First of all, the Week 2 kickoff over at “Eating from the Farmers’ Market” is over here! So go and read it! 🙂
In other news . . .
I don’t normally make New Year’s Resolutions. There is too much pressure around them, and most people fall off the wagon in the first month, anyway. And when *I* fall off the wagon, I use it as an excuse to rip myself a new one. It’s more than a little counter-productive, you know?
I started that Geneen Roth project back in May, and one of the things I’ve been working on is being gentle with myself. It’s not reasonable to expect that if I never go to the gym that starting tomorrow I’ll go 7 days a week, or that if I never eat salad, suddenly I’ll eat 2 salads a day every single day. No wonder I can’t keep up with that, and when I can’t, I feel like I’ve Failed Life. (Please say those last 2 words in a deep booming voice. And point dramatically, too. That helps.) (What?)
And now I’m halfway done with my great experiment, and am starting to feel . . . well, normal. I’ve gained a lot of weight, which I’m not happy about, but I keep reminding myself that I said I’d give this a year. And in all fairness, my brain only started to feel normal in the last couple of months, and I’ve only started to eat measurably better in the last couple of weeks. But after 2 weeks of eating better, I should have dropped at LEAST 20 pounds, right? Right? Oh . . . maybe not. *SIGH* Those unrealistic expectations are the source of a LOT of my angst and neuroses.
So I decided to make some LITTLE changes. And then I saw a post over on Lifehacker about New Year’s Resolutions/adopting new habits, and how to make them stick and I thought, “Huh. That sounds like being gentle with yourself.” So today (comfortably past the pressure of NEW. YEAR’S. DAY.) I sat down and wrote some things out, following (some of) the guidelines in that Lifehacker post. I did it so that each month had a couple of incremental changes, and one or two months just had one big change. And when it was all said and done, the “end of year” column looked intimidating, but no individual month looked hard. And I realized how much I could really accomplish by being gentle with myself.
And you know what my first thought was?
“I don’t want that much power over my life.”
Interesting, huh? I was actually kind of taken aback by my own thought, and I really had to stop and think about where it came from. The first answer I got was that if it’s really that simple, then I’ve been MASSIVELY failing for YEARS. Like, why haven’t I already accomplished this stuff? What the hell is wrong with me? And so forth. I’m invested in failing now, because if I don’t fail now – which is to say, if it’s not too hard to do – then it means I’ve BEEN failing for YEARS, by not accomplishing it. See how that works? It’s diabolical, really.
The second answer I got was that if I really exercise that much power over my life, then I’ll have no one and nothing to blame but myself for not liking my life. As long as I keep failing as per usual, then I have something (ok, a lot of things) to blame for whatever other circumstances in my life that I don’t like. Craziness.
So I went back through my list of goals to see if I’d really overburdened myself during any given month, and the answer was no. I really hadn’t. Each individual month was do-able, building on the month before it. So I took a deep breath, looked over January’s goals (some of which I’d already started informally), and decided to move forward. It will be really interesting to see how this all plays out.