Do you resolve?
Now that we’re a few months into 2018, I wanted to talk about the topic of resolutions. Since normally my resolutions would be long abandoned by April, I thought I’d revisit and see where everyone’s at. This year I took a really different approach...
But first, a little background.
My mom and I are nearly identical in many ways, and perhaps this was never encapsulated better than on the topic of exercise. My mom, last year, in talking about going to the gym: “I realized, three weeks into my goal of going to the gym five times a week, that there is actually no end in sight. If I keep working out, I just have to KEEP working out. Forever. For the rest of time. I’ll never be any closer to the end, closer to completion of exercise. Just death, really.”
My mom just *gets* me.
While I understand that this is a 100% flawed and unhealthy way of viewing exercise, it is also pure, unadulterated fact, and for me, there has never been a more daunting statement made in the history of time. lol.
This is sort of how I feel about New Year’s Resolutions in general. They can just feel arbitrarily daunting, which is probably why they rarely really stick for me. So in doing some reflecting, I realized a couple of things. I, like many, love to feel optimistic and hopeful about a fresh start and new beginnings, but I’m also too rational to believe it’s anything but groundless that January 1 signify something that December 31 didn’t. But, like I said, I love the idea of a blank slate, a fresh start, an opportunity to start something new. I also realized that it’s rare, looking back, that an entire year marks anything for me—I hate routine and I don’t really operate with long-term goals. In fact, like the exercise example, I don’t respond well to things that are supposed to guide (haunt, actually) my life for the next year with no real end in sight and no real way of checking them off as complete.
So it led me to an epiphany of sorts. What about a year long to-do list that doesn’t have to guide my behavior everyday, or every month even. Just something to try to get done each month this year, so that in theory, at the end of the year, I will have hopefully accomplished 12 cool things. An added bonus is that a month of doing something might spark a habit that lasts longer than 30 days, so hopefully I'm still going strong with a couple by year-end. A month feels long enough to be flexible, but short enough to give me a deadline. It’s also weather-sensitive and seasonal, which makes it feel more relevant and applicable. So, here’s what I’ve come up with:
A wake-up-early-with-purpose month
I love the morning, but it’s much harder to embrace on weekdays, of course. So my goal is to simply get out of bed earlier, and just indulge in the quiet free time before work. I can read, listen to a podcast, cook, go to the gym, drink a latte in my robe, clean the kitchen, whatever. I’m really productive in the morning, so I hate that mine are normally just dictated by the snooze button. I’ve realized that a productive morning at home has the same effect on my brain as working out. It just sets a great tone for the day.
A get-moving-outside month
I like running outside, so I’d like to really lean into it, along with any other exercise outside, even if it means more walks outside at lunch or in the evening. I’m hoping to do this in May or June when my excitement about the coming season is at its highest.
An alcohol-free month
I’m half dreading, half looking forward to this little detox. I’m sure my body will thank me.
A homemade-lunch month
I’ve actually been doing this for the past few weeks, unexpectedly. Since making some changes to my diet, I’ve been doing much more meal preparation. So, homemade lunches have become the norm! I’m going to try to keep this up for the foreseeable future because not only is it healthier, but it’s so much cheaper, too.
A stay-on-top-of-house-cleaning month
I’m anal about organization and tidiness, but in an unreliable way. I regularly let things get out of hand, but then I tend to flip out when I look around and see things in disarray. So instead of our intense weekly or biweekly routine after the house has gotten suddenly insufferable to me, I want to try to stay on top of it by picking up every couple days to avoid it really piling up.
A yoga month
This was March, in which I did Yoga with Adriene almost everyday before work, and I’m attempting to keep it up since I loved it so much.
A be-kinder month
Mostly, to myself. I’ve been dealing with a lot of self loathing lately, and I’m embarrassed to admit that it’s been mostly rooted in my physical appearance. I hate that something literally superficial can have such an impact on my psyche at times, so I’m really going to hone in on practicing some more self love.
A capsule-wardrobe month
This is my plan for May as a hopeful jumpstart for the next several months. I’ve been committed to capsuling before, but I’ve gotten away from it, so I’d like to get back there. I’ve found myself increasingly picky about what I’m looking for, and therefore increasingly aware of my ideal personal style, so this makes the idea of a capsule especially appealing right now.
A drink-more-water month
This was January, and I’m still going strong with it. I try to drink at least 100 ounces a day.
A volunteer-and-donate month
My current efforts feel a little sporadic, so I’m looking forward to a time of being committed to finding new opportunities and learning a bit in the process.
A bike-riding month
Jon got me a bike for my birthday because he’s always wanted to ride with me. I’ve never been a great bike rider, so I’m anxious to force myself a little out of my comfort zone and get more familiar with it. It’s great exercise... and also mortifying that I’m turning 30 this year and can’t say with complete confidence that I know how to ride a bike.
A less-screens month
At this point in life, this one shouldn't require much explanation, but I know I'm not alone in saying my subconscious relationship with my phone is a concerning one. The quickness and thoughtlessness with which I reach for my phone, tap open apps, and scroll around, should of course give anyone reason to pause. It doesn't mean I need to strive for, like, meditation instead (never), but I'd like to attempt to limit screens of any kind at night and in the morning. I am fairly certain about the emotional positivity that will come from this one, and I'm curious what other impacts it will have (i.e. more reading, better sleep, etc.)
Thoughts? Do you resolve? How are things going?