Saturday, January 15, 2011

New Year's Commitments

So I seem to have something against New Year's resolutions. It's not so much the idea that I have an issue with, it's that they have become something that people go overboard with and then by the end of January, most (if not all) of them have fallen by the wayside. If they were things that people really committed to, I feel like the concept would hold more weight and I'd be able to take it more seriously. But, like I said, I kind of like the idea of taking the time at the beginning of the year (or really any time one can make a conscious, positive change in their life) to think about what we would like to change about our lives and realistic things we can do to make that change happen. I think sometimes people sabotage their own resolutions by aiming a little too high. They might really wish they could go to the gym five times a week, eat only healthy food, and lose a lot of weight. But when it comes down to the reality of it, life can get in the way. The first week things might go well, but when something comes up during the second or third week and getting to the gym becomes more difficult or picking up a pizza on the way home from work is all you have energy for, it's easy to quickly forget about the resolutions you made or to just decide that they're not worth the effort involved. And we want instant gratification which is an issue I think most, if not all, of us have. So when we haven't seen the results we want after a few weeks or a month, we lose our motivation to keep it up and revert back to our old ways.

I'm not by any means saying that everyone is like this, I am sure there are people who make New Years resoultions who stand by them and keep them throughout the year, but that doesn't seem to be the norm. And I want to get away from the idea of only making these life changes at the beginning of the year when they can be made purposefully anytime in the year.

So, now that I've gotten all that off my chest, I do have some changes that I would like to make in my life. I will call them committments. So here are my commitments.

1) I want to make time to write more often - daily if I can and if not daily then at least 3 or 4 times a week. The writing doesn't need to be anything fancy or that I would share with anyone, but more for myself. I really love writing, it is such a great tool of self expression, and I have not done a very good job of doing it on a regular basis. But I would like to change that. So I'm making a commitment to doing this for myself.

2) I want to work on my financial stability and building up my savings. This has been hard for me to do in the past for various reasons but I feel like now is the time when I am finally able to focus on this. I'm not going to put a monetary amount for how much I want to save, but I'm making a commitment to put some money into my savings every month (and leaving it there).

3) I want to really take the time to do the things necessary to take care of myself. That seems really broad so I'll break it down into the things that are most important to me right now (and that I feel are most realistic).

a) I'm making a commitment to get more sleep on a regular basis. My goal is at least 9 hours most nights (which means going to bed by 9 the nights before I work) and no less than 8 hours.

b) I'm making a commitment to taking all my pills and medication and taking them on time (or as close to on time as possible).

4) I want to start getting rid of things I don't need or use. This will be a slow process, but I'm making a commitment to taking the first steps and beginning to look around at my apartment with more critical eyes, more willing to admit that I don't actually need or use everything.

That's pretty much it for the biggest things I want to focus on. There are other little things I want to do, like being better about watching my Netflix movies and returning them. And spending more time with my cats (which may seem silly to some people but cat people will understand). And in the back of my mind I do have those big ideas that I know would be great for me to do but right now are just too much for me to try to commit to. One step at a time. And when all of these things become second nature, then I'll be able to take on more changes. You can't try to change everything at once or you're just setting yourself up for disaster. And I'm not saying I'll definitely manage with what I'm trying to commit myself to, but it seems to be a somewhat manageable list.

I challenge you all to think about your life and come up with just a few things, not enormous things, that you can start to work towards changing. I feel like making huge leaps towards changing things can more often result in falling flat on your face, but if you take smaller steps and do things a little at a time, you can be more likely to actually reach your goal and create a change that will stick. So, what can you commit to?