I used to put a lot of pressure on myself on January 1st. There were always running goals and weight loss goals and writing goals and parenting goals and wife goals and professional goals and whatever other kind of goal you can think of. I used to buy new planners and/or calendars and start the year with the goal to finish the year with the same planner/calendar which I would use to help me meet all of my goals. This habit started in high school and definitely featured strongly through college and my first decade as an adult post-college navigating the working/wife-ing/mom-ing life.
Of course, inevitably it would all come crashing down and I’d throw out that planner/calendar and find a new one to start new projects and goals 2 or 3 times during the year.
The first change to that decades-long routine came with discovering Bullet Journaling in 2013. Because it’s just a notebook with blank pages, I can literally start over any time I want, but inside the same notebook. If I want to plan next month differently than this month? I can do that. If I want to start a new goal? I can do that. Every week/month feels like a new beginning as you start a new spread. Hell…for awhile I was doing new daily spreads and so every day felt like a fresh start.
The second change to that decades-long routine came during these past two years when I started changing the way I framed thoughts about myself in terms of “improvement.” First was no longer thinking of my body as something that needed changing, but then that spread to how I look at myself as a parent and a wife and a citizen of this planet and a member of the human race.
I haven’t quite solidified how I want to look at change and goal-setting without the framing of my current self as “bad” – but I know that the old way I did things and the old way I looked at things was doing absolutely nothing for my issues with self-hatred.
This is all a very long and winding way of saying: I have no goals or resolutions in 2020.
It’s not that I’m against them, I actually wanted to set some because I really feel like they’re good starting off points, even if you don’t see the finish line. But it’s so hard for me to start thinking like that as the old habits are still not gone yet and I end up spending more time reflecting on what I don’t like about myself and things I’ve failed at, and less time on goal-setting. So, until that habit is more distant…I decided to not spend time on goal-setting and resolutions this year.
I mean, I accidentally quit Diet Coke last year – something I never thought I’d be able to do. So maybe stumbling upon opportunities for improvement can sometime yield better results than calendars of steps and goals and plans.
There are general things I want to work on. I want to quit negging myself so much. I want to be more deliberate in showing gratitude. I want to allow my children to be teenagers and not react to their normal teenage behavior as if it’s come from fully-developed emotionally mature adults. (Sidenote: Are there really any full-developed emotionally mature adults? I don’t think I am one.) I want to be more present in conversations with my husband instead of waiting for him to quit talking so I can talk. I want to reach out more to people I don’t see often instead of just waiting until life brings us together again. And as always…I want to try to eat and be active in a way that makes my body work better. As I get older I have more and more food-related ailments and issues and I want to be better aware of those things and make decisions accordingly, instead of just deciding in the moment what sounds good without reflecting on how it’s going to affect my energy/fuel/pain levels later.
But none of these things come with goals or checklists or schedules. They’re just general mindsets I’m trying to shift and it feels abstract but also very concrete at the same time.
So I want to mainly surround myself with activities and tasks and entertainment that helps in general shifts in mindset. I want to keep helpful mantras in my head. I want to spend time in reflection more. Just incorporate general changes in lifestyle that help promote a basic improved wellbeing but nothing concrete that gives me feelings of failure as I continue to dig myself out of a self-imposed imprisonment of shame and hatred.
Here’s to a 2020 filled with love of self, gratitude of others, and awareness of privilege in a way that motivates activism towards health, safety and equality for others.