Wednesday, January 31, 2018

I've Kept My Resolutions. Kind Of.

Right now we're into the usual end-of-January ruffle: who's kept their New Year's resolutions, who fell off them after five days, who's mocking whom for not making it through even the first month.

Ginger was the one who recommended I write this up for today, and it's a good idea. She's on the "kept resolutions" train for the first month. And that's amazing. As for me... technically I am. But that's largely because I only made two resolutions:

1. Set a daily regimen.
2. Change it whenever it doesn't work.

My biggest flaw when it comes to getting my shit together is how ready I am to give up if I break my own record. Say my resolution involves getting up at 7 am, washing up, getting dressed, having breakfast, and starting the day with some fencing exercises. I do great for a week. Then one night I'm up late on a book deadline, or out visiting friends, or just wide awake in bed doing Fate/GO dailies. So I turn off my alarm in my sleep, wake up at 9, and have to shove a bagel in my face and get right to work. If I even can pry myself out of bed when I wake up.

Immediately, my brain goes, "You've screwed the day, no point trying, you'll never get everything done."

Yes, I've lost some hours and I've lost the kind of start I like. But even I can tell myself (despite my brain telling me the same damn thing each time) that I haven't "ruined a day" just because I didn't get up on time.

Similarly, I haven't ruined a resolution just because I made it a week and fell off one day.

This is why my resolutions were basic and have built-in adaptability. I realized my goal wasn't to do a very specific thing: it was to achieve a certain lifestyle. And I'm still figuring out how that lifestyle is achieved. Which means trial and error.

Telling myself "I will wake up every day at 7 and my mornings will go in such-and-such a way" as a resolution would have been disastrous. Why? Because I don't know if that's what's best for me. I find that I like going to bed early enough to have an early morning because my mind is active sooner, but what I do with that activity I can only dictate once I've built that habit.

We tend to think that the one time we miss is our failure point. Our "bad day" food wise, the day we forget to exercise or don't have time for a morning walk or oversleep or forget our medications. But we don't require a new day, or month, or even year to pick up where we left off.

There's a helpful symbolism to the "newness" that helps us latch back in, but if it becomes a barrier to trying and adapting and picking back up at a decent pace, the symbolism of it is more harmful than anything else. And that's what I've had to beat.

So, have I kept my resolutions? I haven't found my ideal daily regimen that helps me feel how I want to and get everything done. But I have kept the second one: rather than giving up if it doesn't work, I change and adapt based on what I've learned. And in my limited experience so far, it's been more helpful then falling off and quitting on January 5.


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