I’m not usually one for New Year’s Resolutions.
I think I used to be. In fact, I’m pretty sure we had to write our New Year’s Resolutions down for a grade sometime in elementary school. So I guess I probably did it then, but for as long as I can remember, I have not done the resolution thing. Don’t get me wrong, I have these floating life goals that sail around my brain, hoping to be achieved sometime, but they are not labelled as New Year’s Resolutions. The goals are things like, read more books, exercise on a regular basis, correspond more with friends and family, find daily time to work on my spiritual life, and have more patience. And they are definitely intentionally unlabeled now that I think about it. I believe I see it as taboo to label one of these life goals as a New Year’s Resolution, because then it would automatically be doomed to fail.
So for the time being, I’m going to lump my floating life goals in with New Year’s Resolutions, because they, too, have not been overwhelmingly achievable thus far. I did declare a couple of years ago that I would start reading more, and I have been a bit of a bookworm ever since, but other than that… the goals float on. Let me point out my weight loss goal which seems to always float and never gets achieved. Perhaps because it’s never been a large medical problem, I don’t have a massive attack plan to take care of it. (Those of you who know me may be raising your eyebrows right now because you know that I am 6 ½ months pregnant and shouldn’t be terribly worried about weight loss at this time. To those of you I say this is an ongoing life goal since high school – not a recent discovery).
But then there are the moments of downward spiral that make it apparent that there really is a problem somewhere. When I have one of those days when I get the mail and find a traffic ticket, I have to give my son four time outs, then remember that I have to go to the grocery store… and it’s raining, I will inevitably look in the mirror before leaving the house and think, “Ugh, Sarah! Not only can you not drive, parent or keep house, but you can’t lose weight either! Why can’t you just do this one simple thing?!” It’s a downward spiral, and very hard to come out of.
It absolutely disgusts me to admit this, but I think it’s more likely that I’ll watch every episode of my favorite TV show than stick to my New Year’s Resolution. I like TV shows. Especially sit coms. Watching sit coms is an effortless activity, taking no work to sit on my couch and stare. I wait each week to find out what happens next in the storyline. I often have my husband next to me to keep me company. And they help me escape reality for a little while.
I’m motivated to watch TV.
I have no motivation to wake up early, get in my cold car and go to a smelly gym in order to work out all by myself, surrounded only by strangers!! For heaven’s sake, I could be asleep in my warm bed instead! Ask my husband what a terrible morning person I am. Yikes. Perhaps I need to ask myself why I think exercising every day is important and discover my motivation. Not my goal – to lose weight- but my motivation.
So I will start by thinking about what is important to me. The top of my list begins with my faith and continues on to my family and other relationships. I want to exercise and be fit, NOT simply lose weight. I want to set a good example for my son, who I pray will eventually grow up to be a healthy guy. I want to be the best version of myself so I can be a mommy who can run wild with her toddler one minute, drop down on the floor in the Legos the next minute and throw him up in the air the minute after that! (Because I’m pregnant, I think I just threw out my sciatica merely thinking about that.) Anyway, I want to have the energy it takes to raise my little man and take him on fun outings. I don’t want to be the kind of mom who has to sit on the couch and watch all the fun happen out of my reach.
Allow me to point out that a goal like fitness is going to take a lot more than the zero effort it takes to keep up with our TV shows. Therefore, if I can’t find the true motivation behind my goal, I am confident that I will not be able to find the effort to achieve it. Raising my little man makes me happy. I have done all sorts of things I never thought possible because of the love I have for him. Effort? No problem. If I simply resolve to go to the gym daily for a period of time, I inevitably end up bitter and angry about it by the end and have no desire to make it a long-term part of my life. Yes, that way takes a lot of effort. Eventually, more than I can muster.
Now recall that part of the reason I find myself motivated to keep up with my TV shows is because I get to watch them with my favorite person or people. I am an extreme people person. Rarely do I ever feel the need to seek solitude or alone time. But even the most melancholic introvert wouldn’t want to feel lonely as they try to reach a goal.
So who is going to come along side you and support you on your resolution? Find someone who loves you and really knows you. (If you have never really opened up to any one before, now may be a good time!) Don’t just tell your spouse your goal for 2014. Tell them why you made your goal- your motivation. Tell them the ugly parts, too. Share the parts of yourself that you are having a hard time loving an accepting. Maybe even tell them why you think you’ll fail! Say your fears out loud so they can help you address them. I find that when I label my fear it doesn’t seem so scary any more. (Yes, in the same way that Harry Potter only refers to Lord Voldemort by his real name, and not ‘You-Know-Who.’ Ahem. I mean…)
And what happens when we do fail? Because we will. What happens after that terrible week we don’t go to the gym once? What do we do after the month and a half that goes by when we don’t ready any books at all? A fail in April doesn’t mean we have to throw out our resolution and wear a t-shirt that says “I FAILED!” It just means we slipped up, as we all eventually do. Go back to your motivations. Chances are, our motivations will not have changed, but if they have, then it might be time to revise our goal or resolution. Tell your loved ones and ask them to help us get back on the right track.
Honestly? I still don’t think I will make any resolutions for January 1st. It’s just not my style. But I will heartily admit that over the next year I have a goal or two that would be to the benefit of my health and wellness to address.
I’m a bit encouraged to think about paying them mind via the motivation method, rather than the resolution method. Whether we have a New Year’s Resolution, a floating life goal or a desire of the heart we can’t even admit, if it doesn’t make us happy, it’s not likely to work out. We do not want to set ourselves up for failure like that-we need hope in our lives! I think we need to stop creating these idealistic New Year’s Resolutions and start looking at our New Year’s Motivations. Let’s start looking at what is important to us and make sure we are spending enough time focused and committed to those people who are inspiring our resolutions. And may we be ready and excited by what other things may blossom from those relationships. 2014 is coming… Smile.
This post brought to you by Miss Sarah