I usually don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I have a short attention span and, well, it requires I resolve to do and be certain things for a whole doggone year. That’s a lot of focus time for someone like me! But this year I am jumping on that bandwagon and going to give it a try. Me being me, though, I will apply the 80/20 rule. I resolve to do these things 80% of the time. (Oh, stop turning up your nose and rolling your eyes at me. Your face is going to freeze that way. If I chose to grade my life on a curve, let me.) So I am going to pick 10 things, in various areas of my life. So…in no certain order….
1. I am going to move more throughout my work day. I have a very sedentary job, and way too often I don’t move much during the day. I read something this year that said sitting three hours a day can take two years off your life. I have often found myself sitting five and six with no movement, often enough that it is embarrassing. I think I am in a trouble zone. I probably should be dead already. So, I am going to find ways to incorporate activity throughout my day. It may doing a series of 25 squats, it may be working for a while on an exercise ball, it may be doing a set of push-ups, it may be walking up the driveway or 5 minutes on the treadmill. More activity will be in my day.
2. I will run, walk, or bike 700 miles. Some of my buddies are doing 1,000. I have to make sure I don’t feel doomed before I start. You must know what challenges you, and I do better with realistic goals. 700 miles is 13.5 miles a week. That’s very ambitious for me, but I can see it as possible. Yeah, I need help with this, so call me if you need to move and would prefer not doing it alone! Hmmmm….. kayaking should count too, right? Forward movement…that’s it. I will move forward 700 mi. during the year. Just ordered my Christmas present to myself, a Fitbit, so it will be tracked.
3. I am going to get rid of some of the flab on my arms. Weights need to make a comeback, but push-ups and such need to join them. At this time in my life, sleeves make me crazy. They seem way too hot. So if my arms are going to be on parade, they don’t need to be the clowns. One if my favorite quotes of 2013 is that training is a privilege. I don’t accept that to my core yet….but my brain is telling me it is true. Until it is time to train, at which point it seems to short circuit.
4. I will travel somewhere I have never been. Travel is one of my biggest passions, but in some ways I have let life get in the way of this great love. Oh, I know I have still traveled more than many, but not enough that I am seeing the chunks of the world I want to see. I need to take advantage of as many opportunities to explore this world as I can. I am quite excited that some friends and family members have said they may be willing to join me. Will some of this come to pass? I hope so! I can do it myself, but I think there is something special about sharing the experience.
5. I will value people. That doesn’t mean that I have to like everyone or even spend time with certain people, but I will do my best to treat people with dignity and respect. Even the jerks. Because honestly, most of us are jerks deep down…some don’t want to look in the mirror, and some hide it well.
6. I won’t allow the opinions of others to define who I am….or how I see others. I know from my own life sometimes people are unfair. Some are nice to your face and undermine you behind your back. Some do this never granting you the courtesy of telling you their issue with you….which means they would rather talk negatively about you and prefer you not change. (That means they are the ones with the bigger problem!) It doesn’t matter the position of the person, their education level or experience, how much you respect them, whether everyone else puts them on a pedestal….their opinion can be wrong. So while I consider opinions when given to me (and will always try to see criticism as a gift), I will also consider they may be wrong about me. If they are, I will try not to hate them for it. Even wrong, it may be well intentioned. Or they just may be naysayers who are unhappy and critical of me because they are critical of themselves. As for their criticism of you, I will give it even less credence than their criticism of me. And if I give you my opinion about something in your life, I will do my best to say it once and move along. As friends we need to care enough to point certain things out, then care enough to not beat each other over the head. Obviously if you are my friend, I love you regardless of these things that are usually petty. And let us not forget my opinion may be wrong. It has happened. More than once.
7. I will eat well. I won’t diet, I won’t cut any one food from my life, but I will eat lots of good food. I will attempt to not make eating an afterthought. Instead if trying to ignore it until I must eat, I will try to think more about food and graze throughout the day. I will engage my brain more, I will eat as much color as possible. I will eat enough protein, and for me that includes red meat. Regardless of what is best for others, without it I become anemic. I will try to not eat bad food. That doesn’t mean what others call bad food, but instead badly prepared food. Food that I eat just to eat. Fortunately I was raised to eat fairly nutritiously, and I like healthy food, so I will eat it. I will do a better job of watching portion sizes, and will not beat myself up if I screw up from my plan. It’s that 80/20 rule again….I don’t have to be perfect. Food will be important, fun, enjoyed, and not forbidden.
8. I will try to reach out to people more. My putting that “try” in there shows a lack do commitment, I know, but this is much harder for me than people would think. I find I get discouraged when I try to plan something with others and they tell me no. (It seems to work better with my friends if I can just say yes when they are planning something.) I probably spend more time alone than is healthy for me. I think perhaps I am missing out on some of why I was created because of this. I speak often of my introvert love of being by myself with books and no plans. I do not plan to stop that completely….I cherish that time. But we weren’t designed to live in the world by ourselves. I was not born to live independently and alone, even though life is easier that way. I need to stretch the social muscles more. It makes me smile when some doubt I am an introvert and think I am constantly with people. Lots of years of social effort has paid off. But regression happens easily, so those muscles need to be used.
9. I am going to learn about something new. I think one of my target subjects is accupressure and reflexology. I think the basic concepts make sense and as I age I would rather be informed about non-invasive ways to cure some of the ailments that spring up. I don’t want to constantly use medications as a first resort. Not that I am anti-medication or traditional medicine, but I think sometimes we demand harsh things from our doctors when there may be kinder and gentler solutions. The fact is our body is a complex machine, and sometimes we look in the wrong direction for help. Maybe we’re like Dorothy Gale (from the Wizard of Oz) and we’ve always had the power!
10. I will get to know God better. That requires I focus on him and pay attention. You can read the Bible a million times and memorize the words. You can listen to the words of preachers and evangelists and teachers and make them your own. You can go to church every Sunday, teach Sunday School, put God in every sentence you speak, yet still miss the point. We get to have a personal relationship with God. Mine is different than yours, because he created me uniquely. He created you uniquely. To get the most out of life, we need to fill up our senses with God. We need to hear, see, speak, taste and smell God. I want to breathe him in, and breathe the junk out. While breathing comes naturally, breathing with God takes some focus. I want all senses on alert, and I want to watch him at work in my life and in the others around me. That takes acknowledgment. My tendency is to put myself first, and see everything revolving around me. I have to change what comes naturally and let the world revolve around God.
Yes, some of these things I have been working on but sometimes you need to take time to re-commit. I’ll try to track, and report both the successes and where I fail miserably. I suspect I will do both. But the great thing about a new year is that it contains lots of new days. Even more moments. Those are more significant than a new year. Because we don’t have to wait for a new year to make a resolution. We can make positive changes at any time. Sometimes they become more than a resolution. They become the fabric of who we are, and they happen without a thoughtful commitment required.