There I was; dipping my hand into a fresh bag of Lay’s dill pickle chips, binge watching Netflix shows, and sipping on a Mr. Pibb. I had been there pretty much the entire time since I had gotten home from work.
“I would probably feel more energetic and less lethargic if I ate better and became more active,” I think to myself. “I’ll start the first of the year.”
Here began an involuntary response to all my bad habits I’ve had the past few months — a quick, easy way out of acknowledging poor self-care.
So, January 1, 2020, rolls around and… it’s been painful. I woke up on the first and made a pot of coffee, went to put the ridiculous amount of cream I usually put into my coffee — but wait. Ugh. OK, dump some out, that’s a lot of sugar. I reach for a quick meal at lunch time; a cheese pizza I can dang-near finish off myself. Agh, no. Put it back and have cottage cheese and a wrap instead. I could not have rolled my eyes any harder at myself than in that moment.
In my “hangry” rage I scolded myself for not easing into this these past few months. Man, this would be less miserable had I begun to make steps in September. Instead, I chose the comfort and instant gratification that sweets, television, and sitting on the couch offer. It all sounds like a great idea when you’re stuffing your face with fried food and trying to squeeze into your pants — “I’ll start for the new year.”
Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu was on to something when he said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” That is what I have been slowly integrating into my 2020 life thus far, tackling small feats one at a time rather than expecting myself to accomplish an overwhelming one. Smaller goals are more attainable and are the stepping stones to your big one. Not to mention just as important, if not more important, than the big-picture goal.
I’ve brainstormed a few factors to keep it going when you feel like a resolution or goal just feels like too much.
Support. Support is huge when making a change. It increases accountability, motivation, and success overall. It’s nice to know we are never truly alone, even when what we want to accomplish feels impossible to grasp or even see. Support could mean having a partner or group of people working on a similar goal or a loved one cheering you on from the sidelines checking in to see how you’re holding up.
Remembering why you started in the first place. It’s easy to lose sight of a goal when you are feeling worn out, irritable, or lazy. It’s possible and likely you will say “To heck with this!” somewhere along the road, and that’s okay. Making changes are never easy and are uncomfortable at times.
For me, I know I will feel more energetic, happy, and rested if I make these changes. Denying myself of those rights sounds like neglect of self to me, and I know I respect myself more than that. For you, it might be wanting to be around for your children or grandchildren as they grow up, feeling more connected with your significant other, or feeling financially secure.
Making time. Having a goal is one thing, but having a plan so that it can come into fruition is another. You don’t need to sit down and map out what each day is going to look like (maybe some people will do this and that’s fine, too); however, setting aside time to work toward it is crucial. It doesn’t require a ton of planning and organizing, just mindfulness of the obtainability of the resolution.
I understand this may be another “feel good, go get ‘em” written work about New Year’s resolutions, but if anything I hope it’s another push for you to start achieving what you’ve been wanting to achieve for the past week, month, maybe year or more. Remember, it doesn’t happen all at once and there are ingredients to making it possible, as long as you just begin.