new year's resolutions and doing the absolute bare minimum.
Every year I have a different view on New Year's Resolutions. One year I hit it hard with a whole list of goals to accomplish in order to change my life. I did not change my life and I lost the list. Another year I decided I would have one resolution, to do yoga everyday. Surprisingly, I lasted a few months. One year I declared, "I will not have New Year's Goals. I will simply love myself and not set unrealistic expectations," which I think was a way of saying "I don't want to fail again," although, the love myself part was a pretty admirable goal in itself.
This year, I am viewing the new year as an opportunity to yes, love myself more, but also to do more of what I love, and to do more things that make me love life. Honestly, that's a really romanticized version of my actual resolution, which is this: read, write, meditate, and exercise. Every single day.
A New Year's resolution about working out? How novel.
Speaking of novels. The first part of my resolution is to read. I read every day. And I guess I should confess, when I say "read," I really mean "listen," because I mostly listen to audio books. Please don't @ me, I also love laying in bed with a good paperback novel and escaping the world for a few days. Anyways, I already read all the time, but I made this a part of my goal because I wanted an automatic win. Every day, I will easily accomplish one fourth of my resolution just by doing something I enjoy and am already in the habit of doing. Hello sense of accomplishment, hello endorphins. I hope that this will motivate me to achieve my other resolutions.
Second, I want to write. I love writing. I like to blog and write poems and occasionally lyrical essays. I dream of writing novels, both fiction and nonfiction. But I really don't write all that often. It's one of those things that feels almost frivolous, like an irresponsible way to spend my time. Or maybe I am afraid of failure, and I can't have a failed novel if I never write one. But writing makes me happy, and if I do want to write a book, I have to start sometime. I have absolutely no rules for this resolution. I can blog, or type out a poem in my notes app, or pick up a prompt journal and fill out a page. I just want to be in the habit of writing.
Third is meditation. I love meditating because it helps me speak kinder to myself. One of my favorite books, "The Mindful Way Through Depression" suggests that meditating isn't about learning to quiet the mind. Instead, it's about learning how to refocus and pull away from certain thoughts with kindness and self acceptance. This gave me a whole new perspective on meditation. Instead of getting upset with myself for letting my mind wander, I see those dancing thoughts as an opportunity. I notice them, acknowledge them, and then gently pull my mind back into itself. Then in real life when those unkind, unhelpful thoughts try to bombard me, I don't latch on to them. I acknowledge them and let them pass as I whisper, "self, you got this."
Lastly is exercise, which is perhaps too severe a word. Maybe "intentional movement" would be a better description of the goal I have in mind. Because I'm really not talking about cross fit here. Taking my dog for a walk, doing yoga, dancing, really anything that gets me to move my body. After watching the movie "Woman King," I felt a general lack of strength and power in my life. I want to feel mighty and strong and like a badass woman. But I am a very self aware person, and I know that if I set a resolution to do an hour of HIIT everyday, I wouldn't even last a week. So I am starting here.
I'm sure you have caught the gist by now. I have set goals that I can accomplish with the absolute bare minimum effort. It sounds lazy, I know, but I really am aiming for longevity here. I am trying to build habits. I didn't even start my resolutions on the 1st of the month. I started on the 3rd because I was traveling. Those missed days didn't discourage or dissuade me though. I have left so much room in my mind and heart for human error that I feel absolutely confident that I will make it to the end of the year having accomplished my resolutions.
Cheers to the new year. Cheers to doing more of what you love and to loving your life more. Cheers to you and your goals. Happy New Year my friends. I hope you give yourself space to bloom.