We don’t have to be all the things to all the people. Filling our time every minute of every day in the name of being someone we think we’re supposed to be doesn’t lead to a happy — or balanced — life.
Ah, January of a new year. Time to wake up a completely different person from the woman I was in 2015, which includes being 30 pounds lighter by February! Time to make a list of ways I’ll completely change and be the woman I’ve always wanted to be — and I’ll do it some time within the next 366 days.
I call bullshit.
I don’t know why we do this to ourselves. Why exactly is the start of a new year the time we pretend we’re going to be someone we’re not for the next 365 days?
Don’t get me wrong. Setting goals and working to achieve them is an honorable mission in life — says the to-do list maker, goal-setter, wannabe go-getter. But I’m not going to pretend that a calendar change makes me a completely different person.
Forget losing 30 pounds in five minutes!
Instead of the sad, tired New Year’s resolution that nearly all of us have made at least a dozen times in our life (myself included), how about we take baby steps? We’re not going to lose all the weight we gained in a year (or decade) over the course of a month or two.
Me? Yeah, I want to work on my curves, but instead of pretending I’m some tough chick who’s going to wake up at 4 a.m. to work out for two hours because that’s what I’d do if I were really committed to losing weight, I’m going with smaller goals that I might actually accomplish.
Eating more fruits and vegetables with each meal instead of hitting the dollar menu at the drive-thru.
Walking a few times a day for a few minutes at a time. No, it doesn’t sound like much, but since I have the ability to sit in the same chair for nine hours, only getting up to pee or grab a handful of chips, it’s a big damn deal.
Instead of crushing it for two hours at the gym (more power to you if you can manage this), how about 30 minutes, a few times a week?
Will I morph into some hard body in a matter of days or weeks? Of course not. Do these things feel more doable? Yep. Hopefully, I’ll feel better — even if the number on the scale or my dress size don’t change much.
Doing all the things with none of the stress!
The other 'new year, new me' BS that I’ve made myself crazy with is the one where I tell myself this will be the year I do All The Things with none of the stress. Stop laughing. No really, pick yourself up off the ground. Rolling and holding your sides like that is unnecessary.
I don’t have any more time in 2016 than I did in 2015. It’s time to pick and choose what to do instead of trying to cram more into our lives and hack our way to extra time.
My mantra for the year is to simply breathe. (For the record, it’s not as easy as it sounds. One day was so stressful, I was practically hyperventilating from the amount of times I told myself to breathe.)
I can only do so much in a day, and I have to pick and choose what’s most important.
My kid’s homework? Important.
My kids doing something every day after school and on the weekends all in the name of extracurricular well-roundedness? Not important.
Cooking a healthy meal that doesn’t make me feel like a busted can of biscuits? Important.
Cooking a healthy meal from scratch with ingredients not found in a local grocery store, requiring extra trips to the “specialty” store across town? Not important at all.
We don’t have to be all the things to all the people. Filling our time every minute of every day in the name of being someone we think we’re supposed to be doesn’t lead to a happy — or balanced — life. It’s OK to freaking slow down, say no to a few things, and not do everything.
There’s not a damn thing wrong with using the first of the year to set new goals and figure out what you want to work for in life. But let’s stop bullshitting ourselves that we all wake up completely different people at the first of the year, and we’ll magically start doing things we’ve avoided for the past 30-plus years.
This year I’m all about baby steps, small changes, and being a better version of myself. That seems much more doable than the new year, new me bullshit.