Ok, so this is a day late. OH, WELL. Ha! 🙂
Every year I wonder about New Year’s Resolutions. I wonder if I should make them, if I should tell people I’ve made them, if I should just chuck them and set goals, WHAT SHOULD I DO? The pressure of a resolution. Holy cow.
Usually I just don’t make them. I’ve learned that there is nothing that will make me feel like a failure faster than breaking resolutions – especially ones I’ve announced to other people. But this year (or rather late last year, waaaaaaay back in December ’08, LOL), it just seemed like the time had come for some changes. Please note: not “The Time Had Come.” But rather, *whispers* “the time had come.”
My life so far has played out in a series of 10-year cycles. For the first 10 years I felt like the fat nerd. Turned out I wasn’t fat (though I was DEFINITELY a nerd). For the next 10 years, I felt like a fat dancer. And by normal standards I wasn’t fat, but by dancing standards I was. For the last 10 years, I’ve felt fat. Just fat, no qualifiers. And honestly, I have been. I don’t think it’s due to my set point (though I’m sure that mine is higher than most people’s, but that’s because I carry a LOT of muscle, and when I reach that set point, that will be that – no starving); I think it’s due to complusive eating and/or Binge Eating and/or bingeing and starving. And this last year was sort of the Year of the Eating Disorder. It was the year where I had to confront that demon over and over, until I couldn’t really tell myself it was No Big Deal anymore. I had to recognize that yes, it WAS a Big Deal, and that as long as I pretended it wasn’t, I wasn’t going to get better. So I dealt with a lot of things (most of them right here on this blog), and exorcised a lot of demons and learned about myself in ways that I had been hiding from and ignoring. But it was all good, because along the way I discovered COMPASSION for myself. I discovered that I didn’t HAVE to be perfect. That falling off the horse didn’t mean I couldn’t ride; it just meant that I lost my balance for a minute. (And that no one was looking at me falling; I’m NOT THAT IMPORTANT, LOL. Ok, I’m still working on that one, but at least I realize it intellectually!! Ha!)
And last month, somewhere in the beginning of the month, a little voice in the back of my head said, “Now, it’s time.” It wasn’t the big, booming voice that announced “IT’S TIME TO BE DIFFERENT! BETTER! THINNER! PRETTIER! AND ALL BY TOMORROW!!! (OR NEXT WEEK AT THE LATEST!)” No, this was a still, small voice that said very little. Just, “Now. It’s time.” So I got up and I went to the gym. And I dragged out my food journal (with much anxiety and trepidation, because it had always been something that sent me spiraling into the depths of starving and bingeing like crazy). And I signed up for some Tae Kwon Do lessons (because yay! for learning new skills!). And I learned some things about myself. I learned that if I listened to the still, small voice instead of the big booming one, there was no insanity in the food journal. I learned that if I listed to the still, small voice, I NOTICED how good I felt when I got LOTS of exercise and LOTS of sleep. I learned mostly, to listen to THAT voice and not the loud one.
And then there was Christmas. I’m still recovering from Christmas, to be honest. I got myself on the junk food cycle, and this week I had PMS like you wouldn’t BELIEVE and trying to eat healthy left me literally crying in the kitchen one night because I WANTED SOME CHIPS, DAMMIT, AND THERE WERE NONE IN THE HOUSE, AND I DIDN’T WANT TO GO TO THE GROCERY STORE (I was SUPER-rational that night). So I decided forget it, if it was THAT important to some part of me to eat junk food, I would eat junk food this week, too. And now here I am at the end of the week, and I can hear that voice again: “Now. It’s time.” And somehow, that voice is so sure of itself, that it inspires total faith. I know that voice: it’s the part of me that KNOWS when the time has arrived (and when it hasn’t). It’s the part that until this year, was (almost) always drowned out by the bigger, booming (lying) voice. And I know that tomorrow I’ll get up, and go to the grocery store and buy vegetables and fruits and chicken and fish. And I won’t eat pizza or garlic bread as a general rule, and that IT WILL BE OK, and I WILL FEEL BETTER. Amazing.
So, I DID make some goals for this year, though I still have to refine them. That’s a job for this weekend. But these goals are really just out-loud statements from that little voice – statements that it made almost a month ago.
I won’t be sharing them, though. I have discovered, through long years of trial-and-error (and error and error) that although most people swear by sharing their goals and “being accountable,” that when I announce a goal, I become so overwhelmed by the thought of not finishing it and what a failure I’ll be seen as if I DON’T finish it, that I paralyze myself. I can’t move forward toward the goal, because no step I take is big enough, no change I make is important enough. So I sit, unmoving, incapacitated, and as the deadline for my goal approaches, and I haven’t made any changes, I interpret it as yet another failure, and that stamps itself on my heart: WORTHLESS FAILURE. AGAIN.
But I notice, as I look back, that there were goals I DID accomplish. Invariably though, they were goals I did NOT share. They were goals that existed only in my head, and therefore if I took a tiny step instead of a giant leap, *I* might have been disappointed, but I did not have to confess a “failure” to anyone else. And not having to confess my “sins” meant that I was free to try again, without that stamp on my heart. Those goals, I almost always acheived.
For me, a goal of any kind is sort of like a baby chick inside an egg. As long as it’s protected inside my head and heart, it grows and is nourished. But if I expose that chick to the elements before it’s matured, it stops growing, and dies. (Leading of course, to that inevitable stamp.)
So this year, I have some goals. Not because it’s January 1, but because it was time. And I won’t be sharing those goals until . . . well, I don’t know when. Maybe when I’ve made some progress. Or when I’ve reached them. Or (most likely) when I’ve made some progress and then hit a snag and need some help to move forward. I might share them then.
But right now? They’re protected in my head and heart, growing and maturing. It’s time to start working on them. But it’s not time to share them. They aren’t ready to hatch yet.