kinder. To feel more like myself again. I’ve already started some big steps to doing so. Some involve health (my diet, cutting down on sugar & alcohol, etc.) and some involve relationships. Some are to be less harsh on myself; to be proud of the really good behaviours I already have going on, even ones I discount as silly like my tendency to get enough sleep and my obsession with taking adult gummy vitamins in the morning. (Hey, it’s a start.)
And hell, if this doesn’t work, I can always go with the catch-all from a few years ago: “Have more sex, do more drugs.” Contingency plans are important.