Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual" - Mark Twain
I'm not normally one for new years resolutions. I figure if I want to change something in my life, what's stopping me from doing it at any point on the calendar? But this time round I've had a change of heart. I can already feel a belter of a year coming our way, and as new years eve was such a hoot, I thought I'd use that good vibe to make a few alterations here and there. There's no point in trying to give up twenty things at once and start a strict regime of three and a half carrot sticks half way between lunch and dinner with a side of 6am boot camps and two hours of bikram yoga a day. That's how resolutions fail, and we all end up slouching in front of the tv in our brand new cycling shorts stuffing our faces with wagon wheels three weeks before Valentine's day. The way I see it, if this is going to work, it's got to be something I really want, and not just for now. If you're going to make a resolution or two, do it because you want to change bad behaviour, or work towards bettering yourself. Don't give up booze for a month just to 'prove to yourself that you can', then do nothing but bitch about how strenuous it is to not have a glass of chardonnay on a slow tuesday night. That'll never get you anywhere.
The honest truth of it is we're never going to be as perfect as we want to be. Everyone sets themselves up for failure by telling themselves they're worthless in the first place. Yes, you probably shouldn't smoke 20 cigarettes a day. But if that's what you really want to do, who's to say you're less of a human being for not being able to stop cold turkey every January 1st? Coffee, cigarettes, booze, mars bars, married men, swearing; whatever your vice is, if you're happy and it's working for you, stick with it. If the only reason you're giving it up is because you think it's expected of you, your heart will never really be in it. Then when you inevitably fail, you'll feel worse than you did before this whole resolution thing even started. We need some real - life resolutions to help us all feel less like losers...
- Don't feel like you HAVE to give something up or start something new. If you like things the way they are but still feel like you can improve them, then do that. Vow to do something you like more, or something you don't like less. Say you like that night with the girls you have once a month, but every time you wake up the next day and see the eight empty wine bottles on the floor you feel nothing but shame and regret. Don't tell yourself you have to give up the booze, because then what? no girls night? sod that, add another night per month but minus the wine. best of both worlds.
- Figure out what your goal is. Picking a vague resolution like "lose weight!" "be healthy!" or "stop cheating on my fiancee!" is like flailing around blindfolded with a golf club in your hand trying to swat a fly. You're not going to hit any targets, and you'll probably do more harm than good. Giving yourself a target that is immeasurable means you won't get to revel in your progress and feel good about what you're doing. Set an actual, measurable goal that you'll know when you reach, and it'll be a much more pleasurable experience.
- Keep trying. Don't pussy out straight away if you slip up. Oh no! It's Brenda's birthday at the office and she baked a cake for us! Shit, that's me done for another year. That's a load of tosh and you know it. So you had a piece of cake, or a glass of wine, or didn't go to the gym tonight. That doesn't mean it's over. And it doesn't mean you have to work extra hard at it tomorrow to make up for it. Why are you punishing yourself? Life is too short not to eat birthday cake. Keep going after that, stick to the routine you've decided on and see it through. Getting over those little bumps in the road actually makes you feel pretty awesome.
These are some of the things I've decided to work on this year...
I tried to work out what the best course of action would be for me this year, but there were so many different things I wanted to work on, I knew that if I tried to do them all it would be too much, and I'd spend another year staring at the computer screen in my pj's losing hours in front of pinterest wondering why my life is not as colourful and intricately staged as the images I added to my boards. The answer is because you're a lazy bitch. You'd rather sit and stare at things other people do than put the effort in and actually try it yourself.
Harsh, but true.
I am SO lazy. About everything. Procrastination is my expert field, and if there's something important that I really have to do, you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be taking a nap instead. All the things I want to achieve this year lead back to one simple action. BE LESS LAZY.
Every time I need to do something like the washing up, draw a picture or put clothes on that aren't grey and baggy and smell like socks, if I actually just stop thinking about how much of an effort or a pain in the ass it is and just do it, I get like ten extra things done a day.
So that's what I'm attempting to do. It's going well so far, although it is January 14th and I'm writing about new year's resolutions... one step at a time...
I've come up with a bunch of ways to help me cheat when it comes to laziness. I've found that cutting corners is an amazing way to get things done and have time to slob out in your slippers with a cup of tea. I'll keep you informed on some good lazy girl techniques for easy living.
The other day I horrified myself with horrendous behaviour towards a complete stranger, and it made me realize that the kind of person I want to be is going to take work.
I was unlocking my bike outside the wine shop on Davie when I noticed out of the corner of my eye a guy and his dog in the middle of the sidewalk. The dog was squatting away right in the middle, and his owner was looking around desperately to see if anyone had spotted it. I won't go into detail, but what the dog left was more of a puddle than anything else, there was no way anyone could pick that up, and the owner knew it. He looked bashfully my way and rather embarrassed, began to walk away.
"So you're just going to leave that there?" was my question, in a catty voice I shamefully have much practice in.
He shrugged, looked even more embarrassed and expressed his dismay in not being able to remedy the situation without the help of a hose or some sort of disgusting vacuum.
At this point I turned on my heels with my nose in the air and left him with a nasty judgmental comment that sat in my mouth like tar for the rest of the day. As soon as I said it I was disgusted with myself and the idea that it was instinct to me to chastise the poor man, not help him out.
That is what I want to change. That knee-jerk reaction to be a pain to complete strangers in a jam. Lending a helping hand, a kind word, or even just understanding someone else's circumstances can be the make or break of a stranger's day. Sometimes what's happening isn't their fault, and we've all had days like that. It all goes wrong, and then some arsehole comes and gives you a hard time for it, leaving you metaphorically huddled on the ground in the fetal position close to tears. Or not metaphorically, depending on your day.
I decided I didn't want to be that arsehole anymore. I started the other day when we went to the pub for lunch. My first reaction was to internally judge the lack of table clearing and poor service, but after I noticed that the bar tender was on his own, instead I cleared a few tables for him. It makes no difference to me, but a big difference to his day.
I have a nasty habit of taking my body for granted. Thinking that it'll always carry my weight, look this good and keep my juicy parts on the inside is a bit naive if I'm not looking out for it. It's a partnership, like that crap part of star wars about the metachlorians. Mind and body depend on each other, and if I'm not careful I could wind up screwing them both up.
Before christmas I went through a really low phase. I was always tired, had zero motivation to do even the simplest of tasks, and couldn't really reach a level of happiness to put me in a good mood. Nothing was making a difference, no matter what I did or who I saw, I was unamused by everything.
Then I stopped drinking soda, and drank two litres of water a day instead. The transformation was incredible, and I was all of a sudden back to my usual self. It made me realize that a poor diet can ruin more than just my figure, which is something else I need to work on after all those ferrero rocher on christmas eve.
I'm going back to the paleo diet on weekdays. If I give myself the weekends off, what I usually find is that I don't want to cheat anyway, because I feel good about what I'm doing to my body and want to carry on. The difference it's already making to my hair and skin is making me wonder why I ever gave it up in the first place...oh right, so I could stuff my face with bagels. Good choice.
I figured out a decent measurable goal for each of these, but I won't bore you with the details. if i start to think about it too much, the old ways are starting to look pretty damn good...
Whatever resolutions you come up with, good luck with it all. I'm sure you're perfect just the way you are, but hey, what's a little tweaking here and there?