Well, here it is again. That thing every year that I dread.
New Year's Resolutions - a list of things I need to change, improve, stop doing or start doing, usually things I don't want to change, improve, stop doing or start doing. Common New Year's Resolutions are to lose weight, stop smoking, stop drinking, be nicer, exercise, get a better job, stop moaning, well, you know the drill.
There was only one year that I can remember that I didn't feel the need to make the usual New Year's Resolution to lose weight. That was the year I had lost 50 pounds and was down to a weight I liked, though still pounds over what I was when I met Hubby. But since I have gained back half of that over the last five years or so, "losing weight" is back on the list.
I have my 50th High School Reunion coming up this year and, though I have never been to a high school or college reunion, this year I am going to do it. I have found several of my classmates on Facebook and interact with them on almost a daily basis, so I would love to see them again in person.
I know something like a high school reunion is usually a catalyst for people to lose weight or make some other changes. Having something to work toward is often a motivator. For example, my daughter and her husband have taken up running and to motivate themselves, she plans to run a half marathon and he plans to run a marathon, so they see their runs as training for those upcoming events. Likewise, you would think my high school reunion would be the same kind of motivator for me. I want to surprise my old classmates with how great I would look, right? But you know what? For me, thinking of having to get myself in shape for the reunion and what my classmates might think of me if I don't has the opposite effect. It stresses me out so much that I head straight for the salted caramel ice cream!
Last year I tried to get around this whole resolutions thing by having an "Un-Resolutions" list, not a list of what I was going to change or do, but a list of things that I was NOT going to do in 2015. As I review that list (which I probably immediately forgot as soon as 2015 rolled around, which is fairly typical. Guess how long people keep working on their New Year's Resolutions? I think by February most people are saying, "New Year's Resolutions? What are those?"), I can see some advantages to these types of resolutions.
Anyway, let me recap some of last year's "un-resolutions."
--Don't gain any more weight.
Did that. I'm still fat but I didn't get any fatter.
--Don't add any more bad habits to my life
Mmm, does upping my daily Starbucks nonfat sugar free vanilla latte from a tall to a grande count? Or cutting my toe nails with scissors?
---I am not going to enable my wine-guzzling poodle anymore
Oops. I can't say that I have not given him a sip or two over the last year, but after an unfortunate incident where he fell off the bed, I have definitely cut his intake down.
---Not buying clothes I don't try on
I completely forgot about that one
---I vowed to NOT stop watching TV.
You're damn right! Can't miss the last season of "Downton Abbey," the next dose of "Game of Thrones," my daily dose of "The View (I think of them as my dysfunctional friends)" or "Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars!" *
The rest consisted of my not stopping my quest to get Oprah's attention, not ordering Hubby around, not bitching about the state of the world and not beating myself up if I couldn't live up to my un-resolutions, all of which were met with varying success over the last year.
So if you are someone whose resolve to change flies out the window some time between January 15 and February 1, I recommend that "un-resolution" approach.
However, since I already did that, I thought I would go back to the traditional list, though instead of giving myself a very tall order as Hubby has done -- his resolution every year is "to be a better person" to which I always reply, "Good luck with that," I would concentrate on some little things.
All of the experts say that if you set resolutions that are unquantifiable, all-encompassing and vague, you might as well not make them at all. In Hubby's case, his quest "to be a better person" includes losing weight, drinking less, working out more, making more money and probably finding the fountain of youth. Ain't gonna happen.
I, on the other hand, the wiser and more practical one, if I do say so myself, have decided that this year I am going to give myself some small, more attainable goals to achieve.
Yes, losing weight will always be on the table but that's not something I need to resolve every year. It's something I need to resolve every DAY!
So here are
"My Little New Year's Resolutions for 2016."
1. Walk Tarquin every day (that it's not pouring down rain).
I live in a lovely wooded area and people are out walking their dogs all of the time, and I like to walk. However, I have discovered that despite the lovely scenery and my desire to walk off my big butt (which I will continue to do as my Fitbit dictates that I walk 10,000 steps per day - I talked about that journey in my blog post "Fitbit on my Shoulder"), I am not a dog-walking person.
I am not sure what it is...perhaps it's Tarquin's desire to pee on everything that stands upright or his pulling on the leash or that inevitable poop that I will have to clean up and carry around for the entire walk (why does it always happen at the beginning of the walk? Why can't he wait to do that when we are closer to home)?
The only problem with this resolution is what to do about Freddy. Hubby walks Mildred, the collie, because she is a friendly, good walker. Freddy is getting on in years and seems to hate everyone and everything. He pulls on the leash, barks and growls at other dogs and generally makes the whole experience unpleasant. But I get it. It's no fun getting old.
(Freddy is the one in the Seahawks shirt - another story entirely)
2. Meditate every day
I was really good about this for a long time and touted its benefits in a blog post a couple of years ago. I felt myself becoming very zen, liking my fellow men and women, and feeling, well, happy. But then life started getting in the way and I would never seem to have the time. Unfortunately, Hubby can really tell the difference when I don't meditate. If I am crabby or start yelling or bitching or having a rant, he says, "Did you meditate today?" Of course, if he asks me that I yell, bitch or rant even more.
3. Cook real food and less of it
I love to cook and for some reason I have a thing about casseroles. But the problem with casseroles is that they are usually meant for a crowd. Now that it's just the two of us, if I make a casserole it sticks around in the fridge for a week or more as we work on it. That wouldn't be such a problem, but I really like to try different recipes, so sometimes it can be two or three casseroles and that's when I hear Hubby say, "Cripes. What are we going to do with all of this food?" Hubby is actually the one who came up with the "real food" idea, meaning simple food - a protein, a veg, a starch. So I am going to work on that, though it's not nearly as much fun as my mother's Tater Tots Casserole or my Ravioli Lasagna for a Crowd.
4. Go to bed by 11
It is a miracle that Hubby and I have remained married for over 31 years from the standpoint of our personal clocks alone. Hubby is decidedly a morning person and I am a night owl. He gets up every morning at 6am and starts work at 7am. To do that, he needs to get to bed by 11pm and he usually does that. I mean, sometimes a program on TV won't be over but, even though he has already invested over an hour on it, he will get up and start pulling down the shades.
"What are you doing? The Bachelor** hasn't given out the final rose yet."
To which he will reply, "Gotta go to bed now, it's 11." (Just an FYI, I know what you are thinking. Hey, "The Bachelor" is over by 10. I know, but we have everything pre-recorded on our TIVO so we often watch a program later than its actual time so we can avoid the ads). But anyway, Hubby is like Cinderfella. When the clock strikes 11, he's off to bed no matter what, in case he turns into a pumpkin.
I, on the other hand, could easily stay up until two or three in the morning and sleep until noon. It's not quite that drastic, but I just can't imagine going to bed before midnight, and now that I am retired, I don't need to get up early anymore, so why not? But as my mother used to say, "Nothing good happens after midnight." Of course she was saying that to my teenage self who was always trying to get a later curfew, but she was right. If I stay up late, I am more likely to have that extra glass of wine or that piece of chocolate cake that shouldn't be in the house anyway, so I am going to try to change my body clock to be more in sync with Hubby --- but no way am I getting up before 9am!
5. Wear hats
On a trip to Canada recently, I was reminded of the fact that one of the things I don't like about traveling is having to fix my hair everyday (when I don't have to go anywhere or be seen by anyone except Hubby, I usually don't do anything with my hair and look like hell). I don't have the kind of hair that looks good with a brush and a fluff. I need to hot roller it every time I want to look decent, so I travel with a little hot roller set of 10 rollers, never enough to set my whole head of hair and it's all just a major pain. So I thought, mmm - that's what it sounds like when I think -- "If I wear a hat that looks good on me that I can also wear indoors and out, then that solves the old hair problem, right?"
What do you think?
6. Finally, I have some "projects" that I want to continue to work on. I may be retired but I don't want to appear brain dead.
Tarot Card reading - I want to be able to do this without consulting the books. I find it fun and meditative and who knows, I might discover a second career as "Madame Rosy, Seer of All Things."
Take some Oprah courses - I have one that I purchased that I haven't gotten to yet. Who knew I would get into the whole self help thing? I had an ex-husband who was into all of that and I used to poo-poo it. That might explain what happened to that marriage!
Read more - I read, but mostly at the gym on the elliptical. I am one of those gym-goers who wouldn't go if I didn't have a book and ear buds blasting my favorite music. That works OK but I need to carve out some reading time at home. Reading used to be my favorite activity, but I don't do it as much as I used to. To sort of quote "The Godfather," "Just when I thought I was out, [it pulls] me back in!"
Continue to find ways to market my blog - I'm still hoping Oprah will discover me. But until she does, hey, why not make a small New Year's Resolution yourself to share my blog with your friends and family who you think would enjoy it? You would be making an old retired lady very happy.
So those are just some little things I am going to "resolve" for the New Year.
I am going to stick with the little things. I can certainly master wearing hats, cooking less and going to bed earlier in the New Year.
I don't think we should use the beginning of a new year as a catalyst for setting ourselves up for failure by setting big goals and expectations that we might fail at. I actually find the end of one year and the start of another rather depressing. It's a reminder that another year has passed and I didn't live up to my resolutions that I set. Also as I get older, it's a sign that yet another year has passed...period. I wonder, how many are left?
I am not saying to not have New Year's Resolutions if that motivates you to make some needed changes. But instead of setting goals to make ourselves look better or even be better, I think the end of the year should be a time of real reflection on a larger scale.
Instead of making New Year's Resolutions to lose weight, exercise more or stop spending so much money, maybe at the end of each year we should be asking ourselves...
- Am I happy?
- Am I with the right person?
- Do I have a good relationship with my children?
- Am I doing with my life what I should be doing with it?
- Am I showing love to those I love?
- Am I reaching out to those who need my help?
- Do I take good care of myself?
- Do I deserve a wonderful 2016?
- Am I grateful for what I have? Family, love, health, (fill in the blank ___)?
If the answer to any of those questions is "No," then perhaps it's time to forget those New Year's Resolutions and spend 2016 doing some soul searching.
Over the years I have done that too.
But at my age, I've decided that basically it is a good year if nothing bad happens.
So 2015 was a good year and that's my best hope for 2016. If I am able to make some changes, then that's an added bonus.
And I am sending your way, my best hopes that 2016 will be a good year for you too!
And don't be too hard on yourself if you have forgotten your New Year's Resolutions by February 1st! You are not alone!
*Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars
Television shows listed were for illustrative purposes only and do not necessarily reflect household viewing habits.
(But I think Ben is going to pick Olivia)!
Thanks for Reading!
See you Friday
for my review of the new movie
"The Danish Girl"
The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)
and the latest on
My 1001 Movies I Must See Before
I Die Project."
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