New Year’s Resolutions? More Like Life Resolutions.

Now that we’re a month into 2017, those resolutions we made a few short weeks ago might have already fallen to the wayside. Or, you could have been like me and not made any resolutions at all, in which case you might still be trying to figure out what you want to do in 2017 and how you’re going to accomplish it.

We hear so much talk about #newyearnewme that is almost seems like a requirement that we all resolve to be skinnier or stronger or whatever. I have a hard time with that, because 1. The me that I am right now seems pretty okay, and 2. Shouldn’t we focus more on being a better human being and making meaningful changes in our lives than just the superficial?

Similarly, I don’t think the beginning of the year has cornered the market on when we’re allowed to set goals. Who says you can’t make resolutions at the end of January, or in May or in August? No one, that’s who.

Given that, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks really evaluating some *life* things and have made pledges to myself and to others. Some of these pledges are fitness related, others are more broadly applicable in my life. All are aimed at growing into a better person and maybe bettering the word around me, too.

1. Get more sleep.
This is a fitness goal if I’ve ever seen one. Having a history of troubled sleep or simply not getting enough has meant that I haven’t allowed my body the appropriate recovery time. In the last month and a half, Clay and I have prioritized early bedtimes in favor of getting the most sleep possible. Consequently, we’ve been feeling a lot better physically and been more successful in the gym.

2. Read more books.
This seems like a gimme, but it’s ones that I’m really excited about! I used to be voracious reader as a kid, but since graduating college, the time I’ve dedicated to reading has dwindled. However, now that getting to bed early is a reality, so is making time to read a little before falling asleep. My goal is to finish at least 30 books this year – I’m already two in (one of those being Game of Thrones. Go big or go home amirite?)
3. Balance my workouts.
Weightlifting has been front and center for more than a year, but I want to make sure I’m balancing that with cardio as well – I feel better physically when I make time for a run or a Kaza class or two during the week. I want to stick to this, especially while Clay travels for work and my gym partner is gone.

4. Get more involved in my community.
This is a goal that has grown out of the atmosphere of the past few weeks – I feel that to best do my small part to fix what is so broken, I first need to get to know my neighbors and our community. To better understand what challenges we all face and what our priorities are.

5. Adjust my five year plan.
Following the last goal, this one is broader. My new five year plan includes going back to school and getting my law degree, so that I can really make bigger moves in advocacy and political action. But, in order to make that happen, I need to make some other adjustments and allowances. I’m grateful to have a partner who supports and encourages these dreams – and who understands that they may take time to achieve, but they are still possible.

More than new year’s resolutions, these goals aren’t time-stamped, and they certainly don’t have an expiration date. My next steps are just to keep on trucking and make a little bit of progress every day.

How do you set goals for yourself? Do you buy into New Year’s resolutions?

New Year, New Me?

So, guess what the most popular New Year’s Resolution is this year.

Lose Weight

And guess what the most popular New Year’s Resolution was last year.

Lose Weight

And guess what New Year’s Resolution I’ve made every year for the last as long as I can remember.

Yeah, you guessed it. Lose Weight.

If you’ve been anywhere near the internet the last few days, you’ve probably seen posts all over the place. ‘These are my resolutions’, or ‘I don’t make resolutions, but these are my goals’, or ‘resolutions and goals are the same thing, and I don’t make either’. I’ve seen a lot of posts, just about the new year in general.

I have a semi complicated relationship with New Year’s Resolutions, and New Year’s in general, that I’m guessing a lot of people can relate to. The intelligent part of my brain knows that there is no special magic to the dawn of a new year, nothing that will make it so that where there was no willpower before, there is now plenty to spare, no real truth behind the idea that somehow when the clock strikes midnight, everything will be different, you will be different, I will be different.

And yet…

Every year, even knowing all of those things, I make resolutions, tell myself that this is the year, that 20__ (or 19__ because hey, I’m old) is going to go down in my personal history as ‘when it all changed’. And years of doing this, and feeling like this, and having it most decidedly not turn out like this, has never really done much to deter me from making those same resolutions the next year. Heck, I’m pretty sure my list last year looked a lot like this:

Lose Weight

Eat Healthy

Exercise More

Save Money

Etc, etc, etc

But, 2014 and I were not the best of friends. Heck, 2014 and I were, at times, mortal enemies. And while I definitely worked on those things, I wouldn’t look at any of those goals and check of the ‘accomplished’ box next to them. The best thing I can say about 2014 is that it’s over.

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So, time to make some resolutions? Not really. Not the same way, anyway.

This year is different. I am different. Or I’m working on being different, I guess. I mean, are those all things that I would like to happen this year? Sure. I think those are very common things that a lot of people want, New Year’s Resolutions that a lot of people made this year. And I’ll work on making those things happen in some fashion. But in terms of making resolutions, I made just one.

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That’s it. To be happy. In the moment happy. Happy with myself, just the way I am, right now, happy. Happy with my life because it is amazing happy. Happy about the incredible family and friends I have happy. Happy because I have so damn much that how can I not be happy happy. Happy about the endless possibilities that come with being happy happy.

It’s so little. To be happy. But really, it’s so much.

2015 is here and I’m so happy about that. New year, new me.

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? What are yours? 

 

 

The Joy Hangover

Here’s me being honest: this time of year is a little depressing for me. I’m not sure why. Is it the Christmas decorations still hung up despite the fact that presents have been long-opened and people are crowding into airports, on their way back home after some quality cozy (or maybe crazy) time with extended family? There’s all of this anticipation, this celebration and glitter and family and presents and gratefulness and sometimes a lot of alcohol, and then it’s just done. I mean, yes, it happens every year and it’s wonderful every year, but I think this is what a joy hangover feels like.

Bye, Christmas trees, you are no longer needed.

Bye, Christmas trees, you are no longer needed. (source)

And then, of course, there’s New Year’s. Let me just be honest (I’m making a habit of it) and say that nostalgia is my kryptonite. If I read a book where nostalgia is involved, or watch a movie where nostalgia is involved, or think about my own instances of nostalgia, I’m a goner. So a holiday where the entire point is to think about what the last year has brought you, how you’re leaving it behind, and planning for future greener pastures? Dunzo. I can’t listen to Auld Lang Syne without getting extremely weepy.

Maybe that’s why I’m feeling a little melancholy right now, on top of my joy hangover. The week that stretches between Christmas and New Year’s sometimes feels like a bated breath, or a pause in my life’s movie. Where I’m still living, of course (because, hello, 2-year-olds wait for no man) but at the same time stuck between the year I just lived and the year I’m about to dive headlong into.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what 2015 will bring me, with this weird mix of optimistic expectation and trepidation. 2014 was filled with a lot of new things: new job, new friends, and new places visited, which was a particularly big milestone for me. I never, ever thought I’d get to see Paris, because that required a 12-hour flight over the freakin’ ocean, and no thanks. Except…actually, yes please. It was amazing. Eye-opening. Weirdly liberating, to cast off a preconceived notion about myself (no, Jess, you could never travel internationally. You couldn’t handle it, etc. and so forth).

Yep, I was totally here. At the Eiffel Tower.

Actually in Paris.

I am ACTUALLY. IN. PARIS in this picture.

In this week of suspension and with this tentative new bravery, with all of this change still looming in my rear view mirror, I wonder what 2015 will bring me. Good things, I hope. Probably some flip-side-of-the-coin things, because that’s life, after all.

So, as much as I hate goodbyes – man, I really hate goodbyes – I’m saying it to 2014: You were great, 2014. Nice knowing you. See you never again, unless time travel becomes a thing. And when January 1st comes, I’ll wake up in this new year, press the play button, and go.

How was your holiday season? Big plans for New Year’s? Do you get the Christmas week ennui too? Talk to me in the comments!