I’ve been thinking a lot about New Year’s resolutions over the last couple of weeks, which is quite unusual for me. I am not a resolver, and never have been. When pressed on my lack of an annual list, I generally say something along the lines of “I don’t need an arbitrary date on the calendar to make changes in my life” – with enough of an air of superiority that the subject usually gets dropped. (I know. Nice, right?)
Here’s the truth: I don’t make New Year’s resolutions because I don’t keep them. Can’t keep them. Won’t keep them. I am entirely without discipline.
(Well, that might be overstating it. I am, in fact, sufficiently disciplined to be effective and successful professionally, but not enough to have any carryover whatsoever to my personal life.)
If I vow to lose 20 pounds, I keep a food journal and diligently track food and exercise for the first five pounds, and then I get bored and stop. If I decide to save money (and calories) by bringing my lunch every day, I’ll do it for a week at most, and then quickly slip back into my old habits. If I say I’m going to write a blog post every day for a month, I quit after day 29. If I want to get more sleep and/or wake up earlier… well, if that even happens once, it’s a miracle. I backslide right into my comfort zone almost immediately.
So that’s what happens when I think about resolutions. I bog myself down in a giant pit of negativity, and seriously, who wants that? Best to avoid, right?
What I realized this year was that I need to resolve my way out of this – out of my lack of discipline and out of the default of my comfort zone. And the first step is to actually make a public New Year’s resolution, since I am so uncomfortable with them. (The solution is in the problem, right?)
And so, I resolve to make 2012 a year of discipline and discomfort.
I’m not gonna lie, the discipline part is not likely to be awesomely fun, but I’m going to break it down to one thing per month so it’s not entirely unmanageable. For January, I’m bringing my lunch to work every day, unless I have pre-scheduled plans. Like real, on-the-calendar, meet-at-a-restaurant plans.
I think the discomfort part is going to be a lot more exciting, since it’s going to involve saying yes to at least one thing every month that normally I’d say no to – like speed dating or a class in something I’m awful at, like drawing. Anything where my default impulse is “but I don’t/can’t do that” is going to get a yes. (Well, as long as it’s legal/ethical. I want to do interesting, creative stuff, not end up in the pokey.)
And finally, in a feat that will require a bit of both discipline and discomfort, I’ve decided to try writing every day on the blog. Or, more accurately, posting every day, since photoblogging totally counts. I have no idea is even possible (I mean, how much Internet connectivity will I have during my two weeks in Alaska this summer?) but I’m going to give it a try.
So, anyway… there it is. A resolution.
Oh, and Happy New Year to all… And I hope your resolutions came with less mental stress than mine.