Most years on or around New Year’s Day, I make a list of resolutions that at the time, I feel convinced that I can and will accomplish. I mean, it’s great to have goals, right? But when you don’t reach those goals, how do you feel? Are you able to just shrug it off and say “Hey, no big deal, I’ll try again next year” or do you harbor guilt and beat yourself up? If you can do the former, more power to you and I admire you. But I can’t. I do the latter. I look at my list and instead of focusing what I did accomplish, I focus on what I didn’t. Each year is supposed to be better than the last, but somehow, I always end up feeling worse at the end of it. Even when I did many wonderful things that are worthy of being recognized.
So instead of that, instead of making a list of specific things that I want to do that year, I am keeping it simple. I’m taking the advice from several of my friends and giving the year one word. One word that I want to focus on. I would like to sit and think about that word on New Year’s Eve of 2016 and say “Yes, I did do that this year.” No bar that’s been set too high, no laundry list of things that are probably unattainable in one calendar year.
My word for 2016? Is progress. I feel like this is a particularly significant word, as I’m tired of remaining stagnant because I’m afraid. I want to move forward in many aspects of my life. Such as…
Physical health and fitness. I have never been a big fan of exercising. I was a bookworm/academic in school, not an athlete. The plus side is that I didn’t gain a bunch of weight because I was no longer physically active on a daily basis. The down side is that I never had the stamina and muscle to begin with. I have started working out after school with a bunch of my co-workers and it has been rather humbling. Muscles hurt that I never even knew I had. I get winded about ten minutes into the workout. But I’m doing it. We’re all doing it. And we don’t judge one another. I don’t have a specific weight or size or fitness goal beyond just feeling better. I am also eating well, which is something that I’m especially proud of. As a recovering anorexic, my relationship with food has never been great. When I want to lose weight, my brain’s automatic solution is to starve myself. So focusing on regular, healthy meals is a struggle for me. But a necessary one. I am planning well-rounded meals for myself because I know that I can’t burn calories if I don’t put them into my body in the first place. And I need those nutrients to give me the energy to exercise.
Home improvements. Making changes to your home is often expensive and difficult and time consuming. But now that I’m working, we have some extra money to be able to dedicate to such things. Less time, but more money. I’ve made plans and I doubt that I’ll be able to get everything done, but doing some of it will feel like one hell of an accomplishment. I may even update here as I update my home so you can all see the progress I’ve made. See what I did there? Ha.
Learning the guitar. I got a pretty kick-ass guitar for Christmas from my husband and I have every intention of putting it to use. It won’t just sit on its stand collecting dust. I have already learned how to play “Yankee Doodle”, “Jingle Bells”, and even most of Nirvana’s “Come As You Are”, damn it! I can and will learn more. I’ll get better. That’s all I want.
Mental health. I’m not going to lie, my head has not been in the best place lately. This is nothing new, I’ve had issues with this for years and have been working on solutions for a very long time with varying levels of success. Shit sort of hit the fan a month or two ago and I made the decision to seek out real psychiatric care. My PCP has done his best within his abilities, but now I think I’ve surpassed that and would really benefit from seeing a specialist. I have an appointment to see a therapist in February and I’m actually pretty excited about it. I’m terrified to bare my soul and to lay it all out on the table for someone else to analyze, but I know that it has to happen if I have any hopes of improving my headspace. I am ready to feel better and to see the world through a different lens.
Parenting. I think everyone who has kids wants to be a better parent each year. We all make mistakes, we all do and say things that we wish we hadn’t. Our kids push us to our limits and sometimes we handle that with grace and sometimes we don’t. I am just as guilty as anyone when it comes to losing patience with my kids, even to the point of yelling at them like a maniac. This isn’t to say that I am going to let my kids walk all over me… no way, no how. But I also want to maintain my composure, which isn’t easy when your tween daughter talks to you like you’re the dirt on the bottom of her shoe, yet expects you to take her where she wants to go and when. Or when your three year old son spills juice on your laptop. I’m not a perfect mother and I never will be, but I’m trying and learning. And I hope to use what I’ve learned to make this year just a little bit better, a little bit easier. Otherwise you may find listings for at least one of them up on eBay. Just saying.
Yes, I want 2016 to be a better year than the last. After all, I have one more year of experience under my belt. But I am not going to pretend like 365 days is enough time to make extreme changes in numerous aspects of my life. It might be for some people, and who knows, maybe I will accomplish more than I anticipate. But keeping my goal simple will at least keep me from looking at what I didn’t do, rather than what I did.