Thursday, January 16, 2014

2014 = realistic resolve

While I don’t believe in making New Year’s resolutions, that’s not to say there aren’t plenty of areas with room for improvement.

I learned in my early 20’s that resolutions almost beg to be broken. I’d set idiotic or unrealistic objectives – “This year I'm going to quit smoking, cold turkey, in three days. And no more Diet Coke for breakfast. That will help lose the 15 pounds I've been loathing.” – with no advance planning or thought to how to achieve said goals.

No wonder I failed at the time.

BuzzFeed is chock-full of testimony and lists of the many things we don't know in our 20s, and (gasp!) I'm finding a lot of them to be both humorous and true.

What I didn’t know then is that sometimes it takes more than a year to get where you want to end up. Habits are hard to break.

It took me the better part of a decade to finally quit smoking. It was only after years of unlimited access to Diet Coke while bar-tending in college that I learned (through saturation) I prefer water to soda.

Those 15 pounds have come and gone several times. I’ve accepted I’ll never be able to swear off pizza and to just be thankful that I’ve got enough to eat. First-world problems, right?

So what’s on the to-do list this year? Plenty. But they’re mainly general guidelines rather than specific goals with hard deadlines.

Make sense of the chaos: The lease at our infuriating apartment complex is finally up in May, and during our countdown to liberation I plan to weed out items to be donated or trashed. My hope is we won’t end up packing/moving/unpacking and finding a place for junk we don’t want or need. (Again.)

There’s a household/organizational purge on Pinterest that suggests getting rid of – either via trash, recycle or donation – 10 items every day for 30 days. Challenge accepted. Anyone have a favorite consignment shop to recommend?

Be gentle: After years of struggling with insomnia, I’d like to start getting more sleep.

Perhaps I’ll literally schedule time during the week (outside of yoga Tuesdays) for some physical activity. Not to lose weight, but because it makes me happy.

I might also try to offset the pizza-consumption by cooking at home more often and adding more produce and unprocessed food.

And that stack of books I’ve been collecting with every intention of tackling might become part of a regular routine.

Be realistic: For better or worse, my 20’s are behind me. Along the lines of lessons learned, I think I’m ready to break up with my MasterCard. We’ve probably had far too much fun together over the years and it might be time to truly make it “in case of emergencies.” (No. 17.)

Get involved: I love talking to senior adults. And helping animals. Literacy (at any age), homelessness, the environment, mental health and poverty are just a few areas I care very deeply about.

So instead of binge-watching a season of something on Netflix during the weekend, I am committing to volunteering with an area organization at least once a month. Because if I’m able to do more than just cut a couple checks, my hair and donate blood, why not?

It looks as if I’ll have plenty to keep me busy and out of trouble in 2014 (and beyond.) We’ll see how much of it actually sticks and gets accomplished.

Need some resources for encouragement and sticking to your resolutions?

The Fitnessista blogger Gina Harney shares five tips with Stitch Fix to make taking care of yourself a little easier.

Whole Foods has a wealth of information when it comes to healthy eating. They offer expert advice on how to make a sustainable transition to healthier eating habits. (See entries on affordable, batch cooking.)
Regardless of where you shop, their site has a ton of recipes.

More inspiration?

Yoga instructor Nancy Nicholson shared this with our class on Tuesday.

Help Me Believe In Beginnings from the book "Guerillas of Grace" (adapted by NN)

"I’ve known death and birth;

I’ve been brave and scared;

I’ve hurt, I’ve helped;

I’ve been honest, I’ve lied;

I’ve destroyed, I’ve created;

I’ve been with people, I’ve been lonely.

I’ve been loyal, I’ve betrayed.

I’ve decided, I’ve waffled.

I’ve laughed, and I’ve cried.

Help me to make beginnings:

To begin going out of my weary mind into fresh dreams,

daring to make my own bold tracks in the land of now;

to begin questioning the unquestionable that I may know truth;

to begin disciplining that I may create beauty;

to begin sacrificing that I may accomplish justice;

to begin risking that I may make peace;

to begin loving that I may realize joy.

Help me to believe in beginnings, to make a beginning, to be a beginning

so that I may not just grow old, but grow new

each day of this amazing life."