Happy New Year!
Well, it’s 10 o clock at night on the first day of 2018 and already, I’m not doing so great on the procrastination front with regards to my resolutions.
But in other ways, I feel good about my resolutions and capable of achieving them as the year goes on. And perhaps that’s because this year, I’ve decided to do things a bit differently.
Last year, there was a lot of talk about making better choices and doing things in moderation, and that worked fairly well for me. I went on my walks, ate kind-of-okay, and… completely fell off the wagon when it came to meditation and Headspace. Yeah, turns out I’m not great at sitting still and being quiet for extended periods of time. (On the bright side, long walks seem to do the trick.)
Overall, 2017 was good to me.
But it was also a year riddled with anxiety and not-super-great physical health. While I’ve made some pretty life-changing adjustments over the past few months, there’s still plenty of room to do better when it comes to self-care, so this year, I’ve decided to make “me” a priority. Never have I felt more millennial.
First off, I am really terrible at staying in touch with my emotions with regards to stress and tend to bite off more than I can chew. As a result, I become super anti-social and frustrated when feeling overwhelmed, and retreat instead of confronting the issue head-on. I’m also not great at saying “no” to opportunities that excite me, so I’m trying to take steps to be more in touch with my emotions so I know when to say yes and when to simply decline. I’m also going to try and be better about externalizing my issues in some way. For me, this means journaling more often to keep in touch with my thoughts and emotions instead of bottling things up. It also means adding in more daily walks and yoga/stretching once a week.
Okay, this resolution is one of my less “serious” ones – I resolve to do 10 squats a day.
Yes, just 10. Every day.
I’ll add more if I feel like it, but I don’t want to set a goal so lofty that I won’t even try to achieve it, which, when it comes to physical activity for me, is usually how things go.
This way, it’s something that takes a tiny portion of my day and is easy to add on to without feeling discouraged. It’s how I handled my resolution last year of a 20-30 minute walk per day, and I’d say that went extremely well. Not only did I go for walks *nearly* every day, but I also made them longer and more vigorous. This year, I’m hoping to do the same. Baby steps, right?
Years ago, I was in a yoga class at the YMCA and my teacher said something incredibly profound while we were stretching:
“If you have a bit of tightness or an ache or pain, don’t ignore it. Acknowledge it, and then move on.”
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve played her words over again in my head. In life, there’s so much that we take in that affects us deeply, and I think the immediate reaction is to ignore our issues and try and move on. It’s something I do myself. But I think a better and more healthy way of handling difficult situations is to examine our emotions, figure out why we’re feeling a certain way, address the issue, and then move on instead of just leaving it to stew. So for 2018, I’m going to try and acknowledge issues I run into instead of letting them sit with me and eventually, boil over.
I also fully intend on making changes to my inner dialogue. What some people might not know is that when you deal with anxiety, it can be really difficult (and for some people, nearly impossible) to turn off your ugly thoughts. They can become cyclical and haunt your regular thoughts with negativity, and it can turn into a really exhausting battle, which is why I think it’s important that self-critique be monitored. It’s one thing to be constructive with self critique. It’s another to be your own worst bully.
For me, that means making sure I’m kind to myself. To recognize that perfection is unattainable, but it’s also okay to have high standards. It’s about finding balance between the two, and that’s something I need to work on.
So here we are, 2018. Bring it on.