It’s the time of year where people both make and break their lofty New Year’s resolutions. Personally, I’ve never been into resolutions myself. That’s because anytime I’ve attempted them, I’ve fallen completely flat on my face trying to stick with them. So I never bother anymore.
But this year is different. This year I’ve resolved to not make rigid “resolutions,” but to make general “improvements.” And while in the grand scheme of things these may be similar to everyone else’s, here’s where mine differ.
For starters, I just have one: BE WELL.
That’s it. Except it isn’t really it. Because blanketed under the resolution to BE WELL is a whole host of things, few of which I’ve actually pinpointed.
I haven’t committed to anything specifically. I haven’t made any earth-shattering declarations. I’ve offered no particular timelines, goal numbers, or milestones. I have no “resolution buddy” or self-improvement group to offer me accountability. Because to BE WELL, I need to focus on myself. Nobody else.
Part of that is because I know if I do commit to those things, I am more likely to abandon them. Any time I make a goal to lose X number of pounds or to exercise X number of minutes per day or to eat X number of healthy foods per week or to read X number of books per month and to report that progress to others, I inevitably fail. I cave under the pressure to keep these far-fetched and unrealistic objectives, to prove myself to somebody else, and let’s be honest: that hardly helps anyone to BE WELL.
The other part of that is because I’m not exactly sure yet what it takes to truly BE WELL.
I do know it requires taking care of myself. So I’m going to start by drinking less. That’s right. There will be no #DryJanuary for me, because frankly, I like to drink. I enjoy a glass of wine with a gourmet-ish meal or at the end of a long day. Depriving myself of something I genuinely enjoy isn’t going to help me BE WELL. It’s going to make me grouchy. And grouchy people aren’t WELL. So I’m going to try to have one glass of wine when I want it instead of two. And if I do wind up having two? It won’t be the end of the world, and I won’t be frustrated to the point of giving up altogether.
Another thing I’m going to do to take care of myself? Try to take my medication regularly. This should be a no-brainer, but I often forget mine, which throws me into an anxiety-ridden loop of too much, too little, too much, too little. Therefore, my serotonin is never balanced. So I’m going to set a reminder to take it each day. And if I forget? It’s not the end of the world. Because my resolution is not to take my medication each day. It’s to BE WELL, which means to try to remember to take it each day like a normal adult human.
The third thing? Get some exercise. Not a certain amount of cardio and a certain amount of strength training each day. Not to lose a certain number of pounds. Just to get some exercise. Period. Whether that means walking around the block, mainlining crime dramas while jogging on my treadmill, or stretching at the end of the day, I’m going to make a conscious effort to get some exercise. So if I miss a day, or a week, or even a month, who cares? My target numbers won’t be thrown off, and I won’t feel the need to throw up my hands in defeat.
And these things? Will likely help with the next, which is to get quality sleep. Not more sleep. Quality sleep. There’s a difference. The better I take care of my body, the better I take care of my mind. And a healthy mind equals quality sleep, which leads to BEING WELL.
I imagine I’ll add other “improvements” as the year grows, such as giving myself permission to not be busy and reading for enjoyment and spending more quality time with my family. Things that will help me to BE WELL, not just this year, but in general. And while I may not know right now what those “improvements” will entail, I do know they will have no particular numbers attached to them or shared spreadsheets on which to record them. I also know there is a sense of freedom in being able to make those “improvements” whatever they need to be in that moment.
Because my resolution to BE WELL this year has fuck all to do with anyone but myself. For some people, announcements and accountability work. I’ve learned that is not the case for me and have grown to accept this about myself. So there will be no numbers, no targets, no pressure. Merely the conscious choice to do what I can, when I can to be kind to number one.
And I’m feeling so much better for it already.