Resolved.

Every year I struggle with the issue of New Year’s resolutions. Some years I don’t even bother because I know I’m going to fail to keep them. Other years I have a brief enthusiasm for one idea or another that fizzles before the end of the month. In truth, I know very few people who make a New Year’s resolution that affects their life in a lasting manner. The problem is that I am married to one of those few. Five years ago, my husband resolved to lose weight. And then he did. And continues to do so. The man weighs something like 120 pounds less than he did when we were first married. (In this, as in so many other ways, he continues to impress me). So, this year I’ve decided to give resolutions another go. But I’m going to approach the issue a little differently, based on what I’ve learned about myself in the past. I have found that a change that you plan to make at a certain date in the future has far less chance of success than one you begin right away: the diet that you plan to begin next week is always less successful than not eating a cookie this afternoon. I have also found that changes cannot be an all-or-nothing affair: if you do eat the cookie, you cannot use that as an excuse to have the brownie and the lemon square too. Really caring about something means that you are willing to pursue it imperfectly and to try again each time you fail.

Over the past few weeks, I have been thinking about what it is that I really care about and which I would like to do differently. The list was initially quite long and I quickly deduced that I needed to take a this-for-that approach. A mother with a toddler, a baby, and a household to take care of cannot simply start adding more to her life. So, things like “take more photos” and “make more art” were set aside for now in favor of things I deemed more important. Also, some things that I do now need to be dropped to make room for others. In the end, I came up with the list below. I am making it public in hopes that some of you will ask me from time to time how I am doing and that I might remember to comment about my success or failure.

(1) To lose weight. Yup, the classic. Specifically, I would like to get down to 135 lbs and a definite size 8 by my 32nd birthday on April 29. Before you get up in arms about breastfeeding women trying to diet, let me say that just trying to eat healthier usually tips me in the right direction. If I drink a green smoothie in the morning, eat salad sometime during the day, snacks on fruit or veggies, save the sweets for special occasions, and just apply self control in general, I usually very slowly drop some weight. I am currently about five pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight, even after having eaten like a pig for about four months after Beatrice was born. Unfortunately, I got in the habit of eating way too many carbs and quick meals and have been trying to get back on track, so this is a continuation of something I have already begun. I have something like 8 pounds to go, so I think I can do it. And then I can spend birthday money on some new clothes. :)

(2) To exercise most days. I started walking again a few days after Beatrice was born and progressed to jogging when she was about 3 months old. I felt great, but it proved unsustainable. There is just no good time of day to run by myself, and there is no zen to huffing behind a double jogger with a chatty toddler and a fat baby who wants to grab her sister’s stuff. (Let’s just say that they don’t call it a “double sprinter” for a reason.) Plus, I have weird scalp/hair issues and if I have to wash my hair every day then I need to cut it short. And I kinda like having long hair again. So, jogging is out. I scaled it back to a daily walk of 1 to 2.5 miles but got lazy when the weather cooled off and getting the girls ready took practically as long as the actual exercise. But husband and I have been taking little afternoon walks and I can get back in the habit of doing some sit ups and stretches before I shower in the morning.

(3) To read more books and less computer screens. I used to be a  big reader when I was younger, but sometime in the past few years I fell off the horse. I can say in all honesty that I rarely read pages anymore and that most of my reading is on a screen. I really want to change that. Since my free time is (very) limited, I decided that I want to read more than I want to draw or sew or batch edit great photos of my kids.  And, I specifically want to read old/classic books. Husband and I started The Brothers Karamazov at the beginning of break, so I want to finish that and then start on some other great gift books (really, the topic of reading deserves its own post). I also started a new commonplace book, which I am excited to fill up. To make book reading possible, I know that I need to cut back on my computer time. I never sit down and think “now I’m going to spend 5 minutes on facebook, 10 minutes blog-hopping, and then 10 minutes looking at expensive sweaters,” it just seems to happen. So, I am pondering ways to curtail my online time (only in the evening? set a timer?) so that I hopefully get in the habit of reaching for a book instead of the laptop if I get a quiet minute to sit down. Any suggestions to this end are greatly appreciated!

(4) To shop in person rather than online. I wish this was out of some sort of “shop local” conviction, but it’s really a continuation of no. 3. I have a Goodwill budget but J.Crew aspirations, and I find that I can spend a lot of time cruising the internet for items that I never actually purchase. Plus, I’m really picky about fit and almost never take a chance on something non-returnable. So, I think I just need to quit. Whether it’s clothes or shoes or fabric, I need to see it in person to make a purchase. We have pretty good sources for a lot of things in Pensacola and I mostly shop at the thrift store anyway, so online shopping is rarely necessary for something other than books or the occasional obscure baby item. Bye bye, Boden and Piperlime and Lands End Canvas. Now to find a way to stop looking at potential craft/sewing projects that never happen either!

Are you making resolutions this year? If so, what are they?

 

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4 thoughts on “Resolved.

  1. “ Really caring about something means that you are willing to pursue it imperfectly and to try again each time you fail “ ~ This is so helpful, so wise. Thank you.

    Ditto to all you’ve experienced with New Years resolutions. Interestingly enough, though, I had decided to make one this year, too. If I succeed, you’ll know – if not, you’ll know. I want to enjoy the journey most of all.

  2. Oh, yeah. Shopping online is a huge problem for me too. Amazon.com has me wrapped around its virtual finger. I have searched for a way to block the website from my computer, but all the options seem like they could open the door to hackers. I do find such good deals online too, but it’s like a part-time job to get them. I am a consumer, and I hope to change that.

    Here are some on my list:

    -Raise plants.
    -Visit a monastery.
    -Illustrate “The Banyan Deer” in a graphic novel style.
    -Read two books on Iconography.
    -Convert to an early-riser.

    • Those sound really good. We would like to visit a monastery too but I think the nearest one is a long ways away. If we manage to go back to WA this summer, there is one on an island near my grandfather’s house that we haven’t been to yet. I feel sad that art isn’t on my list, but I think it’s more important for me to read right now (and I’m not even doing much of that!). Since Josh reads a lot, I feel as though I often get intellectually stagnant by contrast. Even encountering just a few new ideas every day helps us to have more to talk about in the evening than just what the kids did that day.

  3. Pingback: Week 32. «

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