But resolving to do these things for no reason other than a flip of the calendar has never worked for me. I'm more motivated toward positive change in September when the kids go back to school and it's the start of a new routine. That tends to be when I make bold, life-changing pronouncements like "vacuum more" and "switch to almond milk."
You know, big stuff.
But when January 1st rolled around this year, I decided to tackle some of the habits that are chipping away at my overall happiness. I'm calling them my New Year's Revolutions because they're small tweaks with the potential for big change. (And also because I needed a catchier blog title).
New Year's Revolution #1: Stop scrolling through social media while still in bed and barely awake. I'm a morning person. I admit, I love this time of day when my kids are still sleepy and warm and groggy and not yet making ridiculous demands like a glass of water, or cereal.
Nine days out of ten I wake up in a great mood ready to face the day and move on from whatever dogged me the day before. My usual habit upon waking and contemplating taking my coffee intravenously is to reach for my phone to check the "news". So I start scrolling through my various feeds and sometimes what I find there is funny and inspirational and helps me start the day on a positive note, like animals being rescued, sick kids feeling better and my favourite things on sale.
Other times it's crime and death and bullying and sadness and quickly my clear, optimistic, ready to take on the world mind is now feeling sad and irritable. I don't want to shut the news out entirely but I do want to start protecting the cocoon of our happy, sleepy home just a little bit longer until I'm fully awake and ready to deal with whatever awaits me in the world.
New Year's Revolution #2: Declare a truce on my body. Believe it or not, the body image battle I wage on a daily basis isn't even rooted in what I look like. Sure, things are saggier and puffier than I would like and my days of wearing two-piece bathing suit are over with a capital O. But you know what bothers me even more? My lack of self-discipline.
I know I should stop eating when I feel full. I know I should stop snacking late at night, and I definitely know I should stop eating my feelings when I'm anxious or stressed. But I don't. I'm smart, capable and fairly disciplined in many areas of my life and I have the all the tools to be a healthy eater. I know about nutrition and clean eating, and I have the means to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables not to mention the basic math skills required to count calories.
Yet I actively choose not to, which baffles me.
Half the reason I work out is for fitness, the other half is to teach myself a damn lesson. As I'm slugging it out on the treadmill or trying not to look like a complete idiot on the weight machine with the pull down thingy, my subconscious is screaming "are you happy now? Is this what you wanted? Are you going to eat 3 brownies again tomorrow or have we learned our lesson?" (My subconscious can be a real dick.)
So when I say "embrace my body", I don't mean throw in the towel and let nature take its chubby course, I mean treat it better. Stop fighting with it. Be grateful for the arms that wrap around my family, the legs that carry me places and the butt my husband insists on "love tapping" every time he walks by. So I'm going to slow down, be more considerate of what I'm putting in my body, think in advance how I'll feel about making a poor choice and try to make good ones as often as I can. If I do all this and still eat the brownie(s) then the brownie(s) were meant to be.
New Year's Revolution #3: Teach my kids to fish. Okay, I mean that metaphorically.
You know that saying "Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime"? That's the idea. We all know it's faster to just do it ourselves. It's easier to clean up the bathtub toys than to fight with our kids about it.
It's less hassle to make the sandwich ourselves instead of answering twenty questions about where the bread is, why we bought this kind of bread, then cleaning up the mess. But guess what? When we do it for them, they don't learn to do it for themselves AND they think it's our job. Sucks, right? So instead of ploughing through the house like a hurricane with boobs, picking up stray items and making people scatter, we're going to start small and start being more responsible for our own things (she says in her best stern mommy voice).
I know I will have to repeat myself often and I also know the the speed at which these task are accomplished will probably lead to an aneurysm but I absolutely have to invest the time now because I want my kids to be self-sufficient teenagers, and also to live to see their next birthday.
So that's it. Three little changes that should lead to more peace and happiness throughout the land.
Who's with me?
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