I have never successfully been able to keep any new year’s resolutions except the one I made back in 2013 when I told myself I would either make my life better or kill myself. Somewhere in there I decided I wasn’t done living and I successfully did that (made my life better) and that, at the time was really hard. So why could I do the really hard stuff but not the easy stuff like give up soda and go for a walk every day?
I’ve had these goals for a long time now and I really don’t want to write them out again for another year of “failure” but for posterity, here’s what I’ve tried to do for the last 4 years:
1. Lose 50lbs
2. Practice yoga every day
3. Walk every day (even when it’s gross and rainy)
4. Write every day
5. Find a day job that supports my writing
6. Read more books
7. Clean my house regularly
8. Stop dwelling on past mistakes and embarrassments, live life in the present moment
9. Meditate every day
10. Deepen my spiritual/religious practices
11. Teach myself how to play a musical instrument.
Here’s why I couldn’t do all those things last year (not that these are excuses but…)
My job took up most of my time so I couldn’t write, exercise, or clean every day or read books because I was always working.
When I decided to put time away for writing because writing is important, I sacrificed exercise/yoga time, meditation time, time with Mr. J, and, of course, cleaning time to write.
When I changed jobs and went back to school for more medical certifications, all my extra time went to studying, practicing, and writing.
When I got a job with more reasonable hours I spent my extra time obsessing about how much that job annoyed me and all my extra energy went to finding a solution and getting out.
SO now I’m at the beginning of another year with a completely clean slate, a brand new, fresh start.
How am I going to fuck it up?
I completely resonate with the statement: insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. So I am extremely determined this year to change what I’ve been doing and hopefully I’ll reach some of my goals.
The first thing I’ve done is started early, which may or may not be cheating on the whole new year thing, I don’t know and I don’t care. I’ve changed my diet exponentially, by going Whole30. I’m not expecting the weight to fly off but my digestion has greatly improved since I started almost 20 days ago. (And I’ve lost 5 pounds so…)
In December 2018 I moved back in with my mom because Mr. J is being transferred away for work and I decided would be easier for me to live with my mom–rent free–than get an apartment just for me while Mr. J is away working.
Moving in with my mom fixed several of the problems I had fulfilling my new year’s resolutions:
I won’t have to cook for myself. And no, I am not ashamed to say my mom still makes my meals even though I’m 32. I am not ashamed because I am a TERRIBLE cook. Ask anyone. Ask Mr. J. He’ll tell you. It’s for the best, really.
My mom is a yoga teacher. I have zero excuses to not do yoga.
My mom lives in a neighborhood where there are actually nice places to walk (the place I used to live was fine but it was next to a highway and there was literally no place to walk).
It’s going to take time and discipline but I believe that if I don’t find a job that stresses me the fuck out I will be able to start devoting more time to things I enjoy. Like yoga and walking.
And here are the negatives of living with my mom:
I’m not living with Mr. J anymore which makes me very sad (we’re still very much married and we talk every day but his absence from my life is, at its worst, debilitatingly painful).
My mom is a hoarder.
No one gets under your skin quite like family.
Write every day: I was doing pretty good in November 2018, I even won nanowrimo. When I moved in December I had to put writing on the back burner because my mom needed help cleaning her house. I’ve slowly been trying to add writing back into my “daily routine” but living in a clean, de-cluttered house is more important that writing.
Find a day job to support my writing: before I moved in my mom told me her house wasn’t that bad, that she’d been working on it since I cleaned out half of the clutter in 2016. When I came home I discovered all the space I had cleared out had filled back up. So when I saw how much work I had ahead of me I told my mom I wasn’t going to get a job until I got her house completely de-cluttered and re-organized. Because I cannot work a full time schedule AND get rid of a shit ton of garbage. It’s too much.
Read more books: well, you can always read more books so that’s kind of like an unobtainable goal but last year I didn’t read very much and this year, if I am determined to up my writing game, I have to read, read, read. So that’s what I’m going to do. And reading will provide a great escape for when my depression and anxiety get bad. (So does tying knots. Once, when I was having a really bad panic attack, Mr. J sat me down and re-taught me how to tie a bowline knot. Tie the knot, untie the knot. Tie the knot, untie the knot. I carry paracord in my purse.)
Stop dwelling on past mistakes and embarrassments, live life in the present moment: I think I will always be working on this. My anxiety and depression manifest when I remember all the stupid shit I’ve done. I get triggered really easily and since I’ve moved back into the house I grew up in, I’ve found a lot of things that remind me of all the things I’d rather not remember. It’s hard to live in the present moment when all you think about is how shitty your childhood was.
SO what am I going to do to succeed this year and actually fulfill my new year’s resolutions?
1. Clean my mom’s house. (As of Dec. 31, 2018, I only have 1 room to go!)
2. Dedicate time to write, practice yoga, and meditate. I don’t care how busy my schedule gets. If it’s important to me I can make the time for it.
3. Follow the Whole30 diet and stay away from things that fuck up my digestion. Including bread and pastries.
4. Don’t be a home body like I was when I was living with Mr. J and get out of the house. I can use the library as my office, like Ray Bradbury did.
5. Mr. J gave me the first 5 volumes of Goblin Slayer so I have plenty of books to read.
6. Forgive myself for all the stupid shit I’ve done and move on with my life. (Easier said than done, I know, but I’ve got to start somewhere.)
7. And somewhere in there I’m going to re-learn music theory and teach myself how to play a musical instrument…yeah…
Happy New Year! Keep on keeping on!