Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Rethinking The New Year

There is always a sense of desperation when the New Year is around the corner, self-made promises of:

The best intention--lots of vegetables!
  • I’ll lose weight

  • I’ll exercise more

  • I’ll eat better.

  • Finish that book.

It’s all very nebulous, but the intentions are good. Plans are made, groceries bought, workouts planned. It becomes all very exciting and you may end up with a list like this.

  • Get up every day at 4 a.m. to exercise.

  • Eat only carrots for snacks, and no bread…ever.

  • Write 5000 words a day.

  • Run five miles a day.
Gotta love a good work out!

But what happens? Really. Let me give you a run down:

Day 1: Sure, I mean to do everything I say. I actually get up at 4 a.m., stagger to the home gym and work out, slurping coffee and congratulating myself. I eat fruit and an egg for breakfast, have my bag of carrots and salad for lunch. I go to work, come home, make something equally nutritious and I sit down to write, banging out 5000 words. I collapse into bed cheering myself that I actually accomplished my mission—only 364 more days to go. 

Day 2: The alarm goes off at 4 a.m. What? That’s too bloody early. I hit snooze. My legs are sore from the run and the squats I did yesterday….I finally get up, manage to do twenty minutes of elliptical, skipping the run. I need a rest day. I eat the egg, grab the carrots and forget my lunch. Make it to work, and drink coffee and tea to keep me vertical. I stagger home, make another nutritious meal of vegetables and rice and all I want are French fries. I choke it down, make it to the computer and manage to stare at the screen for an hour, and write maybe 500 words. It’s an off day.

Writing? What writing?

Day 3: The alarm goes off and I turn it off. It’s a rest day. I oversleep. I jerk out of bed, take a shower, make some coffee, forget the egg, and grab the carrots which will sit uneaten at my desk as I star longingly at the Starbucks across the street through my office window. They have scones…..I make it home, and justify the bowl of chips and salsa for a snack—there is a vegetable in it right? I turn on my computer and surf the internet. Research for writing. Really.

Day 4:  I need another rest day. I re-set the alarm for 6, no oversleeping for me! But I still have to run and I forgot to buy coffee yesterday, so there is none at home. So I feel justified going by Starbucks because it’s a treat—and oops how did that scone end in a bag on my desk? It would be a shame to waste it. I go home, make a pizza and watch a show (hopefully Vampire Diaries, Dracula or Almost Human). I’m ruminating on my plot…behind closed eyelids.

Day 5: What goals? Did I say every day? Nah, maybe once a week around 5 a.m….and carrots, I’ll never look at them the same again. I hate them. And dinner?  Whatever I can find that’s easy.  French bread dipped in olive oil—the oil is a good thing I’ve heard. Writing? Oh, I do write, but it’s not 5000 words. More like five. 

Coffee needed to keep me moving
Day 6: I am a failure and I give up. I’ll never lose weight, finish the book, or be healthy. I like to sleep, and being a sloth is important. Someone has to do it.

Day 7: Guilt trip and I try it again on Monday….

But the cycle continues until all pretense is tossed and the same cycle of guilt, over compensating, and failing begins again.

Why the pressure? Why not rethink the New Year. Yes, it is an opportunity, but it shouldn’t be one of overwhelming stress. Facing 2014 is going to be different, because I am going to be realistic. 

  • Am I going to eat only carrots for snacks? –no, but I can eat apples, pears, and all those other kinds of fruits.

  • Will I write 5000 words a day? I wish, but realistically, 100-1000 would be better.

  • Will I exercise at 4 a.m. –No. No. No. But I can do it in the afternoon for a 30 minutes.

  • Will I run 5 miles? No. But I can run a mile two to three days a week and slowly work up to it.

This is the goal--to be healthy and happy.
  • Give up bread? Do I have to?

Instead of placing unrealistic expectations—I’m going to look at what I can accomplish and not give up. 

So, I’ll settle for something less—like master of all time, space, and dimension…hmm, I may have to rethink this....

What are your thoughts about the New Year?

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  1. I like your plan (The altered one, that is)

  2. Jillian--so do I, I'm still figuring that whole master of time space thing..I think I need to talk to Dr. Who... :D

  3. Happy New Year! When I look back at 2013, I see that (1) continuing to put one foot in front of the other, (2) maintaining a good attitude (most of the time!), and (3) viewing simple decisions in terms of their impact on the big plan all added up, eventually, to what looks like progress! So, yeah--make commitments you know you can keep. And congratulate yourself on the little successes. All the best for the new year!

    1. Happy New Year to you too Chris!
      I hope this year for you is one of great things! and I agree, no matter what road we walked, there are things we can look back on and say, "Yeah, I did do that..." :) Cheers to you!

  4. You're an inspiration! Love the second list. I'm contemplating mine today. :)

    1. Robin--you are one I so admire (and inspired by)! Thank you, and I'd love to see what kind of list you come up with. :) ---You write in the face of many things and I learn a lot from you!